The Greeks are devoted to soccer and basketball, and love to bet (it's legal) on sports. All sports events are listed in the Greek press and sometimes in the English-language daily Athens News. The concierge or desk clerk at your hotel should know what's on. The best known soccer teams are the fierce rivals Olympiakos (Piraeus) and Panathanaikos (Athens). Greece's Euro Cup Victory in 2004 brought the entire nation first to its feet and then to a halt for weeklong celebrations.
The Greek national basketball team endeared itself to the nation when it won the European Championship by defeating Russia in 1987. Celebrations went on all night. The championships take place in July or August at different venues in Europe. You may also be able to catch a game between Greek teams in Athens.
If you're in Greece when major international soccer or basketball events take place, you probably will be able to see them on Greek television or CNN. If you're in Greece during Wimbledon and not staying in a hotel with CNN or STAR cable service, you may have to settle for the BBC's live radio coverage.
Visiting the Olympic Sports Complex -- If you have the chance, see a concert or catch a match at the Athens Olympic Sports Complex (OAKA; tel. 210-683-4777; www.oaka.com.gr; Metro: line 1 to Irini), do it. Otherwise, call to organize a tour (3€ admission). If you're traveling alone and want to see the complex and the showcase stadiums, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with a request to join another tour. The complex is open daily 8am to 8pm, and there is no admission fee for those who wish to visit the grounds (not the inside of the stadiums). At press time, the grounds were being converted into a more "tourist-friendly" attraction, which will supposedly include a train on top of the Santiago Calatrava roof on the main showcase stadium.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.