Sports in the United States by state Article

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Sports in the United States are an important part of American culture. American football is the most popular sport in the United States followed by basketball, baseball, and soccer. [1] Tennis, golf, hockey, wrestling, auto racing, arena football, field lacrosse, box lacrosse and volleyball are also popular sports in the country.

Based on revenue, the four major professional sports leagues in the United States are Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), and the National Hockey League (NHL). The market for professional sports in the United States is roughly $69 billion, roughly 50% larger than that of all of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa combined. [2] All four enjoy wide-ranging domestic media coverage and are considered the preeminent leagues in their respective sports in the world, although American football does not have a substantial following in other nations. Three of those leagues have teams that represent Canadian cities, and all four are the most financially lucrative sports leagues of their sport. Major League Soccer (MLS), which also includes teams based in Canada, is sometimes included in a "top five" of leagues.

Professional teams in all major sports in the United States operate as franchises within a league, meaning that a team may move to a different city if the team's owners believe there would be a financial benefit, but franchise moves are usually subject to some form of league-level approval. All major sports leagues use a similar type of regular-season schedule with a post-season playoff tournament. In addition to the major league–level organizations, several sports also have professional minor leagues, active in smaller cities across the country. As in Canada and Australia, sports leagues in the United States do not practice promotion and relegation, unlike many sports leagues in Europe.

Sports are particularly associated with education in the United States, with most high schools and universities having organized sports, and this is a unique sporting footprint for the U.S. College sports competitions play an important role in the American sporting culture, and college basketball and college football are as popular as professional sports in some parts of the country. The major sanctioning body for college sports is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Unlike most other nations, the United States government does not provide funding for sports nor for the United States Olympic Committee.

Contents

Northeast

The Northeast region is home to numerous professional sports franchises in the "Big Four" leagues (NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB), [3] with more than 100 championships collectively among them. [4]

Major League Soccer features five Northeastern teams: D.C. United, New England Revolution, New York City FC, New York Red Bulls, and Philadelphia Union. The region also has three WNBA teams: Connecticut Sun, New York Liberty, and Washington Mystics.

Notable golf tournaments in the Northeastern United States include the Deutsche Bank Championship, The Barclays, Quicken Loans National, and Atlantic City LPGA Classic. The US Open, held at New York City, is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, whereas the Washington Open is part of the ATP World Tour 500 series.

Notable Northeastern motorsports tracks include Watkins Glen International, Dover International Speedway, Pocono Raceway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Lime Rock Park, which have hosted Formula One, IndyCar, NASCAR, and International Motor Sports Association races. Also, drag strips such as Englishtown, Epping, and Reading have hosted NHRA national events. Pimlico Race Course at Baltimore and Belmont Park at New York host the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes horse races, which are part of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.

The region has also been noted for the prevalence of the traditionally Northeastern sports of ice hockey and lacrosse. [5]

Connecticut

There are two Connecticut teams in the American Hockey League. The Bridgeport Sound Tigers is a farm team for the New York Islanders which competes at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. The Hartford Wolf Pack is the affiliate of the New York Rangers; they play in the XL Center in Hartford.

The Hartford Yard Goats of the Eastern League are a AA affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. Also, the Connecticut Tigers play in the New York-Penn League and are an A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. The Bridgeport Bluefish and the New Britain Bees play in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. The Connecticut Sun of the WNBA currently play at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville.

The state hosts several major sporting events. Since 1952, a PGA Tour golf tournament has been played in the Hartford area. It was originally called the "Insurance City Open" and later the "Greater Hartford Open" and is now known as the Travelers Championship. The Connecticut Open tennis tournament is held annually in the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center at Yale University in New Haven.

Lime Rock, a home of the American Le Mans Series tournament

Lime Rock Park in Salisbury is a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) road racing course, home to the International Motor Sports Association, SCCA, United States Auto Club, and K&N Pro Series East races. Thompson International Speedway, Stafford Motor Speedway, and Waterford Speedbowl are oval tracks holding weekly races for NASCAR Modifieds and other classes, including the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. The state also hosts several major mixed martial arts events for Bellator MMA and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Professional sports teams

The Hartford Whalers of the National Hockey League played in Hartford from 1975 to 1997 at the Hartford Civic Center. They departed to Raleigh, North Carolina after disputes with the state over the construction of a new arena, and they are now known as the Carolina Hurricanes. In 1926, Hartford had a franchise in the National Football League known as the Hartford Blues. [6] They joined the National League for one season in 1876, making them the state's only Major League baseball franchise before moving to Brooklyn, New York and then disbanding one season later.

Team Sport League
Bridgeport Sound Tigers Ice hockey American Hockey League
Hartford Wolf Pack Ice hockey American Hockey League
Connecticut Whale Ice Hockey National Women's Hockey League
Hartford Yard Goats Baseball Eastern League (AA)
Connecticut Tigers Baseball New York–Penn League (A)
New Britain Bees Baseball Atlantic League
Connecticut Sun Basketball Women's National Basketball Association
Hartford Athletic Soccer USL Championship
AC Connecticut Soccer USL League Two
New England Black Wolves Lacrosse National Lacrosse League

College sports

Yale Bowl during " The Game" between Yale and Harvard. The Bowl was also the home of the NFL's New York Giants in 1973–74.

The Connecticut Huskies are the team of the University of Connecticut (UConn); they play NCAA Division I sports. Both the men's basketball and women's basketball teams have won multiple national championships; UConn became the first school in NCAA Division I history to have its men's and women's basketball programs win the national title in the same year. [7] [8] The UConn women's basketball team holds the record for the longest consecutive winning streak in NCAA college basketball at 111 games, a streak that ended in 2017. [9] The UConn Huskies football team has played in the Football Bowl Subdivision since 2002, and has played in four bowl games.

New Haven biennially hosts " The Game" between the Yale Bulldogs and the Harvard Crimson, the country's second-oldest college football rivalry. Yale alumnus Walter Camp is deemed the "Father of American Football", and he helped develop modern football while living in New Haven. [10] Other Connecticut universities which feature Division I sports teams are Quinnipiac University, Fairfield University, Central Connecticut State University, Sacred Heart University, and the University of Hartford.

Delaware

Professional Teams
Team Sport League
Wilmington Blue Rocks Baseball Carolina League
Diamond State Roller Girls Roller derby Women's Flat Track Derby Association
Delaware Blue Coats Basketball NBA G League
Delaware Black Foxes Rugby USA Rugby League
NASCAR racing at Dover International Speedway

As Delaware has no franchises in the major American professional sports leagues, many Delawareans follow either Philadelphia or Baltimore teams. In the WNBA, the Washington Mystics enjoy a major following due to the presence of Wilmington native and University of Delaware product Elena Delle Donne. The University of Delaware's football team has a large following throughout the state with the Delaware State University and Wesley College teams also enjoying a smaller degree of support.

Delaware is home to Dover International Speedway and Dover Downs. DIS, also known as the Monster Mile, hosts two NASCAR race weekends each year, one in the late spring and one in the early fall. Dover Downs is a popular harness racing facility. It is the only co-located horse and car-racing facility in the nation, with the Dover Downs track inside the DIS track.

Delaware is represented in USA Rugby League by 2015 expansion club, the Delaware Black Foxes.

Delaware has been home to professional wrestling outfit Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW). CZW has been affiliated with the annual Tournament of Death and ECWA with its annual Super 8 Tournament.

Delaware's official state sport is bicycling. [11]

Maine

Maine has never had a major professional sports team. Like most of New England, Mainers are fans of Boston sports teams.

Maryland

Maryland has a number of major and minor professional sports franchises. Two National Football League teams play in Maryland, the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore and the Washington Redskins in Prince George's County. The Baltimore Orioles compete as Major League Baseball franchise in Baltimore.

Other professional sports franchises in the state include five affiliated minor league baseball teams, one independent league baseball team, the Baltimore Blast indoor soccer team, two indoor football teams, two low-level Basketball teams, three low-level outdoor soccer teams and the Chesapeake Bayhawks of Major League Lacrosse.

The Congressional Country Club and Aronimink Golf Club have hosted several professional golf tournaments, including the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, U.S. Senior Open, Senior PGA Championship, Kemper Open and Quicken Loans National.

Maryland has had famous athletes including baseball's Cal Ripken Jr. and Babe Ruth, and Olympic swimming medalists Michael Phelps and Katie Hoff.

Since 1962, the official state sport of Maryland is jousting. Lacrosse was named the official team sport in 2004, [12] and Sports Illustrated wrote the sport "has always been the showcase for the flower of Maryland manhood." [13] In 2008, intending to promote physical fitness for all ages, Maryland declared walking the official state exercise and became the first state with an official state exercise. [14]

Massachusetts

Sports in Massachusetts have a long history with both amateur athletics and professional teams. Most of the major professional teams have won multiple championships in their respective leagues. Massachusetts teams have won 6 Stanley Cups ( Boston Bruins), [15] 17 NBA Championships ( Boston Celtics), [16] 5 Super Bowls ( New England Patriots), [17] and 9 World Series (8 Boston Red Sox, 1 Boston Braves). [18] Early basketball and volleyball was created in Massachusetts, which homes the Basketball Hall of Fame ( Springfield), [19] the Volleyball Hall of Fame ( Holyoke),. [19] Massachusetts also houses the Cape Cod Baseball League. It is also home to prestigious sports events such as the Boston Marathon and the Head of the Charles Regatta. The Falmouth Road Race in running and the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic in bicycle racing are also very popular events with long histories.

The PGA Tour Deutsche Bank Championship is a regular professional golf tour stop in the state. Massachusetts has played host to nine U.S. Opens, four U.S. Women's Opens, two Ryder Cups, and one U.S. Senior Open.

Many colleges and universities in Massachusetts are active in college athletics. There are a number of NCAA Division I members in the state for multiple sports: Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern University, Harvard University, College of the Holy Cross, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

New Hampshire

The following professional and professional development sports teams are in New Hampshire:

Club Sport / League Level
New Hampshire Fisher Cats Eastern League (class AA baseball) Professional
Manchester Monarchs ECHL ( ice hockey) Professional
Seacoast United Phantoms USL League Two (soccer) Professional development (adult)
Manchester Freedom Independent Women's Football League Professional
Berlin BlackJacks LNAH ( ice hockey) Professional (low-minor)
NH Olympic Development Program (soccer) US Soccer Region 1 Professional development (youth: ages 11–17)

The New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon is an oval track and road course which has been visited by national motorsport championship series such as the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series, the NASCAR Xfinity Series, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, American Canadian Tour (ACT), the Champ Car and the IndyCar Series. Other motor racing venues include Star Speedway and New England Dragway in Epping, Lee Speedway in Lee, Twin State Speedway in Claremont, Monadnock Speedway in Winchester and Canaan Fair Speedway in Canaan.

New Hampshire has two NCAA Division I teams: the Dartmouth Big Green ( Ivy League) and the New Hampshire Wildcats ( America East Conference), as well as three Division II teams: Franklin Pierce Ravens, Saint Anselm Hawks and Southern New Hampshire Penmen ( Northeast-10 Conference).

The Seacoast United Phantoms are a soccer team based in Hampton, New Hampshire. Founded in 1996, the team plays in the USL League Two, the fourth tier of the American Soccer Pyramid, in the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference. The team plays its home games at Amesbury Sports Park, where they have played since 2017.

Annually since 2002, high-school statewide all-stars compete against Vermont in ten sports during "Twin State" playoffs. [20]

New Jersey

MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, home to the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets. [21]

Professional sports

New Jersey currently has four major league teams based in the state, although only one, the National Hockey League's New Jersey Devils, bears the state's name. Since 2007, they have played their home games at the Prudential Center in Newark.

The New York metropolitan area's two National Football League teams, the New York Giants and the New York Jets, both play in East Rutherford, at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands Sports Complex. [22] Completed at a cost of approximately $1.6 billion, it is one of the most expensive stadiums ever built. [23] [21] On February 2, 2014, MetLife Stadium hosted Super Bowl XLVIII, the first Super Bowl played outside in a cold-weather city.

The New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer play in Red Bull Arena, a soccer-specific stadium located in Harrison, just outside of downtown Newark.

The Meadowlands Sports Complex is also home to the Meadowlands Racetrack, one of three major harness racing tracks in the state. That track, along with Freehold Raceway in Freehold, are two of the major harness racing tracks in North America. Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport is a popular spot for thoroughbred horse racing. It hosted the Breeders' Cup in 2007, and its turf course was renovated in preparation.

Additionally, New Jersey is home to two MLB-affiliated Minor League Baseball teams: the Trenton Thunder ( New York Yankees affiliate) and the Lakewood BlueClaws ( Philadelphia Phillies affiliate). The state is also home to the Can-Am League baseball team, the New Jersey Jackals, who play at Yogi Berra Stadium, which is located on the campus of Montclair State University.

The following table shows the major league sports teams in the state:

New Jersey major league professional sports teams
Club Sport League Stadium (capacity) Established Championship Titles
New Jersey Devils Ice hockey NHL Prudential Center (16,514) 1974 3 (1995, 2000, 2003)
New York Giants Football NFL MetLife Stadium (82,500) 1925 8 (1927, 1934, 1938, 1956, 1986, 1990, 2007, 2011)
New York Jets Football NFL MetLife Stadium (82,500) 1959 1 (1968)
New York Red Bulls Soccer MLS Red Bull Arena (25,000) 1994 0

College sports

New Jerseyans' collegiate allegiances are predominantly split among the four major NCAA Division I programs in the state – the Seton Hall University Pirates, the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights, the NJIT Highlanders, and the Princeton University Tigers. Rutgers joined the Big Ten Conference in 2014.

Seton Hall's basketball team has been one of the most storied programs in the Big East Conference,[ citation needed] and it plays its home games at the Prudential Center in Newark. The Hall have 3 Big East Tournament Championships with wins in 1991, 1993 and most recently in 2016. Seton Hall was the national runner-up in the 1989 NCAA Tournament when they lost to the Michigan Wolverines in overtime. The Pirates made a huge comeback as a program in 2014 with a top-5 recruiting class nationally. The Pirates have support in the predominantly Roman Catholic areas of the northern part of the state and the Jersey Shore.[ citation needed]

Rutgers and Princeton have an intense rivalry – stemming from the first intercollegiate football game in 1869 – though the two schools have not met on the football field since 1980. They continue to play each other annually in other sports.

