We’re in the middle of October, a month that many of us peg as the best sports month of the calendar year. With that in mind, we thought we’d ask our editors for their thoughts on what’s the best month of the year, in terms of sports. Surprisingly, our answers covered the majority of the months on the calendar.
Ian Casselberry – September
This is a hedge, but I think the best day in sports is the first Monday in April with baseball’s opening day games during the day and the college basketball national championship game at night. However, if we’re talking about the best month, it’s September.
Baseball is down to the final month of the season with several teams fighting for division titles and postseason spots, providing many important games to follow each night. But as one season nears its end, two others begin with college football and the NFL. No sports have a longer hiatus, even if it feels like there’s barely an offseason with all of the recruiting, free agency and draft news flooding our news feeds. So when real football games are actually played again, it seems amazing. That applies even more so in college football if there are some meaningful match-ups, like we had to begin this season. September provides consequential games virtually every day.
David Rogers – October
The answer is October. As a big hockey fan, October represents the start of a new season and new excitement. The spring may feature the NHL playoffs, an incredible time of the year, but those aren’t contained within just one month.
As a casual baseball fan, the playoffs are the most exciting time to tune in and those also call October home. European soccer gets off and running in October and the NFL, a league I don’t follow in the slightest, is also around making its usual exhausted headlines for the people who still decide to suffer through that stuff.
October is that perfect restaurant sampler appetizer which features an item just about every sports fan at the table will like.
Ben Koo – November
This roundtable was my idea and I went into this thinking the obvious answer was October and half of us would say October, and here I am not picking October. Why is that?
October’s advantage over November is the MLB playoffs. I’m an A’s fan and of late, I haven’t given much of a shit about October and probably won’t for awhile. I definitely enjoy the MLB playoffs and know a lot of people do, but let’s go over what November has that October doesn’t.
Primarily, you have basketball with the NBA and NCAA. You also have the first full month of NHL games and maybe even a World Series game or two. But where the month stands out is football, the sport we obsess the most about. November is by far the best month of the college football season, which culminates in rivalry weekend, a glorious weekend of anticipated matchups.
I’d argue November is the best month of the NFL regular season as well. A lot of teams are out of the picture come December, so November is for most teams the make-or-break month.
What really got me over the hump is the end of the month when you have time off for Thanksgiving and have four days of work off (hopefully) with football on all of those days and culminating with some of the best rivalries we have in all of American sports with the Iron Bowl, Ohio State and Michigan, Florida vs. FSU, and countless others. I’m getting giddy just thinking about what’s coming next month.
October is awesome and if the A’s have some of that Billy Beane magic, it definitely beats November and laps all of the rest of the sports months of the year. But without that variable in the equation, November wears the crown.
Andrew Bucholtz – November
As great as October is, I think there’s an argument for November. There’s a lot of crucial college football action as the playoff picture starts to shake out, and the CFL has its playoffs and Grey Cup. The NHL and NBA are well underway by that point, the NFL games are getting more meaningful (and there are fun ones like the Thanksgiving games), MLS has most of its playoff action during the month, and we even sometimes see the climactic World Series game in November. Overseas soccer’s going strong during this point, and college basketball is well underway as well. November also boosts the chances of crazy weather affecting games, and it leads to some excellent stories. November shares many of October’s merits, but it has more meaningful action in many sports. Plus, as winter approaches and the weather gets worse, spending the day indoors watching sports sounds better and better.
Sean Keeley – January
I’m going to buck the tide and go with January and this may be because of my affinity for college football. January begins with some of the most high-profile college football games of the entire year, including the Grandaddy Of Them All, the Sugar Bowl, and the eventual National Championship game. That gives way to the entire NFL playoffs before the Super Bowl. Maybe this is a hot take but give me a full weekend of NFL playoff games over the Super Bowl. More likely that you’ll get to see a great game and you get good football (in theory) all weekend.
You like the NBA, NHL, and college basketball? You get all three all month long. It’s also the first month of conference play in college basketball, which means you’re really starting to dig in and get great rivalry games. Basically, half the weekends include some of the biggest sporting events of the entire year and the rest of them are filled to the brim with quality options.
Alex Putterman – March
October is great, but my pick is March. March carries the most fun sporting event of the year, the NCAA Tournament, home-stretch games in the NBA and NHL and that wonderful first whiff of baseball season. March Madness runs on wild and cruel finality, while Spring Training elicits optimism and whimsy, and the two balance each other out well, while pro basketball and football keep you busy in the downtime. In March, the weather is starting to get nice and good times ahead feel inevitable. Apologies to September, October and April, I’m riding with March.
