New_Jersey_NetsJanuary 17 - London will host more than 30 top sporting events over the next 12 months in what will be one of its busiest years for more than a decade as excitement begins to mount for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. 

One particular coup is the first time National Basketball Association (NBA) games will be played outside North America.

The matches take place in the O2 Arena from March 4-5, with New Jersey Nets (pictured) battling it out against the Toronto Raptors.

That will be followed in May by Wembley Stadium playing host to the UEFA Champions League Final.

A whole programme of events and football fan activities has been lined-up around the occasion, including an eight-day Champions Festival fan experience in Hyde Park which will be a citywide celebration of the beautiful game.

Many of London's 2011 events will take place in future Olympic venues, including the World Badminton Championships at Wembley Arena between August 8-14, and the ITU World Triathlon London on August 6 and 7, which takes place through and around Hyde Park.

Following this winter's retention of the Ashes in Australia, cricket fans will also be able to see the England team in action against Sri Lanka and India at the Oval and at Lords.

There will also be the popular repeat sporting events such as the American National Football League (NFL), ATP Tennis, the London Marathon and the Boat Race.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "This promises to be another jam-packed year for major events in the capital, with 12 months of thrilling sporting action to look forward to.

"Almost any day of the week London is home to an astonishing variety of sport at all levels, and this exciting programme will see some of the biggest names competing at the very highest level right here on our doorstep.

"It sets the scene in top-notch style as we build up to 2012."

Iain Edmondson, head of events at VisitLondon, added: "London is an iconic destination for event-goers all year round with international sport being staged in every month of the year.

"This year will be a taste of things to come in the capital with ever-more exciting global events coming to London in 2012 and beyond."

For a full calendar of events click here.