Turkey: Spectator Sports

Bridging the East and West

Spectator sports in Turkey have a huge local audience. Soccer is the most popular spectator sport in Turkey. The three biggest teams in Istanbul are Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas. The football season starts at the end of August and finishes in May. Tickets to the matches can be bought at the stadiums. Other spectator sports in Turkey include basketball and volleyball. Oil wrestling or ‘Yagli Gures’ is perhaps the most popular local spectator sport in Turkey. The oil wrestling season last 8 months in the year but all the local and regional matches are just warm-ups for the main event: the Kirkpinar in Edirne, the biggest of all oil-based sports events. The Kirkpinar, first contested in 1362, is considered by some to be the longest continuously running sporting event in the world. Motor acing is fast gaining popularity as a spectator sport in Turkey with the Rally of Turkey and Turkish Grand Prix highly awaited events.