Matt Clapp – March
I considered September and April, but I think for me, it has to be March.
The NCAA Tournament is far and away my favorite sporting event of the year. Upsets, entering 20 bracket contests and having hope they pan out (until about 15 minutes into the Thursday games), etc. There’s also not a more fun time to experience a Vegas sportsbook than this time of the year. And you have the awesome conference tournaments leading up to it. It’s Bill Raftery and company screaming for a month. It’s beautiful chaos.
And being a baseball nut, Spring Training. I even watch random replays of games on MLB Network at 1 AM in March just because I’m that pumped baseball is back. Plus, you have the NBA and NHL getting down the stretch of the regular season. Now, not having football absolutely sucks, but overall, March brings me the most enjoyment as a sports fan.
Matt Yoder – April
I’m going to go in a different direction here and pick April. Not only do you get the end of March Madness (which doesn’t really make sense, calendar-wise) with the Final Four, it traditionally flows straight into another huge event in The Masters the next week. That’s as good of a back-to-back as there is in the sports calendar. The middle of the month brings the beginning of the beginning of the MLB season and the NBA and NHL playoffs, which is wall-to-wall action every night and maybe one of the more underrated times of the year. Finally, the month ends with maybe my favorite event as an irrationally huge sports fan to dive into: the NFL Draft. April has it all.
Joe Lucia – May
This may seem insane, but I like… the month of May. Why May? Well, my two favorite sports are baseball and soccer, and they both matter in different ways in May. Baseball in May starts to be important — if a team has a good April, okay, they had a good April. If a team has a good April *and* a good May? Hey, maybe there’s something here. The inverse is true as well — if a team struggles over one month, it’s not a thing. If they struggle for the first two months, maybe there’s some fire to go along with that smoke. As for soccer, the season is wrapping up in Europe, and we’re typically dealing with title races, cup finals, and relegation battles over the final weeks of the season. Each match seemingly matters so much more now, even though a win or a draw in May doesn’t count any more or less than a win or a draw in September.
Also, it’s the butter zone between the end of the football season and the beginning of the next season, and the news cycle isn’t completely saturated with coverage yet. Now *that* feels good.
Phillip Bupp – May
I would have to say May is the best sports month of the year. You have a tradeoff with not having the NFL, but look at what else is within the month of May. In May, everyone seems to get interested in horse racing as the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown kicks off the month. And then at the end of the month, you have an auto racing fans dream as Memorial Day Sunday includes Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix in the morning, Indy Car’s Indianapolis 500 in the afternoon and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 at night. A full day of racing featuring three of the biggest and most prestigious races in each series.
Throughout the month of May, NBA and NHL are building toward the postseason while the MLB season is starting to take shape. Most soccer leagues around the world are finishing their seasons so you have Champions League, FA Cup, the title chases and relegation battles along with the fight for promotion within the lower leagues. Altogether, it’s a very busy and hectic month with something for everyone.
Jay Rigdon – June
October and March are going to get a lot of looks, but I’ll go ahead and say that June might be the most interesting month on the sports calendar. Obviously, the key to any sports month is layering your activity and off the top, June has midseason baseball as a backdrop to everything else. No matter what other activities are or are not happening in the sporting world, you’ll have baseball as a fallback. Going further, you get both the NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals, the appeal of both requires no explanation.
But there’s more, and here’s where things get interesting.
Every four years, the entirety of the World Cup group stages gets played in June, with most of the round of 16 as well. In non-World Cup years, you get more great international soccer, including the European Championships through the round of 16, events like this past June’s Copa America Centanario (which took place entirely in June), the regular Copa America, even our own CONCACAF Gold Cup, as well as the Champions League final in some years. And of course this includes the women’s World Cup as well; in 2015, you’d have gotten to see all the way through the semi-finals.
But there’s still more! There’s the U.S. Open in golf. There’s the finals of the French Open and the opening days of Wimbledon. Even NASCAR is in full swing.
If you’re counting, June includes arguably the biggest events in the NBA, NHL, and both club and international soccer, as well as a golf major, portions of two tennis grand slams, and regular season events for just about every non-football sport.
It’s not the obvious choice, but if you want a month that offers the best mix of quality and quantity, you can’t beat June.