Rutgers, which fields 24 teams in various sports, is nationally known for its excellent football and women's basketball programs.[ citation needed] The university is planning an expansion to Rutgers Stadium, and the teams play in Piscataway, which is adjacent to the New Brunswick campus. The university also fields rising basketball and baseball programs.[ citation needed] Rutgers' fan base is mostly derived from the western parts of the state and Middlesex County,[ citation needed] and its alumni base is the largest in the state.

High-school sports

New Jersey high schools are divided into divisions under the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.(NJSIAA) [24]' [25] Founded in 1918, the NJSIAA currently represents 22,000 schools, 330,000 coaches, and almost 4.5 million athletes. Sports are divided between 3 seasons (fall, winter, and spring).

New York

New York has two Major League Baseball teams, the New York Yankees (based in the Bronx) and the New York Mets (based in Queens). New York is home to three National Hockey League franchises: the New York Rangers in Manhattan, the New York Islanders in Brooklyn and the Buffalo Sabres in Buffalo. New York has two National Basketball Association teams, the New York Knicks in Manhattan, and the Brooklyn Nets in Brooklyn. New York has one Major League Soccer team: New York City FC. Although the New York Red Bulls represent the New York metropolitan area they play in Red Bull Arena, located in Harrison, New Jersey.

New York is the home of one National Football League team, the Buffalo Bills (based in the suburb of Orchard Park). Although the New York Giants and New York Jets represent the New York metropolitan area and were previously located in New York City, they play in MetLife Stadium, located in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and both have their headquarters and training facilities in New Jersey. The Meadowlands stadium hosted Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014, in which New York and New Jersey shared hosting duties.

There are a variety of minor league teams and leagues throughout the State of New York. The American Hockey League has five of its 30 teams in upstate New York. Baseball leagues that include New York in their territory include the class AAA International League (three teams), class AA Eastern League (the Binghamton Rumble Ponies), short-season Class A New York–Penn League (seven teams), independent professional Atlantic League (the Long Island Ducks), and amateur baseball leagues such as the New York Collegiate Baseball League, the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League and the Southwestern New York Men's Baseball League. Indoor American football has historically had very little presence in New York State compared to elsewhere, with only the Rochester Raiders currently playing as of 2014; a thriving amateur outdoor circuit with several leagues plays primarily in the summer months.

Numerous college sports teams play in New York State at all levels; the Division III State University of New York Athletic Conference and Empire 8 consist almost entirely of New York-based teams.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is home to many major league professional sports teams; the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball, the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League, the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League, and the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer. Among them, these teams have accumulated 7 World Series Championships (Pirates 5, Phillies 2), 16 National League Pennants (Pirates 9, Phillies 7), 3 pre- Super Bowl era NFL Championships (Eagles), 7 Super Bowl Championships (Steelers 6, Eagles 1), 2 NBA Championships (76ers), and 7 Stanley Cups (Penguins 5, Flyers 2).

Pennsylvania also has minor league and semi-pro sports teams: the Triple-A baseball Lehigh Valley IronPigs and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders of the International League; the Double-A baseball Altoona Curve, Erie SeaWolves, Harrisburg Senators, and Reading Fightin Phils of the Eastern League; the Class A-Short Season baseball State College Spikes and Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York–Penn League; the independent baseball Lancaster Barnstormers and York Revolution of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball; the independent baseball Washington Wild Things of the Frontier League; the Erie BayHawks of the NBA G League; the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League; the Reading Royals and of the ECHL; and the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League. Among them, these teams have accumulated 12 triple and double A baseball league titles (RailRiders 1, Senators 6, Fightin Phils 4 Curve 1), 1 Arena Bowl Championship (Soul), and 11 Calder Cups (Bears).

Since 1959, the Little League World Series is held each summer in South Williamsport, near where Little League Baseball was founded in Williamsport. [26]

Also, the first World Series between the Boston Pilgrims (which became the Boston Red Sox) and Pittsburgh Pirates was played in Pittsburgh in 1903.

Soccer is gaining popularity within the state of Pennsylvania as well. With the addition of the Philadelphia Union in the MLS, the state now boasts three teams that are eligible to compete for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup annually. The other two teams are Penn FC and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, both of the United Soccer League ( USL). Within the American Soccer Pyramid, the MLS takes the first tier, while the USL-2 claims the third tier.

In motorsports, the Mario Andretti dynasty of race drivers hails from Nazareth in the Lehigh Valley. Notable racetracks in Pennsylvania include the Jennerstown Speedway in Jennerstown, the Lake Erie Speedway in North East, the Mahoning Valley Speedway in Lehighton, the Motordome Speedway in Smithton, the Mountain Speedway in St. Johns, the Nazareth Speedway in Nazareth (closed); and the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, which is home to two NASCAR Cup Series races and an IndyCar Series race. The state is also home to Maple Grove Raceway, near Reading, which hosts major National Hot Rod Association sanctioned drag racing events each year.

There are also two motocross race tracks that host a round of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championships in Pennsylvania. High Point Raceway in located in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania, and Steel City is located in Delmont, Pennsylvania.

Horse racing courses in Pennsylvania consist of The Meadows near Pittsburgh, Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, and Harrah's Philadelphia in Chester, which offer harness racing, and Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Parx Racing (formerly Philadelphia Park) in Bensalem, and Presque Isle Downs near Erie, which offer thoroughbred racing. Smarty Jones, the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner, had Philadelphia Park as his home course.

Arnold Palmer, one of the 20th century's most notable pro golfers, comes from Latrobe, while Jim Furyk, a current PGA member, grew up near in Lancaster. PGA tournaments in Pennsylvania include the 84 Lumber Classic, played at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, in Farmington and the Northeast Pennsylvania Classic, played at Glenmaura National Golf Club, in Moosic.

Philadelphia is home to LOVE Park, once a popular spot for skateboarding, and across from City Hall, host to ESPN's X Games in 2001 and 2002. [27]

College sports

College football is popular in Pennsylvania[ citation needed]. There are three colleges in Pennsylvania that play at the highest level of collegiate football competition, the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. Two play in Power Five conferences, the Penn State University Nittany Lions of the Big Ten Conference and the University of Pittsburgh Panthers of the Atlantic Coast Conference, while the Temple University Owls play in the American Athletic Conference. Penn State, claims two national championships (1982 & 1986) as well as seven undefeated seasons (1887, 1912, 1968, 1969, 1973, 1986 and 1994). Penn State plays its home games in the second-largest stadium in the United States, Beaver Stadium, which seats 107,282, and is currently led by head coach James Franklin. The University of Pittsburgh Panthers claims nine national championships (1915, 1916, 1918, 1929, 1931, 1934, 1936, 1937 and 1976) and has played eight undefeated seasons (1904, 1910, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1920, 1937 and 1976). [28] Pitt plays its home games at Heinz Field, a facility it shares with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and is led by current head football coach Pat Narduzzi. Other Pennsylvania schools that have won national titles in football include Lafayette College (1896), Villanova University ( FCS 2009), the University of Pennsylvania (1895, 1897, 1904 and 1908) [29] and Washington and Jefferson College (1921).

College basketball is also popular in the state, especially in the Philadelphia area where five universities, collectively termed the Big Five, have a rich tradition in NCAA Division I basketball. National titles in college basketball have been won by the following Pennsylvania universities: La Salle University (1954), Temple University (1938), University of Pennsylvania (1920 and 1921), University of Pittsburgh (1928 and 1930), and Villanova University (1985, 2016, and 2018). [30] [31]

Rhode Island

Professional

McCoy Stadium where the Pawtucket Red Sox play baseball

Rhode Island has two professional sports teams, both of which are top-level minor league affiliates for teams in Boston. The Pawtucket Red Sox baseball team of the Triple-A International League are an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. They play at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket and have won four league titles, the Governors' Cup, in 1973, 1984, 2012, and 2014. McCoy Stadium also has the distinction of being home to the longest professional baseball game ever played – 33 innings.

The other professional minor league team is the Providence Bruins ice hockey team of the American Hockey League, who are an affiliate of the Boston Bruins. They play in the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence and won the AHL's Calder Cup during the 1998–99 AHL season.

The Providence Reds were a hockey team that played in the Canadian-American Hockey League (CAHL) between 1926 and 1936 and the American Hockey League (AHL) from 1936 to 1977, the last season of which they played as the Rhode Island Reds. The team won the Calder Cup in 1938, 1940, 1949, and 1956. The Reds played at the Rhode Island Auditorium, located on North Main Street in Providence, Rhode Island from 1926 through 1972, when the team affiliated with the New York Rangers and moved into the newly built Providence Civic Center. The team name came from the rooster known as the Rhode Island Red. They moved to New York in 1977 and, after multiple name changes, are now called the Hartford Wolf Pack.

The Reds are the oldest continuously operating minor-league hockey franchise in North America, having fielded a team in one form or another since 1926 in the CAHL. It is also the only AHL franchise to have never missed a season. The AHL returned to Providence in 1992 in the form of the Providence Bruins.

1884 Baseball Champion Providence Grays

Before the great expansion of athletic teams all over the country, Providence and Rhode Island in general played a great role in supporting teams. The Providence Grays won the first World Championship in baseball history in 1884. The team played their home games at the old Messer Street Field in Providence. The Grays played in the National League from 1878 to 1885. They defeated the New York Metropolitans of the American Association in a best of five game series at the Polo Grounds in New York. Providence won three straight games to become the first champions in major league baseball history. Babe Ruth played for the minor league Providence Grays of 1914 and hit his only official minor league home run for that team before being recalled by the Grays' parent club, the Boston Red Stockings.

The now-defunct professional football team the Providence Steam Roller won the 1928 NFL title. They played in a 10,000 person stadium called the Cycledrome. [32] The Providence Steamrollers played in the Basketball Association of America which became the National Basketball Association.

Rhode Island is also home to a top semi-professional soccer club, the Rhode Island Reds, which compete in the National premier soccer league, in the fourth division of U.S. Soccer.

Rhode Island is home to one top level non-minor league team, the Rhode Island Rebellion rugby league team, a semi-professional rugby league team that competes in the USA Rugby League, the Top Competition in the United States for the Sport of Rugby League. [33] [34] The Rebellion play their home games at Classical High School in Providence. [35]

Collegiate and amateur sports

Bryant University's Bulldogs Stadium
University of Rhode Island's Meade Stadium and Ryan Center

There are four NCAA Division I schools in Rhode Island. All four schools compete in different conferences. The Brown University Bears compete in the Ivy League, the Bryant University Bulldogs compete in the Northeast Conference, the Providence College Friars compete in the Big East Conference, and the University of Rhode Island Rams compete in the Atlantic-10 Conference. Three of the schools' football teams compete in the Football Championship Subdivision, the second-highest level of college football in the United States. Brown plays FCS football in the Ivy League, Bryant plays FCS football in the Northeast Conference, and Rhode Island plays FCS football in the Colonial Athletic Association. All four of the Division I schools in the state compete in an intrastate all-sports competition known as the Ocean State Cup, with Bryant winning the most recent cup in 2011–12 academic year.

From 1930 to 1983, America's Cup races were sailed off Newport, and the extreme-sport X Games and Gravity Games were founded and hosted in the state's capital city.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame is in Newport at the Newport Casino, site of the first U.S. National Championships in 1881. The Hall of Fame and Museum were established in 1954 by James Van Alen as "a shrine to the ideals of the game".

Rhode Island is also home to the headquarters of the governing body for youth rugby league in the United States, the American Youth Rugby League Association or AYRLA. The AYRLA has started the first-ever Rugby League youth competition in Providence Middle Schools, a program at the RI Training School, in addition to starting the first High School Competition in the USA in Providence Public High School. [36]

Vermont

Winter sports

Winter sports are popular in New England, and Vermont's winter sports attractions are a big part of Vermont tourism. Some well known attractions include Burke Mountain ski area, Jay Peak Resort, Killington Ski Resort, Stowe Mountain Resort, the Quechee Club Ski Area, and Smugglers' Notch Resort.

Vermont natives in the snowboarding profession include Kevin Pearce, Ross Powers, Hannah Teter, and Kelly Clark. Others learned snowboarding in the state, such as Louie Vito and Ellery Hollingsworth.

Vermont Olympic gold medalists include Barbara Cochran, [37] Hannah Kearney, [38] Kelly Clark, [39] Ross Powers, [40] and Hannah Teter. [41]

Baseball

The largest professional franchise is the Vermont Lake Monsters, a single-A minor league baseball affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, based in Burlington. They were named the Vermont Expos before 2006. [42] Up until the 2011 season, they were the affiliate of the Washington Nationals (formerly the Montreal Expos).

Basketball

Currently the highest teams in basketball, representing Vermont are the NCAA's Vermont Catamounts – male and female. [43]

The Vermont Frost Heaves, the 2007 and 2008 American Basketball Association national champions, were a franchise of the Premier Basketball League, and were based in Barre and Burlington from the fall of 2006 through the winter of 2011.

Football

The Vermont Bucks, an indoor football team, were based in Burlington and began play in 2017 as the founding team in the Can-Am Indoor Football League. [44] For 2018, the Bucks joined the American Arena League, but folded prior to playing in the new league. [45]

Hockey

Vermont is home to the University of Vermont Men's and Women's hockey teams. Vermont's only professional hockey team was the Vermont Wild who played in the Federal Hockey League during the 2011-12 season, but the team folded before the season ended.

Soccer

The Vermont Voltage were a USL Premier Development League soccer club that played in St. Albans.

Annually since 2002, high school statewide all stars compete against New Hampshire in ten sports during "Twin State" playoffs. [46]

Motorsport

Vermont also has a few auto racing venues. The most popular of them is Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, Vermont. It is well known for its tight racing and has become well known in short track stock car racing. Other racing circuits include the USC sanctioned Bear Ridge Speedway, and the NASCAR sanctioned Devil's Bowl Speedway. Some NASCAR Cup drivers have come to Vermont circuits to compete against local weekly drivers such as Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Kenny Wallace, and Joe Nemechek. Kevin Lepage from Shelburne, Vermont is one of a few professional drivers from Vermont. Racing series in Vermont include NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, American Canadian Tour, and Vermont's own Tiger Sportsman Series.

