While most of us will spend Christmas at home with our families, a number of highly trained athletes to the sports arena for some of the most highly anticipated contest of the year.
In the united states, both the NFL American football and NBA basketball leagues will be holding regular season fixtures this December 25, the calendar may seem unusual to European sports fans, but something that is considered normal in the states.
There were 19 NFL games on Christmas Day over the past 46 years, 17 of them since 1989, with two accessories – Pittsburgh Steelers v Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders v Philadelphia Eagles – taking place this year.
Both games will be shown on national tv, first on NBC and the other on ESPN, giving the teams one of the few to show in the national spotlight in a country where the live TV matches are usually confined to the regional broadcast.Coast to coast
“The games are a very positive thing for the NFL, and for the teams concerned,” says Alistair Kirkwood, managing director of the NFL in the united KINGDOM.
“And because it is known in advance whether there will be the Christmas Day games – there is no controversy about the hosting of the games in the framework of this holiday.”
He explains that the games during the season are held on Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays, during Saturday night game.
“If Christmas Day falls on one of these days, and then the games will be played, if this is not the case, then there are no games like this would normally be the case.”
Therefore, there are two games in 2016, when the Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, and again this year when it is on a Monday.
“There is a real kudos to have participated in one of these TV games, when up to 20 million people tune in,” Mr Kirkwood adds.
“Most of the games are displayed only on the television in their home states, so as to be seen in the national window, to be seen side-by-side for the greater public, is a great attraction and the possibility for the teams.”‘No empty seats’
The planning of the NFL season, which extends from September to February is made in April.
“Some of it will be based on the question of the games on the TV by team, similar to the English Premier League, each club is given a minimum and maximum number of games on national TELEVISION,” Mr Kirkwood said.
“So, everyone knows eight months in advance that they will be playing on Christmas Day.”
And Christmas of the NRL games are played in all weather conditions, including the depth of the snow, and are not arrested for the clarification.
Such as the united KINGDOM, the sports fans to know, to learn, to sports fixtures during the holiday season can often turn into a nightmare. And travel by car can lead to problems in the search for parking spaces around the city centre, houses of Premier League football teams.
In effect, the Premier League has been forced to move a project on Christmas Eve, the night time clash between Arsenal and Liverpool this year, with fans of Liverpool followers face the prospect of being stuck in London on Christmas Day.
However, in the united states, the vast majority are in the car of the NFL stadiums, which are on the periphery of cities, and have huge cars on-site. parking spaces.
“There are no empty seats at the Christmas day games,” said Mr Kirkwood.The TV coverage
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the NBA play basketball on Christmas Day, after having started the tradition in 1947 with three games.
The NBA on Christmas Day is now a global event televised in over 200 countries and territories, and in more than 40 languages.
Five games will take place this year, for a 10th consecutive season, and in the three games are shown on television ABC, one on ESPN and one on TNT.
This year, after the round of games, the NBA will have played 247 games on Christmas Day, a testament to the appeal of the party games.
“The NBA on Christmas Day is cemented as a tradition for the teams, the players and the fans,” says Benjamin Morel, the NBA’s EMEA senior vice-president and general manager.
The NBA said that the party games are played “in a real family celebration of the environment”, and provide teams with another way “to connect with fans in a unique way, both in-arena and through adapted TV spots”.
The highlight of this year is the revenge of the 2017 NBA finals when the Cleveland Cavaliers meet the champions of the Golden State Warriors.
The games are scheduled prior to the start of the basketball season, as well as the schedule of games, and are not differentiated from other games in terms of media rights. A lost tradition
Probably the most famous Christmas Day football game featuring players from the united KINGDOM has been at the time of the war kick between the British and German soldiers in No-man’s Land in Flanders, in 1914, during the first World War.
However, perhaps less well known is the fact that the Christmas Day football has been a staple part of Football League fixtures in England from the end of the Victorian era until the 1950s, and of the Scottish game up until the 1970s.
In 1958, there were three First division matches played on the Day of Christmas and one in 1959. The christmas Day football in England spluttered to a halt after Blackpool beat Blackburn 4-2 in 1965, in front of 21,000 spectators.
BBC football Jimmy Armfield, the former Blackpool and England player, says-Christmas-time fixtures were always attractive and the crowd at this time of the year were always good.
In Scotland, Christmas Day football was played only when it fell on a Saturday. The last few games have been Clydebank against St Mirren, and Alloa versus Cowdenbeath in 1976.
The last time a full set of Christmas Day fixtures was played in Scotland was in 1971. Player cricket events
A country that seem to be ripe for the Day of Christmas, sport is Australia, given its December, the summer weather is ideal for sporting events.
And indeed Sheffield Shield cricket matches were played on Christmas Day until the end of the 1960s, and the Third Test between Australia and the west Indies in 1951 included the action on the 25th of December.
However, attempts over the past two years to step Twenty20 Big Bash League cricket games on Christmas Day have not been able to get off the ground.
The organizers say that the idea remains on the agenda, but it is meeting resistance on the part of the Players of Australian cricket of the Association, who said that players should be able to spend the day with family and friends.
So, for the moment at least, the united states remains the only large country where sports fans are spoilt for choice on Christmas Day.