The 8 Most Eagerly Anticipated Sports Events of 2024

2023 was an incredible year for sports. LeBron surpassed Kareem as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, the Kansas City Chiefs secured their third Lombardi trophy, Spain won their first Women’s FIFA World Cup, and Coco Gauff became the youngest tennis player since Serena Williams to win a US Open title.

2024 promises a strong lineup of events to win the hearts and eyeballs of fans across the globe. With so much to look forward to, we did our best to whittle it down to the eight most anticipated sports events in the year ahead, listed in chronological order. Get ready to mark your calendars!

1. Africa Cup of Nations

The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), is the crown jewel of African football and the premier sporting event on the continent. What began in 1957 as a modest competition with only three participating teams has expanded into a robust tournament featuring 24 nations as of 2019. Looking ahead, the 34th edition of AFCON is set to take place from January 13 to February 11, spanning five cities in Côte d’Ivoire. The festivities will kick off in Abidjan, where the host nation will face Guinea-Bissau in the opening match at the newly minted Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium.

In the lead-up to this grand event, during the 2023 qualifiers, Morocco showcased their might with a decisive 3-0 victory over Liberia. This was a significant home win for Morocco under the stewardship of Regragui, who took the helm last August. With players like Harit, El Kaabi, and Adli propelling the team forward and still buzzing from a recent semi-final appearance at the World Cup, Morocco is poised for a strong performance in the 2024 tournament.

The AFCON always presents an intriguing dynamic, as it takes place during the full swing of the European football season. The timing means that many key players depart their clubs to represent their nations, adding a unique twist to the season. Nottingham Forest is set to lose seven key players, the most of any team, while Manchester United will be without three, including goalkeeper, Andre Onana. Meanwhile Liverpool and Tottenham will be without their respective stars Mohamed Salah and Yves Bissouma.

2. Super Bowl LVIII

The highly-anticipated Super Bowl LVIII hits Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium on February 11—a first for the state of Nevada. The league’s coverage continues to push the boundaries of fan experiences, like YouTube TV’s Emmy-awarded Views feature which was introduced for the 2023 season.

As we look forward to 2024 and Super Bowl LVIII, fans can expect new innovations and futuristic fan experiences powered by state-of-the-art SkyCams, AR graphic overlays, and fleets of drones capturing all the action on the field.

Next year’s Super Bowl promises to be the biggest yet, with an already-confirmed collaboration between the NFL and Nickelodeon to broadcast a version of the big game catered to its youngest fans. Since its first Funday Football, an alternate game that featured the Falcons and Jaguars battling it out as Toy Story characters, the NFL have been pioneers at putting on kid-focused presentations available on Disney+ and ESPN+.

3. The Daytona 500

On February 18th, NASCAR Cup Series’ most iconic event will hit Daytona International Speedway for the 66th edition of the Daytona 500. A highlight on the U.S. motorsport calendar, the race unfolds on an expansive 2.5-mile tri-oval track that pushes drivers to their limits during the grueling 200 laps until the finish line.

Much like the NFL and virtually every other major sports league, fans can expect to see noticeable changes when it comes to new technologies and viewing experiences. Recently, NASCAR has been able to capture the human element of races with its visionary in-car cameras that give fans a first-person view of the driver. Additionally, fans can experience a range of new features during live races on the NASCAR app, including a live race feed complete with essential highlights.

The event not only draws massive crowds, but also commands one of the highest TV ratings in American sports. In 2023, over 10 million viewers tuned in to the race. For an in-depth look at how NASCAR is using AI to re-imagine digital storytelling, check out our recent interview with NASCAR Studios’ Head of Content Strategy.

4. Monaco Grand Prix

From May 24th to 26th, Monte Carlo’s famed streets will host another iconic race—F1’s Monaco Grand Prix. The track, known for its sharp changes in elevation, tight corners, and narrow stretches; serves as a true test of both driver skill and car prowess. But beyond the sport, the race is also a spectacle of glamor, prestige, and celebrities.

In 2023, Max Verstappen redefined F1 greatness, notching an unprecedented 19 victories (and counting) in a single season—including one at the Monaco Grand Prix. Despite challenging weather conditions that led to a wet track, Max Verstappen beat out Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon, and the rest of the competition to take home the win. Notably, Verstappen led every single lap during the entire race.