Washington, D.C.

Washington is one of 13 cities in the United States with teams from all four major professional men's sports and is home to one major professional women's team. The Washington Wizards (National Basketball Association), the Washington Capitals (National Hockey League), and the Washington Mystics (Women's National Basketball Association), play at the Capital One Arena in Chinatown. Nationals Park, which opened in Southeast D.C. in 2008, is home to the Washington Nationals (Major League Baseball). D.C. United (Major League Soccer) plays at Audi Field. The Washington Redskins (National Football League) play at FedExField in nearby Landover, Maryland.

Current D.C. teams have won a combined eleven professional league championships: the Washington Redskins have won five; [47] D.C. United has won four; [48] and the Washington Wizards (then the Washington Bullets) and Washington Capitals have each won a single championship. [49] [50]

Other professional and semi-professional teams in Washington include: the Washington Kastles (World TeamTennis); the Washington D.C. Slayers (USA Rugby League); the Baltimore Washington Eagles (U.S. Australian Football League); the D.C. Divas (Independent Women's Football League); and the Potomac Athletic Club RFC (Rugby Super League). The William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park hosts the Citi Open. Washington is also home to two major annual marathon races: the Marine Corps Marathon, which is held every autumn, and the Rock 'n' Roll USA Marathon held in the spring. The Marine Corps Marathon began in 1976 and is sometimes called "The People's Marathon" because it is the largest marathon that does not offer prize money to participants. [51]

The District's four NCAA Division I teams, American Eagles, George Washington Colonials, Georgetown Hoyas and Howard Bison and Lady Bison, have a broad following. The Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team is the most notable and also plays at the Capital One Arena. From 2008 to 2012, the District hosted an annual college football bowl game at RFK Stadium, called the Military Bowl. [52] The D.C. area is home to one regional sports television network, Comcast SportsNet (CSN), based in Bethesda, Maryland.


Midwest

Professional sports leagues such as the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Soccer (MLS) have team franchises in several Midwestern cities:[ citation needed]

Successful teams include the St. Louis Cardinals (11 World Series titles), Cincinnati Reds (5 World Series titles), Chicago Bulls (6 NBA titles), the Detroit Pistons (3 NBA titles), the Green Bay Packers (4 Super Bowl titles, 13 total NFL championships), the Detroit Red Wings (11 Stanley Cup titles), the Detroit Tigers (4 World Series titles), and the Chicago Blackhawks (6 Stanley Cup titles).[ citation needed]

In NCAA college sports, the Big Ten Conference and the Big 12 Conference feature the largest concentration of top Midwestern Division I football and men's and women's basketball teams in the region, including the Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Northwestern Wildcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Purdue Boilermakers, and the Wisconsin Badgers.[ citation needed]

Other notable Midwestern college sports teams include the Butler Bulldogs, Cincinnati Bearcats, Creighton Bluejays, Dayton Flyers, Indiana State Sycamores, Marquette Golden Eagles, Milwaukee Panthers, Missouri Tigers, Missouri State Bears, Northern Illinois Huskies, North Dakota State Bison, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, South Dakota State Jackrabbits, Western Michigan Broncos, Wichita State Shockers, and Xavier Musketeers. Of this second group of schools, Butler, Dayton, Indiana State, Missouri State, and South Dakota State do not play top-level college football (all playing in the second-tier Division I FCS), and Creighton, Marquette, Milwaukee, Wichita State and Xavier do not sponsor football at all. [53]

The Milwaukee Mile hosted its first motor race in 1903, and is one of the oldest tracks in the world. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, opened in 1909, is a prestigious auto racing track which annually hosts the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400, and the Indianapolis Motorcycle Grand Prix. The Road America and Mid-Ohio road courses opened in the 1950s and 1960s respectively. Other motorsport venues in the Midwest are Indianapolis Raceway Park, Michigan International Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Gateway International Raceway, and the Iowa Speedway. The Kentucky Speedway is just outside the officially defined Midwest, but is linked with the region because the track is located in the Cincinnati metropolitan area.[ citation needed]

Notable professional golf tournaments in the Midwest include the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Memorial Tournament, BMW Championship and John Deere Classic.[ citation needed]

Illinois

Soldier Field, Chicago

Major league sports

As one of the United States' major metropolises, all major sports leagues have teams headquartered in Chicago.

Other top-level professional sports

Minor league sports

Many minor league teams also call Illinois their home. They include:

College sports

The state features 13 athletic programs that compete in NCAA Division I, the highest level of U.S. college sports.

The two most prominent are the Illinois Fighting Illini and Northwestern Wildcats, both members of the Big Ten Conference and the only ones competing in one of the so-called " Power Five conferences". The Fighting Illini football team has won five national championships and three Rose Bowl Games, whereas the men's basketball team has won 17 conference seasons and played five Final Fours. Meanwhile, the Wildcats have won eight football conference championships and one Rose Bowl Game.

The Northern Illinois Huskies from DeKalb, Illinois compete in the Mid-American Conference winning 4 conference championships and earning a bid in the Orange Bowl along with producing Heisman candidate Jordan Lynch at quarterback. The Huskies are the state's only other team competing in the Football Bowl Subdivision, the top level of NCAA football.

Four schools have football programs that compete in the second level of Division I football, the Football Championship Subdivision. The Illinois State Redbirds (Normal, adjacent to Bloomington) and Southern Illinois Salukis (the latter representing Southern Illinois University's main campus in Carbondale) are members of the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) for non-football sports and the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC). The Western Illinois Leathernecks (Macomb) are full members of the Summit League, which does not sponsor football, and also compete in the MVFC. The Eastern Illinois Panthers (Charleston) are members of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC).

The city of Chicago is home to four Division I programs that do not sponsor football. The DePaul Blue Demons, with main campuses in Lincoln Park and the Loop, are members of the Big East Conference. The Loyola Ramblers, with their main campus straddling the Edgewater and Rogers Park community areas on the city's far north side, compete in the MVC. The UIC Flames, from the Near West Side next to the Loop, are in the Horizon League. The Chicago State Cougars, from the city's south side, compete in the Western Athletic Conference.

Finally, two non-football Division I programs are located downstate. The Bradley Braves (Peoria) are MVC members, and the SIU Edwardsville Cougars (in the Metro East region across the Mississippi River from St. Louis) compete in the OVC.

Former Chicago sports franchises

Folded teams

The city was formerly home to several other teams that either failed to survive, or that belonged to leagues that folded.

Relocated teams

The NFL's Arizona Cardinals, who currently play in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale, Arizona, played in Chicago as the Chicago Cardinals, until moving to St. Louis, Missouri after the 1959 season. An NBA expansion team known as the Chicago Packers in 1961–1962, and as the Chicago Zephyrs the following year, moved to Baltimore after the 1962–1963 season. The franchise is now known as the Washington Wizards.

Professional sports teams outside Chicago

The Peoria Chiefs and Kane County Cougars are minor league baseball teams affiliated with MLB. The Schaumburg Boomers and Lake County Fielders are members of the North American League, and the Southern Illinois Miners, Gateway Grizzlies, Joliet Slammers, Windy City ThunderBolts, and Normal CornBelters belong to the Frontier League.

In addition to the Chicago Wolves, the AHL also has the Rockford IceHogs serving as the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks. The second incarnation of the Peoria Rivermen plays in the SPHL.

Motor racing

Motor racing oval tracks at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, the Chicago Motor Speedway in Cicero and the Gateway International Raceway in Madison, near St. Louis, have hosted NASCAR, CART, and IRL races, whereas the Sports Car Club of America, among other national and regional road racing clubs, have visited the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, the Blackhawk Farms Raceway in South Beloit and the former Meadowdale International Raceway in Carpentersville. Illinois also has several short tracks and dragstrips. The dragstrip at Gateway International Raceway and the Route 66 Raceway, which sits on the same property as the Chicagoland Speedway, both host NHRA drag races.

Golf

Illinois features several golf courses, such as Olympia Fields, Medinah, Midlothian, Cog Hill, and Conway Farms, which have often hosted the BMW Championship, Western Open, and Women's Western Open.

Also, the state has hosted 13 editions of the U.S. Open (latest at Olympia Fields in 2003), six editions of the PGA Championship (latest at Medinah in 2006), three editions of the U.S. Women's Open (latest at The Merit Club), the 2009 Solheim Cup (at Rich Harvest Farms), and the 2012 Ryder Cup (at Medinah).

The John Deere Classic is a regular PGA Tour event played in the Quad Cities since 1971, whereas the Encompass Championship is a Champions Tour event since 2013. Previously, the LPGA State Farm Classic was an LPGA Tour event from 1976 to 2011.


Indiana

Motorsports

The 2008 Indianapolis 500, the 92nd running of the race.

Indiana has an extensive history with auto racing. Indianapolis hosts the Indianapolis 500 mile race over Memorial Day weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway every May. The name of the race is usually shortened to "Indy 500" and also goes by the nickname "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." The race attracts over 250,000 people every year making it the largest single day sporting event in the world. The track also hosts the Brickyard 400 ( NASCAR) and the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix. From 2000 to 2007, it hosted the United States Grand Prix ( Formula One). Indiana features the world's largest and most prestigious drag race, the NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, held each Labor Day weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in Clermont, Indiana. Indiana is also host to a major unlimited hydroplane racing power boat race circuits in the major H1 Unlimited league, the Madison Regatta ( Madison, Indiana).

Professional sports

The Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League have been based in the state since 1984.

As of 2013 Indiana has produced more National Basketball Association (NBA) players per capita than any other state. Muncie has produced the most per capita of any American city, with two other Indiana cities in the top ten. [57] It has a rich basketball heritage that reaches back to the formative years of the sport itself. The Indiana Pacers of the NBA play their home games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse; they began play in 1967 in the American Basketball Association (ABA) and joined the NBA when the leagues merged in 1976. Although James Naismith developed basketball in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891, Indiana is where high school basketball was born. In 1925, Naismith visited an Indiana basketball state finals game along with 15,000 screaming fans and later wrote "Basketball really had its origin in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport." The 1986 film Hoosiers is inspired by the story of the 1954 Indiana state champions Milan High School. Professional basketball player Larry Bird was born in West Baden Springs and was raised in French Lick. He went on to lead the Boston Celtics to the NBA championship in 1981, 1984, and 1986. [58]

Indianapolis is home to the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are members of the South Division of the American Football Conference. The Colts have roots back to 1913 as the Dayton Triangles. They became an official team after moving to Baltimore, MD, in 1953. In 1984, the Colts relocated to Indianapolis, leading to an eventual rivalry with the Baltimore Ravens. After calling the RCA Dome home for 25 years, the Colts currently play their home games at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. While in Baltimore, the Colts won the 1970 Super Bowl. In Indianapolis, the Colts won Super Bowl XLI, bringing the franchise total to two. In recent years the Colts have regularly competed in the NFL playoffs.

Professional teams

The following table shows the professional sports teams in Indiana. Teams in italic are in major professional leagues.

Club Sport League Venue (capacity)
Indianapolis Colts American football National Football League Lucas Oil Stadium (62,400)
Indiana Pacers Basketball National Basketball Association Bankers Life Fieldhouse (18,165)
Evansville Otters Baseball Frontier League Bosse Field (5,181)
Evansville Thunderbolts Ice hockey Southern Professional Hockey League Ford Center (9,000)
Fort Wayne Komets Ice hockey ECHL Allen County War Memorial Coliseum (10,480)
Fort Wayne Mad Ants Basketball NBA G League War Memorial Coliseum (13,000)
Fort Wayne TinCaps Baseball Midwest League Parkview Field (8,100)
Gary SouthShore RailCats Baseball American Association U.S. Steel Yard (6,139)
Indy Eleven Soccer United Soccer League Lucas Oil Stadium (62,400)
Indiana Fever Basketball Women's National Basketball Association Bankers Life Fieldhouse (18,165)
Indy Fuel Ice hockey ECHL Fairgrounds Coliseum (6,300)
Indianapolis Indians Baseball International League ( AAA) Victory Field (14,230)
South Bend Cubs Baseball Midwest League Four Winds Field (5,000)

The following is a table of sports venues in Indiana that have a capacity in excess of 30,000:

Facility Capacity Municipality Tenants
Indianapolis Motor Speedway 257,325 Speedway Indianapolis 500
Grand Prix of Indianapolis
Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400
Lilly Diabetes 250
Notre Dame Stadium 84,000 Notre Dame Notre Dame Fighting Irish football
Lucas Oil Stadium 62,421 Indianapolis Indianapolis Colts
Indy Eleven
Ross–Ade Stadium 57,236 West Lafayette Purdue Boilermakers football
Memorial Stadium 52,929 Bloomington Indiana Hoosiers football

College athletics

Indiana has had great sports success at the collegiate level.

In men's basketball, the Indiana Hoosiers have won five NCAA national championships and 22 Big Ten Conference championships. The Purdue Boilermakers were selected as the national champions in 1932 before the creation of the tournament, and have won 23 Big Ten championships. The Boilermakers along with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have both won a national championship in women's basketball.

In college football, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have won 11 consensus national championships, as well as the Rose Bowl Game, Cotton Bowl Classic, Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl. Meanwhile, the Purdue Boilermakers have won 10 Big Ten championships and have won the Rose Bowl and Peach Bowl.

Schools fielding NCAA Division I athletic programs include:

Iowa

The state has four major college teams playing in Division I for all sports. In football, Iowa State University and the University of Iowa compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), whereas the University of Northern Iowa and Drake University compete in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Although Iowa has no professional major league sports teams, Iowa has minor league sports teams in baseball, basketball, hockey, and other sports.

