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What are the UK’s Crown Jewel sporting events?

March 26, 2024

In the UK, the concept of ‘crown jewel; sporting events holds a special place in the hearts of sports enthusiasts and casual viewers alike. This term refers to a prestigious list of events that, by law, must be broadcast live on free-to-air television. This regulation ensures that these iconic events remain accessible to the widest possible audience, irrespective of their ability to pay for subscription services.

The Broadcasting Act of 1996 laid the groundwork for this practice, mandating the creation of a permanent list of such events.

Horse Racing

The Grand National is more than just a horse race; it’s a day where the entire country stands still. Held annually at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, this event captivates millions across the UK and the globe. Its unpredictable nature, challenging course, and storied history make it a must-watch event for even the most casual of sports fans. This year, websites allowing you to bet on Grand National have made the reigning champion Corach Rambler a 9/2 favourite to follow in the footsteps of Red Rum and Tiger Roll in going back-to-back.

Another gem in the crown of British horse racing is the Epsom Derby. Known as one of the most prestigious flat races in the world, the Derby has a rich heritage dating back to 1780. The race takes place at Epson Downs every June, and this year, the 145th instalment of the race will go down on the first day of summer. Last year’s horse racing results saw Auguste Rodin come out victorious, and it remains to be seen which three-year-old will reign supreme this year.


The FIFA World Cup and its female counterpart stand as the pinnacle of international football. Occurring every four years, these tournaments bring together nations in a celebration of football, unity, and competition. Their inclusion as crown jewels ensures that moments of triumph, heartbreak, and sheer skill are shared with everyone in the UK, fostering a sense of global community. In 2022, millions watched on as Lionel Messi climbed his final peak by leading Argentina to glory in Qatar. In 2026, millions more will tune in as well.

Similarly, the UEFA European Championships hold a revered spot among crown jewels. Euro 2024 will take place this summer in Germany, with the hosts facing Scotland in the curtain raiser in Munich on June 14th. England have been made the favourites to win the tournament, but whether they can live up to the billing and lift their first major piece of silverware since 1966 is anyone’s guess.

Also, the FA Cup and Scottish Cup Finals (the latter being Category A in Scotland only), represent the pinnacle of domestic football in the UK. These finals are not just about crowning champions; they are about tradition, history, and the magic of the cup – where dreams of glory can come true for teams from any tier of English and Scottish football. Manchester City and Celtic are the reigning champions respectively, and both teams remain in the 2024 tournaments at the semifinal stage.


Wimbledon stands alone as tennis’ sole representative. The event is the oldest in the world and has seen iconic moments such as Andy Murray becoming the first British man since 1936 to win the gentleman’s singles back in 2013, as well as seeing Roger Federer secure his legacies as one of the greatest to have ever taken the court with his record-breaking five straight crowns between 2003 and 2007.


Both the Rugby Union World Cup Final and the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final are also on the list. The former is something that England has featured in prominently, winning it all in Australia back in 2003 before reaching the final again four and 16 years later, losing both to South Africa.

Olympic and Paralympic Games

The Olympic and Paralympic Games transcend sport, symbolising human excellence, perseverance, and unity. The inclusion of the Games ensures that stories of triumph, courage, and the indomitable human spirit are shared freely, inspiring millions. This summer, the spectacle returns, with Paris hosting the sporting extravaganza this July and August.

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