You know the routine: A pro sports team wins the title and suddenly the locker room is full of Champagne spray and players in goggles. Ever wonder what they’re drinking?
Across the wide spectrum of sports, from cycling to soccer, there’s usually some kind of booze to be enjoyed when an epic victory or championship is secured. With big sponsors lurking, it’s easier at some times than others to decipher what athletes are triumphantly throwing back. Sometimes it’s on camera, many times it’s not. Regardless, the best and winningest pros seems to agree that some celebratory imbibing of some kind is usually in order.
As The Last Dance just showed, even the greatest basketball player of all time likes a cold beer after a game. Jordan was known to have a Miller Lite or two postgame with a few teammates, at least later in his career. It was a way to wind down and get ready for the media frenzy to follow. With Jordan, chances were good a cigar might be in his hand as well.
After winning titles, teams tend to douse each other with bubbly wine in the locker room. More of it than not seems to get on the floor, camera lenses, and jerseys but the coolers are constantly being refilled and it’s safe to say the scene is a party. Again, it’s Champagne. According to Sports Illustrated, the Golden State Warriors reportedly spilled about $200K work of Moët Impérial Golden Luminous Champagne after winning the 2017 title. They enjoyed it in magnum form because bigger is better.
Most agree the biggest event in cycling is the Tour de France. Given its location, it’s fair to assume wine is in the finish-line picture. One of the more iconic images viewers take away from the event is during the final stage, when the winner in the yellow jersey is pedaling the last few kilometers to the Champs-Élysées in Paris. This is when he’s typically handed a flute of bubbles to enjoy as he finishes off a race of more than 2,000 miles.
What’s in the glass? Almost always it’s Champagne. Some winners, like Chris Froome, have opted for beer but almost every winner agrees to a finish-line toast with some homegrown bubbles.
Lord Stanley’s Cup, presented to the best NHL team after every season, has long been a container for booze. And because it gets bigger every year with the addition of a new engraving denoting the latest championship squad, it’s fair to say the best hockey players are drinking more, at least in terms of volume the night of the big game. Beer seems to be the go-to as of late, preferably in a manner not unlike a keg stand.
The biggest wins in soccer almost always involve hardware. These trophies, in turn, also function as fantastic drinking vessels. Champions League victors like Real Madrid and Premiere League champions like Manchester City are known to fill the cups with sparkling wine, passing it around from player to player (although the pandemic will certainly alter this practice).
Most of the drinking happens days later, when teams parade around their hometowns on giant busses, a practice many other sports have copied. Feeling saucy after a victorious season — not to mention a designated driver — the players tend to get, well, pretty wrecked. A couple of years back, several Man City players took to a neighborhood pub and then wine bar after securing the title, much to the joy of the club’s fans. Whether they opted for Valpolicella or Muscadet is unknown.
Tennis, too, involves large trophies that can double as cups. Interestingly, at the latest Australian Open, one of the biggest tournaments in the world, the major drinks sponsor was a baijiu producer out of China. It seems bizarre for a country known for its wine scene but the spirit is the most consumed alcohol on the planet and will likely stay that way with campaigns like this. Reigning champion Novak Djokovic says he didn’t imbibe after his win but surely fans were enjoying some of the drink.
If Stone Cold Steve Austin is any indication, wrestlers seem to like a few cold ones after a bout. Moreover, they like it straight out of the can, sometimes shot-gunned. After a few blows to the head with a chair, I’m not sure wrestlers are that discerning. Best guess is they go with a good cheap beer.
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