The following table shows the Iowa sports teams with average attendance over 8,000. All of the following teams are NCAA Division I football, basketball, or wrestling teams: [59] [60] [61] [62]

Iowa sports teams (attendance > 8,000)
Team Location Attendance
Iowa Hawkeyes football Iowa City 67,512
Iowa State Cyclones football Ames 52,197
Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball Iowa City 14,976
Iowa State Cyclones men's basketball Ames 14,192
Northern Iowa Panthers football Cedar Falls 12,490
Iowa State Cyclones women's basketball Ames 9,289
Iowa Hawkeye Wrestling Iowa City 8,358

College sports

The state has four NCAA Division I college teams. In NCAA FBS, the University of Iowa Hawkeyes play in the Big Ten Conference and the Iowa State University Cyclones compete in the Big 12 Conference. The two intrastate rivals compete annually for the Cy-Hawk Trophy as part of the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series.

In NCAA FCS, the University of Northern Iowa Panthers play at the Missouri Valley Conference and Missouri Valley Football Conference (despite the similar names, the conferences are administratively separate), whereas the Drake University Bulldogs play at the Missouri Valley Conference in most sports and Pioneer League for football.

A large brick stadium with many round windows on the bottom and many rectangle windows in groups of four line the top of the stadium. The words Modern Woodmen Park are displayed above the door
Modern Woodmen Park is home to the Quad Cities baseball team

Baseball

Des Moines is home to the Iowa Cubs, a Class AAA team in the Pacific Coast League and affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. Iowa has four Class A minor league teams in the Midwest League: the Burlington Bees, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Clinton LumberKings, and the Quad Cities River Bandits. The Sioux City Explorers are part of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.

Ice hockey

Des Moines is home to the Iowa Wild, who are affiliated with the Minnesota Wild and are members of the American Hockey League.

The United States Hockey League has five teams in Iowa: the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, Sioux City Musketeers, Waterloo Black Hawks, Des Moines Buccaneers, and the Dubuque Fighting Saints. The North Iowa Bulls play in the North American 3 Hockey League in Mason City.

Soccer

The Des Moines Menace of the USL Premier Development League play their home games at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines, Iowa. Starting in the 2015-16 season of the Major Arena Soccer League, the Cedar Rapids Rampage plays in the U.S. Cellular Center. As well as the Cedar Rapids Rampage United plays at Kingston Stadium.

Other sports

Iowa has two professional basketball teams. The Iowa Wolves, an NBA G League team that plays in Des Moines, is owned and affiliated with the Minnesota Timberwolves of the NBA. The Sioux City Hornets play in the American Basketball Association.

Iowa has three professional football teams. The Sioux City Bandits play in the Champions Indoor Football league. The Iowa Barnstormers play in the Indoor Football League at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. The Cedar Rapids Titans play in the Indoor Football League at the U.S. Cellular Center.

The Iowa Speedway oval track has hosted auto racing championships such as the IndyCar Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Truck Series since 2006. Also, the Knoxville Raceway dirt track hosts the Knoxville Nationals, one of the classic sprint car racing events.

The John Deere Classic is a PGA Tour golf event held in the Quad Cities since 1971. The Principal Charity Classic is a Champions Tour event since 2001. The Des Moines Golf and Country Club hosted the 1999 U.S. Senior Open and has scheduled the 2017 Solheim Cup.

Kansas

Professional

Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City
Team Sport League City
Sporting Kansas City Soccer Major League Soccer Kansas City
Swope Park Rangers Soccer United Soccer League Overland Park
Kansas City T-Bones Baseball American Association Kansas City
Garden City Wind Baseball Pecos League Garden City
Salina Liberty Indoor Football Champions Indoor Football Salina
Wichita Thunder Ice hockey ECHL Wichita
Wichita Force Indoor Football Champions Indoor Football Wichita
Wichita Wingnuts Baseball American Association Wichita

Sporting Kansas City, who have played their home games at Village West in Kansas City, since 2008, are the first top-tier professional sports league and first Major League Soccer team to be located within Kansas. In 2011 the team moved to their new home, a $165m soccer specific stadium now known as Children's Mercy Park.

Historically, Kansans have supported the major league sports teams of Kansas City, Missouri, including the Kansas City Royals ( MLB), the Kansas City Chiefs ( NFL) and the Kansas City Brigade ( AFL) – in part because the home stadiums for these teams are a few miles from the Kansas border. The Chiefs and the Royals play at the Truman Sports Complex, located about 10 miles (16 km) from the Kansas–Missouri state line. The Kansas City Brigade play in the newly opened Sprint Center, which is even closer to the state line at 1.5 miles (2.4 km). FC Kansas City, a charter member of the National Women's Soccer League, played the 2013 season, the first for both the team and the league, on the Kansas side of the metropolitan area, but played on the Missouri side until folding after the 2017 season. From 1973 to 1997 the flagship radio station for the Royals was WIBW in Topeka. [63]

Some Kansans, mostly from the westernmost parts of the state, support the professional sports teams of Denver, particularly the Denver Broncos of the NFL.

Two major auto racing facilities are located in Kansas. The Kansas Speedway located in Kansas City hosts races of the NASCAR, IndyCar, and ARCA circuits. Also, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) holds drag racing events at Heartland Park Topeka. The Sports Car Club of America has its national headquarters in Topeka.

History

The history of professional sports in Kansas probably dates from the establishment of the minor league baseball Topeka Capitals and Leavenworth Soldiers in 1886 in the Western League. [64] [65] The African-American Bud Fowler played on the Topeka team that season, one year before the " color line" descended on professional baseball. [65]

In 1887, the Western League was dominated by a reorganized Topeka team called the Golden Giants – a high-priced collection of major leaguer players, including Bug Holliday, Jim Conway, Dan Stearns, Perry Werden and Jimmy Macullar, which won the league by 15½ games. [65] On April 10, 1887, the Golden Giants also won an exhibition game from the defending World Series champions, the St. Louis Browns (the present-day Cardinals), by a score of 12–9. However, Topeka was unable to support the team, and it disbanded after one year.

The first night game in the history of professional baseball was played in Independence on April 28, 1930 when the Muscogee (Oklahoma) Indians beat the Independence Producers 13 to 3 in a minor league game sanctioned by the Western League of the Western Baseball Association with 1,500 fans attending the game. The permanent lighting system was first used for an exhibition game on April 17, 1930 between the Independence Producers and House of David semi-professional baseball team of Benton Harbor, Michigan with the Independence team winning with a score of 9 to 1 before a crowd of 1,700 spectators. [66]

College

The governing body for intercollegiate sports in the United States, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), was headquartered in Johnson County, Kansas from 1952 until moving to Indianapolis in 1999. [67] [68]

NCAA Division I schools
Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, home of the Kansas Jayhawks

While there are no franchises of the four major professional sports within the state, many Kansans are fans of the state's major college sports teams, especially the Jayhawks of the University of Kansas (KU), and the Wildcats of Kansas State University (KSU or "K-State"). The teams are rivals in the Big 12 Conference.

Both KU and K-State have tradition-rich programs in men's basketball. The Jayhawks are a perennial national power, ranking second in all-time victories among NCAA programs, behind Kentucky. The Jayhawks have won five national titles, including NCAA tournament championships in 1952, 1988, and 2008. They also were retroactively awarded national championships by the Helms Foundation for 1922 and 1923. K-State also had a long stretch of success on the hardwood, lasting from the 1940s to the 1980s, making four Final Fours during that stretch. In 1988, KU and K-State met in the Elite Eight, KU taking the game 71–58. After a 12-year absence, the Wildcats returned to the NCAA tournament in 2008, and advanced to the Elite Eight in 2010 and 2018. KU is fifth all-time with 15 Final Four appearances, while K-State's four appearances are tied for 17th.

Conversely, success on the gridiron has been less frequent for both KSU and KU. However, there have been recent breakthroughs for both schools' football teams. The Jayhawks won the Orange Bowl for the first time in three tries in 2008, capping a 12–1 season, the best in school history. And when Bill Snyder arrived to coach at K-State in 1989, he turned the Wildcats from one of the worst college football programs in America into a national force for most of the 1990s and early 2000s. The team won the Fiesta Bowl in 1997, achieved an undefeated (11–0) regular season and No. 1 ranking in 1998, and took the Big 12 Conference championship in 2003. After three seasons in which K-State football languished, Snyder came out of retirement in 2009 and guided them to the top of the college football ranks again, finishing second in the Big 12 in 2011 and earning a berth in the Cotton Bowl, and winning the Big 12 again in 2012.

Wichita State University, which also fields teams (called the Shockers) in Division I of the NCAA, is best known for its baseball and basketball programs. In baseball, the Shockers won the College World Series in 1989. In men's basketball, they appeared in the Final Four in 1965 and 2013, and entered the 2014 NCAA tournament unbeaten. The school also fielded a football team from 1897 to 1986. The Shocker football team is tragically known for a plane crash in 1970 that killed 31 people, including 14 of the team's players.

NCAA Division II schools

Notable success has also been achieved by the state's smaller schools in football. Pittsburg State University, a NCAA Division II participant, has claimed four national titles in football, two in the NAIA and most recently the 2011 NCAA Division II national title. Pittsburg State became the winningest NCAA Division II football program in 1995. PSU passed Hillsdale College at the top of the all-time victories list in the 1995 season on its march to the national runner-up finish. The Gorillas, in 96 seasons of intercollegiate competition, have accumulated 579 victories – posting a 579–301–48 overall mark.

Washburn University, in Topeka, won the NAIA Men's Basketball Championship in 1987. The Fort Hays State University men won the 1996 NCAA Division II title with a 34–0 record, and the Washburn women won the 2005 NCAA Division II crown. St. Benedict's College (now Benedictine College), in Atchison, won the 1954 and 1967 Men's NAIA Basketball Championships.

The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference has its roots as one of the oldest college sport conferences in existence and participates in the NAIA and all ten member schools are in the state of Kansas. Other smaller school conference that have some members in Kansas are the Heartland Conference, the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference, the Midwest Christian College Conference, and the Heart of America Athletic Conference. Many junior colleges also have active athletic programs.

Emporia State's women's basketball team, under head coach Brandon Schneider, who is now serving as the women's basketball coach at the University of Kansas, has seen success as well. In 2010 the team won the NCAA Division II National Championship. Emporia State and Washburn in Topeka share a heated rivalry in all sports, mostly due to the close proximity of both cities.

Junior Colleges

The Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference has been heralded as one of the best conferences in all of NJCAA football, with Garden City Community College, Independence Community College, and Butler County Community College all consistently in contention for national championships.

High school

The Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) is the organization which oversees interscholastic competition in the state of Kansas at the high school level. It oversees both athletic and non-athletic competition, and sponsors championships in several sports and activities. The association is perhaps best known for devising the overtime system now used for almost all football games below the professional level (which has also been adopted at all levels of Canadian football).

Michigan

Michigan's major-league sports teams include: Detroit Tigers baseball team, Detroit Lions football team, Detroit Red Wings ice hockey team, and the Detroit Pistons men's basketball team. All of Michigan's major league teams play in the Metro Detroit area.

The Pistons played at Detroit's Cobo Arena until 1978 and at the Pontiac Silverdome until 1988 when they moved into The Palace of Auburn Hills. In 2017, the team moved to the newly built Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. The Detroit Lions played at Tiger Stadium in Detroit until 1974, then moved to the Pontiac Silverdome where they played for 27 years between 1975 and 2002 before moving to Ford Field in Detroit in 2002. The Detroit Tigers played at Tiger Stadium (formerly known as Navin Field and Briggs Stadium) from 1912 to 1999. In 2000 they moved to Comerica Park. The Red Wings played at Olympia Stadium before moving to Joe Louis Arena in 1979. They later moved to Little Caesars Arena to join the Pistons as tenants in 2017. Professional hockey got its start in Houghton, [69] when the Portage Lakers were formed.[ citation needed]

The Michigan International Speedway is the site of NASCAR races and Detroit was formerly the site of a Formula One World Championship Grand Prix race. From 1959 to 1961, Detroit Dragway hosted the NHRA's U.S. Nationals. [70] Michigan is home to one of the major canoeing marathons: the 120-mile (190 km) Au Sable River Canoe Marathon. The Port Huron to Mackinac Boat Race is also a favorite.

Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams was born in Saginaw. The 2011 World Champion for Women's Artistic Gymnastics, Jordyn Wieber is from DeWitt. Wieber was also a member of the gold medal winning team at the London Olympics in 2012.

Collegiate sports in Michigan are popular in addition to professional sports. The state's two largest athletic programs are the Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans, which play in the NCAA Big Ten Conference. Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, home to the Michigan Wolverines football team, is the largest stadium in the Western Hemisphere and the second-largest stadium worldwide behind Rungrado May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association features around 300,000 participants.

Minnesota

Minnesota has professional men's teams in all major sports.

The Minnesota Vikings have played in the National Football League since their admission as an expansion franchise in 1961. They played in Metropolitan Stadium from 1961 through 1981 and in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome from 1982 until its demolition after the 2013 season for the construction of the team's new home, U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings' current stadium hosted Super Bowl LII in February, 2018. Super Bowl XXVI was played in the Metrodome. The Vikings have advanced to the Super Bowl Super Bowl IV, Super Bowl VIII, Super Bowl IX, and Super Bowl XI, losing all four games to their AFC/AFL opponent

The Minnesota Twins have played in the Major League Baseball in the Twin Cities starting in 1961. The Twins began play as the original Washington Senators, relocating to Minnesota in 1961. The Twins won the 1987 and 1991 World Series in seven game matches where the home team was victorious in all games . The team has played at Target Field since 2010. The Twins also advanced to the 1965 World Series, where they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.

The Minneapolis Lakers of the National Basketball Association played in the Minneapolis Auditorium from 1947 to 1960, after which they relocated to Los Angeles. The Minnesota Timberwolves joined the NBA in 1989, and play in the Target Center since 1990.

The National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild play in St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center, and reached 300 consecutive sold-out games on January 16, 2008. [71] Previously, the Minnesota North Stars competed in NHL from 1967 to 1993, which played the 1981 and 1991 Stanley Cup Finals.

