1. U.S. Open Tennis Tournament
The 2007 U.S. Open marked the first time attendance for the two-week event topped the 700,000 mark, and the United States Tennis Association offered the largest single payout in tennis history ($2.4 million to men’s champion Roger Federer). The 2008 tournament is scheduled for August 25 to September 7 at the U.S.T.A.’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
2. ING New York City Marathon
The New York Road Runners produce the city’s largest single-day sporting event, with two million spectators turning out to cheer 39,000 runners in the 2007 race. The marathon winds its way through all five boroughs, with the finish line in Central Park. The 2008 race will take place November 3, and event coordinators plan to include even more participants.
3. NBA Draft
The sport’s soon-to-be superstars join their new teams at the National Basketball Association’s annual draft, which has been held at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden since 2001. In 2007, the Portland Trail Blazers selected Ohio State’s Greg Oden as the top pick, who later joined rapper Fabolous and DJ Cipha Sounds at the nightclub Pacha’s fourth annual draft party. The 62nd annual draft will be held on June 26.
4. Heisman Memorial Trophy Award Dinner
The Heisman Memorial Trophy is awarded every year to an outstanding college football player at a black-tie event for 1,200 invited guests. The 2008 dinner is planned for December 15 at the New York Hilton and is planned by coordinator Tim Henning and foundation director Rob Whalen.
5. Belmont Stakes
The final, and arguably the most demanding, leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown brings 50,000 fans to Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, each June. Last year’s surprise winner was Rags to Riches, the first filly to win in more than a century. The 140th race will take place on June 7, 2008.
6. Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
O.K., it’s more sporting event than sports event, but the 132nd installment of this legendary dog show at Madison Square Garden was sold out for the fourth consecutive year. Four new breeds joined the 2,500 competitors gunning for Best in Show on February 11 and 12. Industry expos, dinners, and events took place during the week leading up to the show.