Spectator Sports in Cancun and the Riviera Maya
By Juan Sempere
Every now and then you might fancy a break from the enticing waters and pristine beaches of the Mexican Caribbean. Shocking, I know, but maybe all you need is a touch of athletic competition to “re-energize paradise” and wake up the sports fan within.
You could take in any in a game or match from any of Palace Resorts or Moon Palace Cancun’s multitude of sports bars, but if you feel like getting a taste of real life sporting action in the flesh it’s time to go exploring.
It's Futbol, Not Football
Soccer. First of all don’t ever call it “soccer”: In Mexico it is –and always will be– fútbol, and a lot of people take it as seriously as religion over here. Experience the passion for the game at one of Atlante F.C.’s matches, played at Cancun’s Estadio Andrés Quintana Roo, a venue that seats 17,000-plus fans of the Potros de Hierro (Iron Colts).
Atlante is one of the original teams that started professional football in this country back in 1943, and they’ve become Cancun’s emblematic franchise ever since they relocated from Mexico City in 2007…The same year in which they also conquered their third league title, by the way.
Baseball. Another historic team that moved to Cancun in 2007 is Tigres de Quintana Roo (formerly Tigres del México, based in Mexico City). The franchise has added three Liga Mexicana titles to its grand total of 12 since the relocation, and stands as Mexico’s second all-time winningest squad behind its perennial rivals, Mexico City’s Diablos Rojos.
Tigres calls Estadio Beto Ávila its home, and a nice home it is, too: 9,000 seats with splendid views, plenty of cold beer, delicious food, a passionate fan base, and the antics of beloved mascot, Chacho The Tiger, make any game a memorable one. Want another good reason to hit the ballpark? The current owner of Tigres is legendary Mexican MLB All-Star Fernando Valenzuela.
Rest of the Best
Golf. If your taste in sports shies away from the vociferous crowds and veers more towards some polite clapping after a good shot, the OHL Classic at Mayakoba might be just what you’re looking for. This tournament became the first ever PGA TOUR event ever contested outside the United States and Canada back in 2007, and it’s now a yearly staple that gathers 132 pros competing for a $7,000,000+ USD purse.
The Greg Norman-designed course is nothing to sneeze at, either, and the balmier November weather makes this a deeply enjoyable experience for the spectator.
If you prefer Jack Nicklaus signature golf courses, then you'll want to be in Cancun in April to watch Mexico's greatest ever golfer and former top ranked player in the LPGA Lorena Ochoa as she hosts her fifth annual charity tournament at Moon Palace Spa and Golf Club.
Triathlon. Why root for a team when you can do the same thing for a whole bunch of individuals, all in pursuit of completing a spectacular athletic feat? While you just missed the IRONMAN Cozumel in November, it’s not too early to book a room at Cozumel Palace and witness the mettle of competitors trying to finish the ever-competitive IRONMAN 70.3 in September 2018.
Need more? Maybe you want to catch a nice tennis game between upcoming talents, cheer for the beach volleyball players that weave their magic in the sand, or just take in the surfers as they carve the waves with their boards. The cool thing about Cancun and the Mayan Riviera is that there’s always something sporty going on. Ask your Palace Resorts staff members about up and coming events and matches, they’ll gladly share their personal recommendations and point you in the right direction. After all… We’re all fans here, aren’t we?