Minnesota United FC joined Major League Soccer as an expansion team in 2017, having played in the lower-division North American Soccer League from 2010 to 2016. The team plays at TCF Bank Stadium, but will open Allianz Field in St. Paul in 2019. [72]

Minnesota also has minor-league professional sports teams. The Minnesota Swarm of the National Lacrosse League played at the Xcel Energy Center until the team moved to Georgia in 2015. Minor league baseball is represented by major league-sponsored teams and independent teams such as the St. Paul Saints, who play at CHS Field in St. Paul.

Professional women's sports include the Minnesota Lynx of the Women's National Basketball Association, winners of the 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 WNBA Championships, the Minnesota Lightning of the United Soccer Leagues W-League, the Minnesota Vixen of the Independent Women's Football League, the Minnesota Valkyrie of the Legends Football League, and the Minnesota Whitecaps of the National Women's Hockey League.

The Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I school competing in the Big Ten Conference. Four additional schools in the state compete in NCAA Division I ice hockey: the University of Minnesota Duluth; Minnesota State University, Mankato; St. Cloud State University and Bemidji State University. There are nine NCAA Division II colleges in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, and twenty NCAA Division III colleges in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Upper Midwest Athletic Conference. [73] [74]

Minneapolis has hosted the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship in 1951, 1992 and 2001 and will do so again in 2019.

The Hazeltine National Golf Club has hosted the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open and PGA Championship. The course also hosted the Ryder Cup in the fall of 2016, when it became one of two courses in the U.S. to host all major golf competitions. The Ryder Cup is scheduled to return in 2028. [75]

Interlachen Country Club has hosted the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, and Solheim Cup.

Winter Olympic Games medallists from the state include twelve of the twenty members of the gold medal 1980 ice hockey team (coached by Minnesota native Herb Brooks) and the bronze medallist U.S. men's curling team in the 2006 Winter Olympics. Swimmer Tom Malchow won an Olympic gold medal in the 2000 Summer games and a silver medal in 1996.

Grandma's Marathon is run every summer along the scenic North Shore of Lake Superior, and the Twin Cities Marathon winds around lakes and the Mississippi River during the peak of the fall color season. Farther north, Eveleth is the location of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

Missouri

Missouri hosted the 1904 Summer Olympics at St. Louis, the first time the games were hosted in the United States.

Missouri has four major sports teams: the Royals and Cardinals of MLB, the Chiefs of the NFL, and the Blues of the NHL.

Professional major league teams

Former professional major league teams

Nebraska

Football game at the University of Nebraska on September 6, 2008.

Professional sports

Team Home First game Sport League
Nebraska Stampede Ralston April 10, 2010 Football (Women's) Women's Football Alliance
Lincoln Saltdogs Lincoln May 2001 Baseball (independent) American Association
Nebraska Danger Grand Island March 7, 2011 Football (indoor) Indoor Football League
Omaha Beef Omaha May 2000 Football (indoor) Champions Indoor Football
Omaha Storm Chasers Omaha 1969 Baseball (minor league) ( AAA) Pacific Coast League
Omaha Heart Ralston April 13, 2013 Football (lingerie) Legends Football League
Bugeaters FC Lincoln April 28, 2018 Soccer United Premier Soccer League

Junior-level sports

Club Sport League Founded
Lincoln Stars Ice hockey United States Hockey League 1996
Omaha Lancers Ice hockey United States Hockey League 1986
Tri-City Storm Ice hockey United States Hockey League 2006
No Coast Derby Girls Roller derby Women's Flat Track Derby Association 2005
Omaha Rollergirls Roller derby Women's Flat Track Derby Association 2006

College sports

Nebraska is currently home to 7 member schools of the NCAA, 8 of the NAIA, 7 of the NJCAA, one of the NCCAA, and one independent school.

The College World Series has been held in Omaha since 1950. It was held at Rosenblatt Stadium from 1950 through 2010, and at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha since 2011.

North Dakota

Bismarck was home of the Dakota Wizards of the NBA Development League, and currently hosts the Bismarck Bucks of the Champions Indoor Football.

NCAA has two NCAA Division I teams, the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and North Dakota State Bison, and two Division II teams, the Mary Marauders and Minot State Beavers.

The North Dakota High School Activities Association features over 25,000 participants.

Outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing are hobbies for many North Dakotans. Ice fishing, skiing, and snowmobiling are also popular during the winter months. Residents of North Dakota may own or visit a cabin along a lake. Popular sport fish include walleye, perch, and northern pike. [76]

The western terminus of the North Country National Scenic Trail is on Lake Sakakawea, where it abuts the Lewis and Clark Trail.

Ohio

Professional sports teams

Ohio is home to major professional sports teams in baseball, basketball, football, hockey, lacrosse and soccer. The state's major professional sporting teams include: Cincinnati Reds (Major League Baseball), [77] Ohio Machine (Major League Lacrosse), Cleveland Indians (Major League Baseball), [78] Cincinnati Bengals (National Football League), [79] Cleveland Browns (National Football League), [79] Cleveland Cavaliers (National Basketball Association), [80] Columbus Blue Jackets (National Hockey League), [81] and the Columbus Crew (Major League Soccer). [82]

Ohio played a central role in the development of both Major League Baseball and the National Football League. Baseball's first fully professional team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings of 1869, were organized in Ohio. [83] An informal early-20th-century American football association, the Ohio League, was the direct predecessor of the NFL, although neither of Ohio's modern NFL franchises trace their roots to an Ohio League club. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton.

On a smaller scale, Ohio hosts minor league baseball, arena football, indoor football, mid-level hockey, and lower division soccer.

Individual sports

The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course has hosted several auto racing championships, including CART World Series, IndyCar Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, Can-Am, Formula 5000, IMSA GT Championship, American Le Mans Series and Rolex Sports Car Series. The Grand Prix of Cleveland also hosted CART races from 1982 to 2007. The Eldora Speedway is a major dirt oval that hosts NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, World of Outlaws Sprint Cars and USAC Silver Crown Series races.

Ohio hosts two PGA Tour events, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and Memorial Tournament. The Cincinnati Masters is an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament.

College sports

Ohio has eight NCAA Division I FBS college football teams, divided among three different conferences. It has also experienced considerable success in the secondary and tertiary tiers of college football divisions.

In Division I-A, representing the Big Ten, the Ohio State Buckeyes football team ranks 5th among all-time winningest programs,[ citation needed] with seven national championships and seven Heisman Trophy winners. Their biggest rivals are the Michigan Wolverines, whom they traditionally play each year as the last game of their regular season schedule.

Ohio has six teams represented in the Mid-American Conference: the University of Akron, Bowling Green, Kent State, Miami University, Ohio University and the University of Toledo. The MAC headquarters are in Cleveland. The University of Cincinnati Bearcats represent Ohio in the American Athletic Conference.

South Dakota

Because of its low population, South Dakota does not host any major league professional sports franchises. The state has minor league and independent league teams, all of which play in Sioux Falls or Rapid City. Sioux Falls is home to four teams: the Sioux Falls Canaries (baseball), the Sioux Falls Skyforce (basketball), the Sioux Falls Stampede ( hockey), and the Sioux Falls Storm ( indoor American football). [84] The Canaries play in the American Association, and their home field is Sioux Falls Stadium. The Skyforce play in the NBA G League, and are owned by the NBA's Miami Heat. They play at the Sanford Pentagon. The Stampede and Storm share the Denny Sanford Premier Center. The Stampede play in the USHL, and the Storm play in the IFL. Rapid City has a hockey team named the Rapid City Rush that plays in the ECHL. The Rush began their inaugural season in 2008 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. [85]

Universities in South Dakota host a variety of sports programs. For many years, South Dakota was one of the only states in the country without a NCAA Division I football or basketball team. However, several years ago SDSU decided to move their teams from Division II to Division I, [86] a move followed by the University of South Dakota. [87] Other universities in the state compete at the NCAA's Division II or III levels, or in the NAIA.

Famous South Dakota athletes include Billy Mills, Mike Miller, Mark Ellis, Becky Hammon, Brock Lesnar, Chad Greenway, and Adam Vinatieri. Mills is from the town of Pine Ridge and competed at the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, becoming the only American to win a gold medal in the 10,000-meter event. [88] Miller, of Mitchell, is a two-time NBA champion who played college basketball at the University of Florida, leading them to the 2000 NCAA Championship game his sophomore year, and won the 2001 NBA rookie of the year award. Ellis, of Rapid City, played for the University of Florida and four MLB teams before retiring in 2015. [89] [90] Hammon, of Rapid City, played for the WNBA's New York Liberty and San Antonio Silver Stars before becoming an assistant coach for the NBA's San Antonio Spurs in 2014. [91] [92] Lesnar, of Webster, is a former heavy-weight champion in the UFC and WWE. Vinatieri is an NFL placekicker who grew up in Rapid City and attended SDSU. [93]

Wisconsin

Wisconsin is represented by major league teams in three sports: football, baseball, and basketball. Lambeau Field, located in Green Bay, Wisconsin, is home to the National Football League's Green Bay Packers. The Packers have been part of the NFL since the league's second season in 1921 and hold the record for the most NFL titles, earning the city of Green Bay the nickname "Titletown USA". The Packers are the smallest city franchise in the NFL and the only one owned by shareholders statewide. The franchise was founded by "Curly" Lambeau who played and coached for them. The Green Bay Packers are one of the most successful small-market professional sports franchises in the world and have won 13 NFL championships, including the first two AFL-NFL Championship games ( Super Bowls I and II), Super Bowl XXXI and Super Bowl XLV. The state's support of the team is evidenced by the 81,000-person waiting list for season tickets to Lambeau Field. [94]

Miller Park is the home stadium of Major League Baseball's Milwaukee Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers, the state's only major league baseball team, play in Miller Park in Milwaukee, the successor to Milwaukee County Stadium since 2001. In 1982, the Brewers won the American League Championship, marking their most successful season. The team switched from the American League to the National League starting with the 1998 season. Before the Brewers, Milwaukee had two prior Major League teams. The first team, also called the Brewers, played only one season in the newly founded American League in 1901 before moving to St. Louis and becoming the Browns, who are now the Baltimore Orioles. Milwaukee was also the home of the Braves franchise when they moved from Boston from 1953 to 1965, winning the World Series in 1957 and the National League pennant in 1958, before they moved to Atlanta. [95]

The Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association play home games at the Fiserv Forum. The Bucks won the NBA Championship in 1971. [96]

The state also has minor league teams in hockey ( Milwaukee Admirals) and baseball (the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, based in Appleton and the Beloit Snappers of the Class A minor leagues). Wisconsin is also home to the Madison Mallards, the La Crosse Loggers, the Lakeshore Chinooks, the Eau Claire Express, the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders, the Green Bay Booyah, the Kenosha Kingfish, the Wisconsin Woodchucks, and the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters of the Northwoods League, a collegiate all-star summer league. In addition to the Packers, Green Bay is also the home to an indoor football team, the Green Bay Blizzard of the IFL. The state is home to the six-time MSL Champion Milwaukee Wave. [97]

Wisconsin also has many college sports programs, including the Wisconsin Badgers, of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Panthers of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. The Wisconsin Badgers football former head coach Barry Alvarez led the Badgers to three Rose Bowl championships, including back-to-back victories in 1999 and 2000. The Badger men's basketball team won the national title in 1941 and made trips to college basketball's Final Four in 2000, 2014, and 2015. The Badgers claimed a historic dual championship in 2006 when both the women's and men's hockey teams won national titles.

The Marquette Golden Eagles of the Big East Conference, the state's other major collegiate program, is known for its men's basketball team, which, under the direction of Al McGuire, won the NCAA National Championship in 1977. The team returned to the Final Four in 2003.

Many other schools in the University of Wisconsin system compete in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference at the Division III level. The conference is one of the most successful in the nation, claiming 107 NCAA national championships in 15 different sports as of March 30, 2015. [98]

The Semi-Professional Northern Elite Football League consists of many teams from Wisconsin. The league is made up of former professional, collegiate, and high school players. Teams from Wisconsin include: The Green Bay Gladiators from Green Bay, The Fox Valley Force in Appleton, The Kimberly Storm in Kimberly, The Central Wisconsin Spartans in Wausau, The Eau Claire Crush and the Chippewa Valley Predators from Eau Claire, and the Lake Superior Rage from Superior. The league also has teams in Michigan and Minnesota. Teams play from May until August.

Wisconsin is home to the world's oldest operational racetrack. The Milwaukee Mile, located in Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis, Wisconsin, held races there that considerably predate the Indy 500. [99]

Wisconsin is home to the nation's oldest operating velodrome in Kenosha where races have been held every year since 1927. [100]

Sheboygan is home to Whistling Straits golf club which has hosted PGA Championships in 2004, 2010 and 2015 and will be home to the Ryder Cup golf competition between USA and Europe in 2020. [101] The Greater Milwaukee Open, later named the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee, was a PGA Tour tournament from 1968 to 2009 held annually in Brown Deer. In 2017, Erin Hills, a golf course in Erin, Wisconsin, approximately 30 miles northwest of Milwaukee, hosted the U.S. Open. [102]


South

American football

Alabama plays Texas in American football for the 2010 BCS National Championship Game

American football, especially at the college and high school level, is by far the most popular team sport in most areas of the Southern United States.

The region is home to numerous decorated and historic college football programs, particularly in the Southeastern Conference (known as the "SEC"), Atlantic Coast Conference (known as the "ACC"), and the Big 12 Conference. The SEC, consisting entirely of teams based in Southern states, is widely considered to be the strongest league in contemporary college football and includes the Alabama Crimson Tide, the program with the most national championships in the sport's history. The sport is also highly competitive and has a spectator following at the high school level, particularly in rural areas where high school football games often serve as prominent community gatherings.

Though not as popular on a wider basis as the collegiate game, professional football also has a growing tradition in the Southern United States. Before league expansion began in the 1960s, the only established professional team based in the South was the Washington Redskins, who still retain a large following in many pockets of the region. Later on, the merger-era National Football League began to expand into the football-crazed Deep South in the 1960s with franchises like the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers, Miami Dolphins, and most prominently the Dallas Cowboys, who overtook Washington as the region's most popular team and eventually became widely considered the most popular team in the United States. In later decades, NFL expansion into Southern states continued, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Carolina Panthers added to the league, while the Houston Oilers were replaced by the Houston Texans after the Oilers relocated to Nashville to become the Tennessee Titans.