5. ICC T20 World Cups

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, the pinnacle of Twenty20 International cricket, will kick off on June 4 and continue through June 30. Organized by the International Cricket Council (ICC), the ninth installment of this biennial championship will be co-hosted by the West Indies and, in a first for the sport, the United States, signaling cricket’s expanding appeal and viewership across the globe. Last year, 364.2 million viewers tuned in to the live broadcast of the first 18 matches, with the India vs. New Zealand match breaking digital concurrency records by itself with 43 million viewers on Disney+ Hotstar.

Parallel to the men’s competition, the Women’s T20 World Cup is also experiencing a surge in popularity, with a 790% increase in viewership compared to the previous women’s tournament in 2020 and an attendance of 12,782 at the final match setting a record for women’s cricket in the country. Bangladesh will have the honor of hosting the women’s tournament in September and October, a reflection of the event’s success along with an increase in the number of participating teams.

6. UEFA Euro 2024

The 17th edition of the UEFA Euro Championship, Euro 2024, is set to take place in Germany from June 14 to July 14. Starting in Munich, and culminating in Berlin’s Olympiastadion, matches will be played across ten venues including stadiums that hosted the World Cup in 2006, as well as the Düsseldorf Arena.

In the upcoming tournament, which happens once every four years, 24 European teams will battle it out to be crowned champions of Europe. Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham are already commanding attention with their stellar performances for Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, respectively. Considering the England national team’s past stumble against Italy in Euro 2020, the formidable form of these stars may well be the key to England’s resurgence and victory in next summer’s competition.

7. Copa América

Copa América, South America’s esteemed soccer championship, is set to grace the U.S. from June 20 to July 14. The tournament will feature its traditional lineup of 10 South American teams, with a new twist: six spots will be up for grabs for Concacaf teams determined by their performances in the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League—a departure from previous editions where non-South American teams were simply guaranteed an invite.

The tournament is expected to see a significant uptick in American viewership, especially with Lionel Messi’s recent move to MLS and the 2026 World Cup being held in the US, Canada, and Mexico. While Messi’s past performances secured Copa América and World Cup titles for Argentina in 2021, his participation in the 2024 Copa América remains a tantalizing question for fans.

Spanish-speaking audiences won’t miss a beat, as TelevisaUnivision is set to broadcast the event. We recently caught up with Olek Loewenstein, President of Sports Content at TelevisaUnivision, to learn more about the network’s rampant rights expansion and how they produce content at scale for a huge, international audience.

8. Tour de France Femmes

The 2024 Tour de France Femmes gears up for its third edition which takes place August 12 to 18. The race is scheduled during the short interval between the Olympics and the Paralympics, offering fans a full-schedule of sports throughout the summer.  The 2024 competition will kick off in Rotterdam, marking the first time the Grand Depart takes place outside of France. The race spans eight stages, over seven days, with riders heading south through France from the Netherlands, culminating at the iconic Alpe d’Huez.

As interest in women’s sports continues to skyrocket, 2024 holds unprecedented opportunities for rights holders to break barriers by covering more women’s competitions. As indicated by our intensive study around the 2023 Women’s World Cup, highlights and non-live content are key for not only driving awareness around women’s sports but also turning casual fans’ into avid ones.

Time to Adapt

With so many upcoming top-tier events, many of which only take place every four years, rights holders need to capitalize fully to make the most of their content at peak times. They also need to be aware of changes in fan consumption habits.

A recent report shows greater number of fans are engaging with sports highlights rather than watching live games, with 87% vs 78% on linear TV, and 72% vs 53% online favoring bite-sized non-live content. This shift underscores a broader change in media habits, particularly among younger audiences, who increasingly prefer social media platforms and streaming services to get their sports fix.

This isn’t a temporary shift, it’s a sign to adapt.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen rights holders make impressive strides in offering fans more personalized content and innovative viewing experiences on both linear and digital. We’re thrilled to be at the heart of this innovation, and we eagerly await the new developments that will come to life in 2024 and beyond!