If you happen to be in the Big Apple this upcoming December, there won’t be a shortage of major sporting events.
New York is one of the most popular travel destinations around the world for the holiday season. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree brings in millions and millions of visitors annually, and Central Park during the holiday season is always a sight to behold, loaded with snow and beautiful shining lights.
December will also be a very busy season for the New York sports world, with the NHL, MLB, NFL and NCAA college and basketball seasons in full swing.
For the first time ever, legalized mobile/online and in-person sports gambling will be available in The Empire State during the Christmas holiday season. The state launched sports betting back in January, and there are some bet promo codes in New York which offer special risk-free wagers to new customers upon signing up.
With the holiday season around the corner, here is a look at some of the top can’t-miss sporting events in New York for 2022.
Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins (Dec. 18)
Both the Bills and the Dolphins have shown the makings to be Super Bowl 57 contenders in the early going. There’s a real good chance that their Week 15 showdown in Buffalo (time to be announced) will play a factor in the final AFC playoff picture.
Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis round out an explosive Buffalo offense that looks like the NFL’s best right now. In South Beach, third-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has enjoyed a breakout season thanks to the dynamic receiving duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.
The Bills and Dolphins made bundles of moves in the offseason to maximize their Super Bowl chances with their respective young quarterbacks. This Week 15 meeting, which takes place a week before Christmas, could decide home advantage in the postseason.
Buffalo has owned Miami since Allen turned professional in 2018. Can the Dolphins escape with a (very) rare win at Highmark Stadium? This will be one of the top must-watch games over the final four-week stretch of the regular season.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Golden State Warriors (Dec. 21)
The Nets’ championship window appeared to be closed when Kevin Durant requested a trade back in the offseason. Fortunately for the franchise, KD and fellow All-Star Kyrie Irving agreed to return for at least another year together.
With the two future Hall of Famers and defensive stalwart Ben Simmons in the fold, the Nets remain bonafide championship contenders. And they’ll get the chance to prove that when they host the defending champion Golden State Warriors at the Barclays Center on Dec. 21 (7:30 p.m. EST).
Nets-Warriors matchups always carry special intrigue since the Dubs are Durant’s former team. He played three seasons there (2017-18 to 2018-19) and won two championships before opting to leave for Brooklyn in 2019 free agency.
Can KD, Irving and Simmons get past the core of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins? A win here would go a long way in establishing the Nets’ confidence.
New York Rangers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (Dec. 15)
The Rangers exceeded expectations in 2021-22 and fell just two games short of reaching the Stanley Cup Final, ultimately falling to the back-to-back defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.
The Blueshirts get their fair share of tough tests in December, but perhaps no holiday matchup at Madison Square Garden is more intriguing than the Dec. 15 tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7:00 p.m. EST).
New York and Toronto are coming off heartbreaking postseason performances but are in the midst of wide-open championship windows. There is no shortage of star power here between the two Original Six franchises, including Artemi Panarin, Auston Matthews, Mika Zibanejad, Mitch Marner, Igor Shesterkin, Adam Fox and Morgan Rielly.
New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers (Dec. 25)
Interestingly, the star-studded Nets are not on the Christmas Day slate of NBA games this year.
The same cannot be said about their crosstown rivals, the New York Knicks, who will host the Philadelphia 76ers on Christmas (12:00 p.m. EST). Tom Thibodeau’s group also played at Madison Square Garden on Christmas Day last year, and they defeated the Atlanta Hawks 101-87.
The Knicks finished as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference in 2021-22, but the Hawks ousted them in round one. They were a giant disappointment last season, however, finishing 37-45 which placed them 11th in the East.
Having landed Jalen Brunson in free agency, the Knicks have the makings of a playoff-contending roster. They’ll get the chance to show they should be taken seriously when they host the powerhouse 76ers on national TV.