Rank Team Sport League Attendance
(avg/game) [103]
1 Texas A&M Aggies Football NCAA ( SEC) 105,123
2 LSU Tigers Football NCAA (SEC) 101,723
3 Alabama Crimson Tide Football NCAA (SEC) 101,534
4 Tennessee Volunteers Football NCAA (SEC) 99,754
5 Texas Longhorns Football NCAA ( Big 12) 94,103
6 Georgia Bulldogs Football NCAA (SEC) 92,746
7 Dallas Cowboys Football NFL 90,069
8 Auburn Tigers Football NCAA (SEC) 87,451
9 Florida Gators Football NCAA (SEC) 85,834
10 Oklahoma Sooners Football NCAA (Big 12) 85,162
11 Florida State Seminoles Football NCAA ( ACC) 82,211
12 Clemson Tigers Football NCAA (ACC) 81,752
13 South Carolina Gamecocks Football NCAA (SEC) 81,381
14 Arkansas Razorbacks Football NCAA (SEC) 66,521
15 Carolina Panthers Football NFL 74,056
16 Ole Miss Rebels Football NCAA (SEC) 61,547
17 Virginia Tech Hokies Football NCAA (ACC) 61,157
18 Mississippi State Bulldogs Football NCAA (SEC) 61,127
19 West Virginia Mountaineers Football NCAA (Big 12) 60,000
20 Texas Tech Red Raiders Football NCAA (Big 12) 58,934
21 Kentucky Wildcats Football NCAA (SEC) 57,572

Baseball

Houston vs Texas face-off during the Lone Star Series in the American League West division of Major League Baseball

Baseball has been played in the Southern United States since at least the years leading up to the American Civil War. It was traditionally more popular than American football until the 1980s, and still accounts for the largest annual attendance amongst sports played in the South. The first mention of a baseball team in Houston was on April 11, 1861. [104] [105] 19th century and early 20th century games were common, especially once the professional leagues such as the Texas League, the Dixie League, and the Southern League were organized.

The short-lived Louisville Colonels were a part of the early National League and American Association, but ceased to exist in 1899. The first Southern Major League Baseball team after the Colonels appeared in 1962 when the Houston Colt .45s (known today as the Houston Astros) were enfranchised. Later, the Atlanta Braves came in 1966, followed by the Texas Rangers in 1972, and finally the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays in the 1990s.

College baseball appears to be more well attended in the Southern U.S. than elsewhere, as teams like Florida State, Arkansas, LSU, Virginia, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, and Texas are commonly at the top of the NCAA's attendance. [106] The South generally produces very successful collegiate baseball teams as well, with Virginia, Vanderbilt, LSU, and South Carolina winning recent College World Series Titles.

The following is a list of best-attended baseball teams in the Southern U.S.:

Rank Team League 2014 overall
annual attendance [107]
1 Texas Rangers American League 2,718,733
2 Baltimore Orioles American League 2,464,473
3 Atlanta Braves National League 2,354,305
4 Houston Astros American League 1,751,829
5 Miami Marlins National League 1,732,283

Auto racing

The Southern states are commonly associated with stock car racing and its most prominent competition NASCAR, which is based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The sport was developed in the Deep South in the early 20th century, with stock car racing's historic mecca being Daytona Beach, Florida, where cars initially raced on the wide, flat beachfront before the construction of Daytona International Speedway. Though the sport has attained a following throughout the United States, a majority of NASCAR races continue to take place at Southern tracks.

Basketball

Basketball is very popular throughout the Southern United States as both a recreational and spectator sport, particularly in the states of North Carolina and Kentucky which are home to several historically prominent college basketball programs. Prominent NBA teams based in the South include the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets, Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, and the Miami Heat.

Golf

Golf is a popular recreational sport in most areas of the South, with the region's warm climate allowing it to host many professional tournaments and numerous destination golf resorts, particularly in the state of Florida. The region is home to The Masters, an elite invitational competition played at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, which has become one of the professional game's most important tournaments.

Soccer

In recent decades association football, known in the South as in the rest of the United States as "soccer", has become a popular sport at youth and collegiate levels throughout the region. The game has been historically widespread at the college level in the Atlantic coast states of Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas, which contain many of the nation's most successful college soccer programs.

The establishment of Major League Soccer has led to professional soccer clubs in the Southern cities including FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, San Antonio FC, Orlando City, and Atlanta United. The current United States third division soccer league, the United Soccer League, was initially geographically based in the coastal Southeast around clubs in Charleston, Richmond, Charlotte, Wilmington, Raleigh, Virginia Beach, and Atlanta.

Alabama

College sports

College football is extremely popular in Alabama, particularly the University of Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn University Tigers, rivals in the Southeastern Conference. In the 2013 season, Alabama averaged over 100,000 fans per game and Auburn averaged over 80,000 fans, both numbers among the top 20 in the nation in average attendance. [108] Bryant–Denny Stadium is the home of the Alabama football team, and has a seating capacity of 101,821, [109] and is the fifth largest stadium in America. [110] Jordan-Hare Stadium is the home field of the Auburn football team and seats up to 87,451. [111]

Legion Field is home for the UAB Blazers football program and the Birmingham Bowl. It seats 71,594. [112] Ladd–Peebles Stadium in Mobile is the home of the University of South Alabama football team, and serves as the home of the NCAA Senior Bowl, Dollar General Bowl (formerly GoDaddy.com Bowl), and Alabama-Mississippi All Star Classic; the stadium seats 40,646. [113] In 2009, Bryant–Denny Stadium and Jordan-Hare Stadium became the homes of the Alabama High School Athletic Association state football championship games, after previously being held at Legion Field in Birmingham. [114]

Professional sports

Regions Field in Birmingham

Alabama has several professional and semi-professional sports teams, including three minor league baseball teams.

Club City Sport League Venue
Birmingham Barons Birmingham Baseball Southern League (AA) Regions Field
Huntsville Havoc Huntsville Ice hockey Southern Professional Hockey League Von Braun Center
Mobile BayBears Mobile Baseball Southern League (AA) Hank Aaron Stadium
Montgomery Biscuits Montgomery Baseball Southern League (AA) Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium
Birmingham Hammers Birmingham Soccer National Premier Soccer League Sicard Hollow Athletic Complex
Tennessee Valley Tigers Huntsville Football Independent Women's Football League Milton Frank Stadium

The Talladega Superspeedway motorsports complex hosts a series of NASCAR events. It has a seating capacity of 143,000 and is the thirteenth largest stadium in the world and sixth largest stadium in America. Also, the Barber Motorsports Park has hosted IndyCar Series and Rolex Sports Car Series races.

The ATP Birmingham was a World Championship Tennis tournament held from 1973 to 1980.

Alabama has hosted several professional golf tournaments, such as the 1984 and 1990 PGA Championship at Shoal Creek, the Barbasol Championship ( PGA Tour), the Mobile LPGA Tournament of Champions, Airbus LPGA Classic, and Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic ( LPGA Tour), and The Tradition ( Champions Tour).

Arkansas

The flooded forested bottomlands of east Arkansas attract wintering waterfowl ( Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge).

Sports have become an integral part of the culture of Arkansas, and her residents enjoy participating in and spectating various events throughout the year.

Team sports and especially collegiate football have been important to Arkansans. College football in Arkansas began from humble beginnings. The University of Arkansas first fielded a team in 1894 when football was a very dangerous game. Recent studies of the damage to team members from the concussions common in football make it clear that the danger persists.

" Calling the Hogs" is a cheer that shows support for the Razorbacks, one of the two NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams in the state. High school football also began to grow in Arkansas in the early 20th century. Over the years, many Arkansans have looked to the Razorbacks football team as the public image of the state. Following the Little Rock Nine integration crisis at Little Rock Central High School, Arkansans looked to the successful Razorback teams in the following years to repair the state's reputation. Although the University of Arkansas is based in Fayetteville, the Razorbacks have always played at least one game per season at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock in an effort to keep fan support in central and south Arkansas.

Arkansas State University joined the University of Arkansas in FBS (then known as Division I-A) in 1992 after playing in lower divisions for nearly two decades. The two schools have never played each other, due to the University of Arkansas's policy of not playing intrastate games. [115] Two other campuses of the University of Arkansas System are Division I members. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, a league whose members all play football in the second-level Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is a member of the FBS Sun Belt Conference, but is one of two conference schools that has no football program. The state's other Division I member is the University of Central Arkansas, which is a full member (including football) of the FCS Southland Conference.

Seven of Arkansas's smaller colleges play in NCAA Division II, with six in the Great American Conference and one in the Heartland Conference. Two other small Arkansas colleges compete in NCAA Division III, in which athletic scholarships are prohibited.

Baseball runs deep in Arkansas and has been popular before the state hosted Major League Baseball (MLB) spring training in Hot Springs from 1886 to the 1920s. Two minor league teams are based in the state. The Arkansas Travelers play at Dickey–Stephens Park in North Little Rock, and the Northwest Arkansas Naturals play in Arvest Ballpark in Springdale. Both teams compete in the Texas League.

Related to the state's frontier past, hunting continues in the state. The state created the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in 1915 to regulate hunting and enforce those regulations. [116] Today a significant portion of Arkansas's population participates in hunting duck in the Mississippi flyway and deer across the state. [117] Millions of acres of public land are available for both bow and modern gun hunters. [117]

Fishing has always been popular in Arkansas, and the sport and the state have benefited from the creation of reservoirs across the state. Following the completion of Norfork Dam, the Norfork Tailwater and the White River have become a destination for trout fishers. Several smaller retirement communities such as Bull Shoals, Hot Springs Village, and Fairfield Bay have flourished due to their position on a fishing lake. The Buffalo National River has been preserved in its natural state by the National Park Service and is frequented by fly fishers annually.

Florida

El Clásico being played at the Hard Rock Stadium in 2017
An aerial shot of the BB&T Center in Sunrise
Daytona International Speedway is home to various auto racing events.

Florida has three NFL teams, two MLB teams, two NBA teams, two NHL teams, and one MLS team. Florida gained its first permanent major-league professional sports team in 1966 when the American Football League added the Miami Dolphins. The state of Florida has given professional sports franchises some subsidies in the form of tax breaks since 1991. [118]

About half of all Major League Baseball teams conduct spring training in the state, with teams informally organized into the " Grapefruit League". Throughout MLB history, other teams have held spring training in Florida.

NASCAR (headquartered in Daytona Beach) begins all three of its major auto racing series in Florida at Daytona International Speedway in February, featuring the Daytona 500, and ends all three Series in November at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Daytona also has the Coke Zero Sugar 400 NASCAR race weekend around Independence Day in July. The 24 Hours of Daytona is one of the world's most prestigious endurance auto races. The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and Grand Prix of Miami have held IndyCar races as well.

Florida is a major golf hub. The PGA of America is headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, the PGA Tour is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, and the LPGA is headquartered in Daytona Beach. The Players Championship, WGC-Cadillac Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational, Honda Classic and Valspar Championship are PGA Tour rounds.

Florida has teams in all of the major league sports — National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, and Major League Socce Florida's most recent major-league team, Orlando City, began play in MLS in 2015. [119]

The Miami Masters is an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and WTA Premier tennis event, whereas the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships is an ATP World Tour 250 event.

Minor league baseball, football, basketball, ice hockey, soccer and indoor football teams are based in Florida. Three of the Arena Football League's teams are in Florida. [120] Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is the largest football stadium in Florida, the 12th largest stadium in American college football, and the 18th largest stadium in the world, as measured by its official seating capacity of 88,548 – though, it has often held over 90,000 for Florida's home football games.

Florida's universities have a number of collegiate sport programs, especially the Florida State Seminoles and Miami Hurricanes of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and the Florida Gators of the Southeastern Conference. [121]

Florida major league professional sports teams
Team League Venue Location Championships
Miami Dolphins National Football League Hard Rock Stadium Miami Gardens 2 ( 1972, 1973)
Miami Heat National Basketball Association American Airlines Arena Miami 3 ( 2006, 2012, 2013)
Miami Marlins Major League Baseball Marlins Park Miami 2 ( 1997, 2003)
Florida Panthers National Hockey League BB&T Center Sunrise 0
Tampa Bay Buccaneers National Football League Raymond James Stadium Tampa 1 ( 2003)
Tampa Bay Rays Major League Baseball Tropicana Field St. Petersburg 0
Tampa Bay Lightning National Hockey League Amalie Arena Tampa 1 ( 2004)
Orlando Magic National Basketball Association Amway Center Orlando 0
Orlando City SC Major League Soccer Orlando City Stadium Orlando 0
Jacksonville Jaguars National Football League EverBank Field Jacksonville 0

Georgia

Kickoff at Sanford Stadium of the Georgia-South Carolina college football game on September 8, 2007

Sports in Georgia include professional teams in nearly all major sports, Olympic Games contenders and medalists, collegiate teams in major and small-school conferences and associations, and active amateur teams and individual sports. The state of Georgia has teams in four major professional leagues — the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball, the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League, the Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association, and Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer.

The Georgia Bulldogs ( Southeastern Conference), Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets ( Atlantic Coast Conference), Georgia State Panthers and Georgia Southern Eagles ( Sun Belt Conference) are Georgia's NCAA Division I FBS football teams, having won multiple national championships between them. The Georgia Bulldogs and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have a historical rivalry in college football known as Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate, and the Georgia State Panthers and the Georgia Southern Eagles have recently developed their own rivalry.

The 1996 Summer Olympics took place in Atlanta. The stadium that was built to host various Olympic events was converted to Turner Field, the home of the Atlanta Braves through the 2016 season.

The Masters golf tournament, the first of the PGA tour's four "majors", is held annually the second weekend of April at the Augusta National Golf Club.

The Atlanta Motor Speedway hosts the Dixie 500 NASCAR Cup Series stock car race and Road Atlanta the Petit Le Mans endurance sports car race.

