High Performance Sport
People in Basel are great sports fans. Top tennis player Roger Federer grew up in the area. He started a real tennis craze in Basel. And the city is very proud of its football club, FC Basel. For some years now, the club has been amongst the top teams in the Swiss football scene. It is also the richest club in Switzerland and plays in the biggest stadium (42’000 seats). Home matches are often real parties.
Swiss Indoors Basel
The Swiss Indoors Basel is a tennis competition of superlatives, Switzerland’s top sporting event, and the third-largest indoor tournament in the world. Many of the world’s best tennis players therefore come to Basel every year. Some 70,000 spectators watch the matches live in the St. Jakobshalle, while millions of viewers in more than 50 countries watch them on television.
Ice hockey is another extremely popular spectator sport in Switzerland. The EHC Basel Sharks has been playing its home games in the St. Jakob Arena since 2002. The hall has room for 6,612 spectators and is one of the largest and most modern in the National League B.
The 130-year old Basler Fechtclub (Basel Fencing Club) is one of the oldest sports clubs In the Swiss stronghold of fencing. The Fechtgesellschaft Basel (Fencing Association Basel) is a little younger – and has been the the most successful fencing club in Switzerland for decades, with countless top results in national and international tournaments. In 2004, the Fechtgesellschaft Basel was able to celebrate "its own" Olympic champion in épée individual, and also organises international competitions every year.
Another great tradition enjoyed in Basel is the sport of handball. The club RTV 1879 Basel, founded over 130 years ago, is the handball showpiece for an entire region. The two-time Swiss champions have played successfully in the Nationalliga A (Swiss first division) for many years. The venue for playing home games is Rankhof sports hall.
Various international sports events and tournaments take place in Basel throughout the year. The UEFA EURO 2008 football championships were hosted in Switzerland and Austria, and six games were played in Basel. Annual competitions include the men’s ‘Badminton Swiss Open’, the World Inline Cup, the European Skateboard Championships or the women’s top volleyball competition. The international football matches played at St. Jakob Park are also very attractive. Major cycling events such as ‘Tour de Suisse’ or the ‘Tour de France’, regularly pass through the city or area. The men's curling world championship 2012 will be held in Basel from the 31st March to the 8th April.