Atlanta's Georgia Dome hosted Super Bowl XXVIII in 1994 and Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000. The Georgia Dome hosted the NCAA Final Four Men's Basketball National Championship in 2002, 2007, and 2013. [122] It hosted WWE's WrestleMania XXVII in 2011, an event which set an attendance record of 71,617. The dome was also the venue of the annual Chick-fil-A Bowl post-season college football games. Since 2017, they have been held at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium along with the FIRST World Championships.

Professional baseball's Ty Cobb was the first player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was from Narrows and was nicknamed the "Georgia Peach." [123]

Kentucky

Kentucky's Churchill Downs hosts the Kentucky Derby

Kentucky is the home of several sports teams such as Minor League Baseball's Triple-A Louisville Bats and Class A Lexington Legends and the Class A Bowling Green Hot Rods. They are also home to the Frontier Leagues Florence Freedom and several teams in the MCFL. The Lexington Horsemen and Louisville Fire of the now-defunct af2 had been interested in making a move up to the "major league" Arena Football League, but nothing has come of those plans.

The northern part of the state lies across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, which is home to a National Football League team, the Bengals, and a Major League Baseball team, the Reds. It is not uncommon for fans to park in the city of Newport and use the Newport Southbank Pedestrian Bridge, locally known as the "Purple People Bridge", to walk to these games in Cincinnati. Also, Georgetown College in Georgetown was the location for the Bengals' summer training camp, until it was announced in 2012 that the Bengals would no longer use the facilities. [124]

As in many states, especially those without major league professional sport teams, college athletics are prominent. This is especially true of the state's three Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs, including the Kentucky Wildcats, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, and the Louisville Cardinals. The Wildcats, Hilltoppers, and Cardinals are among the most tradition-rich college men's basketball teams in the United States, combining for 11 National championships and 24 NCAA Final Fours;[ citation needed] all three are high on the lists of total all-time wins, wins per season, and average wins per season.[ citation needed]

The Kentucky Wildcats are particularly notable, leading all Division I programs in all-time wins, win percentage, NCAA tournament appearances, and being second only to UCLA in NCAA championships.[ citation needed] Louisville has also stepped onto the football scene in recent years, including winning the 2007 Orange Bowl as well as the 2013 Sugar Bowl, and also producing 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson. Western Kentucky, the 2002 national champion in Division I-AA football (now Football Championship Subdivision (FCS)), completed its transition to Division I FBS football in 2009.

The Kentucky Derby is a horse race held annually in Louisville on the first Saturday in May. The Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville has hosted several editions of the PGA Championship, Senior PGA Championship and Ryder Cup since the 1990s.

The NASCAR Cup Series has a race at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky, which is within an hour driving distance from Cincinnati, Louisville and Lexington. The race is called the Quaker State 400. The NASCAR Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series also race there, and previously the IndyCar Series.

Ohio Valley Wrestling in Louisville was the primary location for training and rehab for WWE professional wrestlers from 2000 until 2008, when WWE moved its contracted talent to Florida Championship Wrestling. OVW later became the primary developmental territory for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) from 2011 to 2013.

In 2014 Louisville City FC, a professional soccer team in the league then known as USL Pro and now as the United Soccer League, was announced. The team made its debut in 2015, playing home games at Louisville Slugger Field. In its first season, Louisville City was the official reserve side for Orlando City SC while making its debut in Major League Soccer at the same time. That arrangement ended in 2016, when Orlando City established a directly controlled reserve side in the USL.

Louisiana

Louisiana is nominally the least populous state with more than one major professional sports league franchise: the National Basketball Association's New Orleans Pelicans and the National Football League's New Orleans Saints. Louisiana has a AAA Minor League baseball team, the New Orleans Baby Cakes. The Baby Cakes are currently affiliated with the Miami Marlins.

Louisiana has 12 collegiate NCAA Division I programs, a high number given its population. The state has no NCAA Division II teams and only two NCAA Division III teams. The LSU Tigers football team has won 11 Southeastern Conference titles, six Sugar Bowls and three national championships.

Each year New Orleans plays host to the Sugar Bowl and the New Orleans Bowl college football games, and Shreveport hosts the Independence Bowl. Also, New Orleans has hosted the Super Bowl a record seven times, as well as the BCS National Championship Game, NBA All-Star Game and NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship.

The Zurich Classic of New Orleans, is a PGA Tour golf tournament held since 1938. The Rock 'n' Roll Mardi Gras Marathon and Crescent City Classic are two road running competitions held at New Orleans.

As of 2016, Louisiana was the birthplace of the most NFL players per capita for the eighth year in a row. [125]

Mississippi

Mississippi Braves outfielder Cody Johnson at Trustmark Park

North Carolina

North Carolina is home to three major league sports franchises: the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League and the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association are based in Charlotte, while the Raleigh-based Carolina Hurricanes play in the National Hockey League. The Panthers and Hurricanes are the only two major professional sports teams that have the same geographical designation while playing in different metropolitan areas. The Hurricanes are the only major professional team from North Carolina to have won a league championship, having captured the Stanley Cup in 2006. North Carolina is also home to two other top-level professional teams in less prominent sports—the Charlotte Hounds of Major League Lacrosse and the North Carolina Courage of the National Women's Soccer League.

While North Carolina has no Major League Baseball team, it does have numerous minor league baseball teams, with the highest level of play coming from the AAA-affiliated Charlotte Knights and Durham Bulls. Additionally, North Carolina has minor league teams in other team sports including soccer and ice hockey, most notably North Carolina FC and the Charlotte Checkers, both of which play in the second tier of their respective sports.

In addition to professional team sports, North Carolina has a strong affiliation with NASCAR and stock-car racing, with Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord hosting two Cup Series races every year. Charlotte also hosts the NASCAR Hall of Fame, while Concord is the home of several top-flight racing teams, including Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Stewart-Haas Racing, and Chip Ganassi Racing. Numerous other tracks around North Carolina host races from low-tier NASCAR circuits as well.

Golf is a popular summertime leisure activity, and North Carolina has hosted several important professional golf tournaments. Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst has hosted a PGA Championship, Ryder Cup, two U.S. Opens, and one U.S. Women's Open. The Wells Fargo Championship is a regular stop on the PGA Tour and is held at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, while the Wyndham Championship is played annually in Greensboro at Sedgefield Country Club.

College sports are also popular in North Carolina, with 18 schools competing at the Division I level. The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is headquartered in Greensboro, and both the ACC Football Championship Game (Charlotte) and the ACC Men's Basketball Tournament (Greensboro) were most recently held in North Carolina. College basketball in particular is very popular, buoyed by the Tobacco Road rivalries between ACC members North Carolina, Duke, North Carolina State, and Wake Forest. The ACC Championship Game and the Belk Bowl are held annually in Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium, featuring teams from the ACC and the Southeastern Conference. Additionally, the state has hosted the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four on two occasions, in Greensboro in 1974 and in Charlotte in 1994.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma has teams in basketball, football, arena football, baseball, soccer, hockey, and wrestling in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Enid, Norman, and Lawton. The Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association (NBA) is the state's only major league sports franchise. The state had a team in the Women's National Basketball Association, the Tulsa Shock, from 2010 through 2015, but the team relocated to Dallas–Fort Worth after that season [126] and became the Dallas Wings. [127]

Oklahoma has teams in several minor leagues, including Minor League Baseball at the AAA and AA levels ( Oklahoma City Dodgers and Tulsa Drillers, respectively), hockey's ECHL with the Tulsa Oilers, and a number of indoor football leagues. In the last-named sport, the state's most notable team was the Tulsa Talons, which played in the Arena Football League until 2012, when the team was moved to San Antonio. The Oklahoma Defenders replaced the Talons as Tulsa's only professional arena football team, playing the CPIFL. The Oklahoma City Blue, of the NBA G League, relocated to Oklahoma City from Tulsa in 2014, where they were formerly known as the Tulsa 66ers. Tulsa is the base for the Tulsa Revolution, which plays in the American Indoor Soccer League. [128] Enid and Lawton host professional basketball teams in the USBL and the CBA.

The Oklahoma City Thunder moved to the state in 2008, becoming its first permanent major-league team in any sport

The NBA's New Orleans Hornets became the first major league sports franchise based in Oklahoma when the team was forced to relocate to Oklahoma City's Ford Center, now known as Chesapeake Energy Arena, for two seasons following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. [129] In July 2008, the Seattle SuperSonics, relocated to Oklahoma City and began to play at the Ford Center as the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 2008–09 season, becoming the state's first permanent major league franchise. [130]

Collegiate athletics are a popular draw in the state. The state has four schools that compete at the highest level of college sports, NCAA Division I. The most prominent are the state's two members of the Big 12 Conference, [131] one of the so-called Power Five conferences of the top tier of college football, Division I FBS. The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University average well over 50,000 fans attending their football games, and Oklahoma's football program ranked 12th in attendance among American colleges in 2010, with an average of 84,738 people attending its home games. [132] The two universities meet several times each year in rivalry matches known as the Bedlam Series, which are some of the greatest sporting draws to the state. Sports Illustrated magazine rates Oklahoma and Oklahoma State among the top colleges for athletics in the nation. [133] [134]

Two private institutions in Tulsa, the University of Tulsa and Oral Roberts University; are also Division I members. Tulsa competes in FBS football and other sports in the American Athletic Conference, [135] while Oral Roberts, which does not sponsor football, [136] is a member of the Summit League. [137] In addition, 12 of the state's smaller colleges and universities compete in NCAA Division II as members of four different conferences, [138] [139] [140] [141] and eight other Oklahoma institutions participate in the NAIA, mostly within the Sooner Athletic Conference. [142]

Regular LPGA tournaments are held at Cedar Ridge Country Club in Tulsa, and major championships for the PGA or LPGA have been played at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oak Tree Country Club in Oklahoma City, and Cedar Ridge Country Club in Tulsa. [143] Rated one of the top golf courses in the nation, Southern Hills has hosted four PGA Championships, including one in 2007, and three U.S. Opens, the most recent in 2001. [144] Rodeos are popular throughout the state, and Guymon, in the state's panhandle, hosts one of the largest in the nation. [145]

Current teams

Basketball
Club Type League Venue City Area (Metro/Region)
Oklahoma City Thunder Men's Basketball NBA Chesapeake Energy Arena Oklahoma City OKC Metro
Oklahoma City Blue Men's Basketball NBA G League Cox Convention Center Oklahoma City OKC Metro
Baseball
Club Type League Venue City Area (Metro/Region)
Oklahoma City Dodgers Baseball PCL ( AAA) Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark Oklahoma City OKC Metro
Tulsa Drillers Baseball Texas League ( AA) ONEOK Field Tulsa Tulsa Metro
Hockey
Club Type League Venue City Area (Metro/Region)
Tulsa Oilers Hockey ECHL BOK Center Tulsa Tulsa Metro
Football
Club Type League Venue City Area (Metro/Region)
Oklahoma Defenders Indoor Football CPIFL Tulsa Convention Center Tulsa Tulsa Metro
Oklahoma Thunder Football GDFL Bixby High School Bixby Tulsa Metro
Oklahoma City Bounty Hunters Football GDFL Putnam City Stadium Warr Acres OKC Metro
Soccer
Club Type League Venue City Area (Metro/Region)
Tulsa Spirit Women's Soccer WPSL Union 8th Broken Arrow Tulsa Metro
Oklahoma City FC Women's Soccer WPSL Miller Stadium Oklahoma City OKC Metro
Oklahoma City Energy Men's Soccer USL Taft Stadium; Oklahoma City OKC Metro
Tulsa Roughnecks Men's Soccer USL ONEOK Field Tulsa Tulsa Metro
Tulsa Athletics Men's Soccer NPSL Drillers Stadium Tulsa Tulsa Metro
Tulsa Rugby Club Men's Rugby Division II Rugby Riverside Pitch Tulsa Tulsa Metro

South Carolina

Although no major league professional sports teams are based in South Carolina, the Carolina Panthers do have training facilities in the state and played their Inaugural Season's home games at Clemson's Memorial Stadium, however, they currently play in North Carolina. The Panthers consider themselves "The Carolinas' Team" and refrained from naming themselves after Charlotte or either of the Carolinas. The state is also home to numerous minor league professional teams. College teams represent their particular South Carolina institutions, and are the primary options for football, basketball and baseball attendance in the state. South Carolina is also a top destination for golf and water sports.

South Carolina is also home to one of NASCAR's first tracks and its first paved speedway, Darlington Raceway northwest of Florence.

Tennessee

Tennessee is home to three major professional sports franchises: the Tennessee Titans have played in the National Football League since 1997, the Memphis Grizzlies have played in the National Basketball Association since 2001, and the Nashville Predators have played in the National Hockey League since 1998. A yet-to-be-named Major League Soccer franchise is scheduled to begin play in Nashville in 2020. [146]

The state is also home to 14 teams playing in minor leagues. Nine Minor League Baseball teams call the state their home. The Memphis Redbirds and Nashville Sounds, each of the Pacific Coast League, compete at the Triple-A level, the highest before Major League Baseball. The Chattanooga Lookouts, Jackson Generals, and Tennessee Smokies play in the Double-A Southern League. The Elizabethton Twins, Greeneville Reds, Johnson City Cardinals, and Kingsport Mets are Rookie League teams of the Appalachian League.

The Knoxville Ice Bears are a minor league ice hockey team of the Southern Professional Hockey League. Nashville SC plays in the United Soccer League. Memphis 901 FC is set to join the USL in 2019. [147] Three soccer teams compete in the National Premier Soccer League: Chattanooga FC, the Knoxville Force, and Memphis City FC.

In Knoxville, the Tennessee Volunteers college team has played in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association since the conference was formed in 1932. The football team has won 13 SEC championships and 28 bowls, including four Sugar Bowls, three Cotton Bowls, an Orange Bowl and a Fiesta Bowl. Meanwhile, the men's basketball team has won four SEC championships and reached the NCAA Elite Eight in 2010. In addition, the women's basketball team has won a host of SEC regular-season and tournament titles along with 8 national titles.

In Nashville, the Vanderbilt Commodores are also charter members of the SEC. The Tennessee–Vanderbilt football rivalry began in 1892, having since played over 100 times. In June 2014, the Vanderbilt Commodores baseball team won its first men's national championship by winning the 2014 College World Series.

The state is home to 10 other NCAA Division I programs. Two of these participate in the top level of college football, the Football Bowl Subdivision. The Memphis Tigers are members of the American Athletic Conference, and the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders from Murfreesboro play in Conference USA. In addition to the Commodores, Nashville is also home to the Belmont Bruins and Tennessee State Tigers, both members of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC), and the Lipscomb Bisons, members of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Tennessee State plays football in Division I's second level, the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), while Belmont and Lipscomb do not have football teams. Belmont and Lipscomb have an intense rivalry in men's and women's basketball known as the Battle of the Boulevard, with both schools' men's and women's teams playing two games each season against each other (a rare feature among non-conference rivalries). The OVC also includes the Austin Peay Governors from Clarksville, the Tennessee–Martin Skyhawks from Martin, and the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles from Cookeville. These three schools, along with fellow OVC member Tennessee State, play each season in football for the Sgt. York Trophy. The Chattanooga Mocs and Johnson City's East Tennessee State Buccaneers are full members, including football, of the Southern Conference.

Tennessee is also home to Bristol Motor Speedway which features NASCAR Cup Series racing two weekends a year, routinely selling out more than 160,000 seats on each date; it also was the home of the Nashville Superspeedway, which held Nationwide and IndyCar races until it was shut down in 2012. Tennessee's only graded stakes horse race, the Iroquois Steeplechase, is also held in Nashville each May.

The FedEx St. Jude Classic is a PGA Tour golf tournament held at Memphis since 1958. The U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships has been held at Memphis since 1976 (men's) and 2002 (women's).

Sports teams

Club Sport League
Tennessee Titans American football National Football League
Memphis Grizzlies Basketball National Basketball Association
Nashville Predators Ice hockey National Hockey League
Nashville MLS team Soccer Major League Soccer
Memphis Redbirds Baseball Pacific Coast League ( Triple-A)
Nashville Sounds Baseball Pacific Coast League ( Triple-A)
Chattanooga Lookouts Baseball Southern League ( Double-A)
Jackson Generals Baseball Southern League ( Double-A)
Tennessee Smokies Baseball Southern League ( Double-A)
Elizabethton Twins Baseball Appalachian League ( Rookie)
Greeneville Reds Baseball Appalachian League ( Rookie)
Johnson City Cardinals Baseball Appalachian League ( Rookie)
Kingsport Mets Baseball Appalachian League ( Rookie)
Knoxville Ice Bears Ice hockey Southern Professional Hockey League
Nashville SC Soccer United Soccer League
Chattanooga FC Soccer National Premier Soccer League
Knoxville Force Soccer National Premier Soccer League
Memphis City FC Soccer National Premier Soccer League

Texas

While American football has long been considered "king" in the state, Texans enjoy a wide variety of sports. [148]

Texans can cheer for a plethora of professional sports teams. Within the "Big Four" professional leagues, Texas has two NFL teams (the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans), two Major League Baseball teams (the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers), three NBA teams (the San Antonio Spurs, the Houston Rockets, and the Dallas Mavericks), and one National Hockey League team (the Dallas Stars). The Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex is one of only twelve American metropolitan areas that hosts sports teams from all the "Big Four" professional leagues. Outside of the "Big Four" leagues, Texas also has a WNBA team, (the Dallas Wings) and two Major League Soccer teams (the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas).

Collegiate athletics have deep significance in Texas culture, especially football. The state has twelve Division I-FBS schools, the most in the nation. Four of the state's universities, the Baylor Bears, Texas Longhorns, TCU Horned Frogs, and Texas Tech Red Raiders, compete in the Big 12 Conference. The Texas A&M Aggies left the Big 12 and joined the Southeastern Conference in 2012, which led the Big 12 to invite TCU to join; TCU was previously in the Mountain West Conference. The Houston Cougars and the SMU Mustangs compete in the American Athletic Conference. The Texas State Bobcats and the UT Arlington Mavericks compete in the Sun Belt Conference. Four of the state's schools claim at least one national championship in football: the Texas Longhorns, the Texas A&M Aggies, the TCU Horned Frogs, and the SMU Mustangs.

According to a survey of Division I-A coaches the rivalry between the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas at Austin, the Red River Shootout, ranks the third best in the nation. [149] The TCU Horned Frogs and SMU Mustangs also share a rivalry and compete annually in the Battle for the Iron Skillet. A fierce rivalry, the Lone Star Showdown, also exists between the state's two largest universities, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin. The athletics portion of the Lone Star Showdown rivalry has been put on hold after the Texas A&M Aggies joined the Southeastern Conference.

The University Interscholastic League (UIL) organizes most primary and secondary school competitions. Events organized by UIL include contests in athletics (the most popular being high school football) as well as artistic and academic subjects. [150]

Texans also enjoy the rodeo. The world's first rodeo was hosted in Pecos, Texas. [151] The annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the largest rodeo in the world. It begins with trail rides that begin from several points throughout the state that convene at Reliant Park. [152] The Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show in Fort Worth is the oldest continuously running rodeo incorporating many of the state's most historic traditions into its annual events. Dallas hosts the State Fair of Texas each year at Fair Park. [153]

Texas Motor Speedway hosts annual NASCAR Cup Series and IndyCar Series auto races since 1997. Since 2012, Austin's Circuit of the Americas plays host to a round of the Formula 1 World Championship [154] —the first at a permanent road circuit in the United States since the 1980 Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International—, as well as Grand Prix motorcycle racing, FIA World Endurance Championship and United SportsCar Championship races.

Virginia

A receiver dressed in white with maroon and orange stripes is tackled by an opposing player in black and red.
The Virginia Tech Hokies football team has the second-longest bowl game streak in the nation. [155]

Virginia is the most populous U.S. state without a major professional sports league franchise. [156] The reasons for this include the lack of any dominant city or market within the state, the proximity of teams in Washington, D.C. and North Carolina, and a reluctance to publicly finance stadiums. [157] [158] However, in recent years, the city of Virginia Beach has proposed a new arena designed to lure a major league franchise. Norfolk is host to two minor league teams: The AAA Norfolk Tides and the ECHL's Norfolk Admirals. The San Francisco Giants' AA team, the Richmond Flying Squirrels, began play at The Diamond in 2010, replacing the AAA Richmond Braves, who relocated after 2008. [159] Additionally, the Washington Nationals, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, and Toronto Blue Jays also have Single-A and Rookie-level farm teams in Virginia. [160] The state is also home to United Soccer League club, the Richmond Kickers. [161]

The Washington Redskins have Redskins Park, their headquarters, in Ashburn and their training facility is in Richmond, [162] and the Washington Capitals train at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. Virginia has many professional caliber golf courses including the Greg Norman course at Lansdowne Resort and Kingsmill Resort, home of the Kingsmill Championship, an LPGA Tour tournament. NASCAR currently schedules Sprint Cup races on two tracks in Virginia: Martinsville Speedway and Richmond International Raceway. Virginia natives currently competing in the series include Denny Hamlin and Elliott Sadler. [163]

Virginia does not allow state appropriated funds to be used for either operational or capital expenses for intercollegiate athletics. [164] Despite this, both the Virginia Cavaliers and Virginia Tech Hokies have been able to field competitive teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference and maintain modern facilities. Their rivalry is followed statewide. Twelve other universities compete in NCAA Division I, particularly in the Atlantic 10 Conference, Big South Conference, and Colonial Athletic Association. Three historically black schools compete in the Division II Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and two others compete in the Division I Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Several smaller schools compete in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference and the USA South Athletic Conference of NCAA Division III. The NCAA currently holds its Division III championships in football, men's basketball, volleyball and softball in Salem. [165]

West Virginia

West Virginia is home to college sports teams from two schools – West Virginia and Marshall – that play in NCAA Division I. West Virginia is also home to several professional minor league baseball, football, soccer, and other sports teams.

Club Sport League
West Virginia Mountaineers Football / Basketball Big 12 Conference
Marshall Thundering Herd Football / Basketball Conference USA
West Virginia Power Baseball South Atlantic League
Bluefield Blue Jays Baseball Appalachian League
Princeton Rays Baseball Appalachian League
West Virginia Miners Baseball Prospect League
West Virginia Black Bears Baseball New York–Penn League
Wheeling Nailers Ice hockey ECHL
West Virginia Wild Basketball American Basketball Association (2000–present)
West Virginia Lightning [166] Football Elite Mid-Continental Football League [167]
West Virginia Chaos Soccer USL League Two
West Virginia Bruisers Football Women's Football Alliance


West

Alaska

Arizona

Professional sports teams in Arizona include:

Club Sport League Championships
Arizona Cardinals American football National Football League 2 ( 1925, 1947)
Phoenix Suns Basketball National Basketball Association 0
Arizona Diamondbacks Baseball Major League Baseball 1 ( 2001)
Arizona Coyotes Ice hockey National Hockey League 0
Arizona Rattlers Indoor football Indoor Football League 6 ( 1994, 1997, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017)
Phoenix Rising FC Soccer United Soccer League 0
Phoenix Mercury Basketball Women's National Basketball Association 3 ( 2007, 2009, 2014)
Tucson Roadrunners Ice hockey American Hockey League 0
Northern Arizona Suns Basketball NBA G League 1

The University of Phoenix stadium hosted Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008, and Super Bowl XLIX on February 1, 2015.

Due to its numerous golf courses, Arizona is home to several stops on the PGA Tour, most notably the Phoenix Open, held at the TPC of Scottsdale, and the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Marana.

Auto racing is another sport known in the state. Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale is home to NASCAR race weekends twice a year. Firebird International Raceway near Chandler is home to drag racing and other motorsport events.

College sports

College sports are also prevalent in Arizona. The Arizona State Sun Devils and the Arizona Wildcats belong to the Pac-12 Conference while the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks compete in the Big Sky Conference and the Grand Canyon Antelopes compete for in the Western Athletic Conference. The rivalry between Arizona State Sun Devils and the Arizona Wildcats predates Arizona's statehood, and is the oldest rivalry in the NCAA. [168] The Territorial Cup, first awarded in 1889 and certified as the oldest trophy in college football, [169] is awarded to the winner of the annual football game between the two schools.

Arizona also hosts several college football bowl games. The Fiesta Bowl, originally held at Sun Devil Stadium, is now held at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. The Fiesta Bowl is part of the new College Football Playoff (CFP). University of Phoenix Stadium was also home to the 2007 and 2011 BCS National Championship Games.

A spring training game between the Cubs and White Sox at HoHoKam Park

Baseball

Arizona is a popular location for Major League Baseball spring training, as it is the site of the Cactus League. Spring training was first started in Arizona in 1947, when Brewers owner Veeck sold them in 1945 but went onto purchase the Cleveland Indians in 1946. He decided to train the Cleveland Indians in Tucson and convinced the New York Giants to give Phoenix a try. Thus the Cactus League was born. [170]

On March 9, 1995, Arizona was awarded a franchise to begin play for the 1998 season. A $130 million franchise fee was paid to Major League Baseball and on January 16, 1997, the Diamondbacks were officially voted into the National League.

Since their debut, the Diamondbacks have won five National League West titles, one National League Championship pennant, and the 2001 World Series.

California

California has twenty major professional sports league franchises, far more than any other state. The San Francisco Bay Area has seven major league teams spread in its three major cities: San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland, while the Greater Los Angeles Area is home to ten major league franchises. San Diego and Sacramento each have one major league team. The NFL Super Bowl has been hosted in California 11 times at four different stadiums: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Rose Bowl, Stanford Stadium, and San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium. A twelfth, Super Bowl 50, was held at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara on February 7, 2016. [171]

California has long had many respected collegiate sports programs. California is home to the oldest college bowl game, the annual Rose Bowl, among others.

California is the only U.S. state to have hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics. The 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics were held in Los Angeles. Squaw Valley Ski Resort in the Lake Tahoe region hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. Los Angeles will host the 2028 Summer Olympics, marking the fourth time California hosts the Olympic Games. [172] Multiple games during the 1994 FIFA World Cup took place in California, with the Rose Bowl hosting eight matches including the final, while Stanford Stadium hosted six matches.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum hosted the Olympic Games in 1932 and 1984

Below is a list of major league sports teams in California:

Team Sport League
Los Angeles Rams American football National Football League (NFL)
Oakland Raiders American football National Football League
Los Angeles Chargers American football National Football League
San Francisco 49ers American football National Football League
Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB)
Los Angeles Angels Baseball Major League Baseball
Oakland Athletics Baseball Major League Baseball
San Diego Padres Baseball Major League Baseball
San Francisco Giants Baseball Major League Baseball
Golden State Warriors Basketball National Basketball Association (NBA)
Los Angeles Clippers Basketball National Basketball Association
Los Angeles Lakers Basketball National Basketball Association
Sacramento Kings Basketball National Basketball Association
Los Angeles Sparks Basketball Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)
Anaheim Ducks Ice hockey National Hockey League (NHL)
Los Angeles Kings Ice hockey National Hockey League
San Jose Sharks Ice hockey National Hockey League
Los Angeles Galaxy Soccer Major League Soccer (MLS)
San Jose Earthquakes Soccer Major League Soccer
Los Angeles Football Club Soccer Major League Soccer

Colorado

The Colorado Rockies baseball club at Coors Field

Colorado has five major professional sports leagues, all based in the Denver metropolitan area. Colorado is the least populous state with a franchise in each of the major professional sports leagues.

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is a major hillclimbing motor race held at the Pikes Peak Highway.

The Cherry Hills Country Club has hosted several professional golf tournaments, including the U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Women's Open, PGA Championship and BMW Championship.

Professional sports teams

Team Home First game Sport League
Boulder County Bombers Boulder November 2011 Roller Derby Women's Flat Track Derby Association
Colorado Avalanche Denver October 6, 1995 Ice hockey National Hockey League
Colorado Eagles Loveland October 17, 2003 Ice hockey American Hockey League
Colorado Mammoth Denver January 3, 2003 Lacrosse National Lacrosse League
Colorado Rapids Commerce City April 13, 1996 Soccer Major League Soccer
Colorado Rockies Denver April 5, 1993 Baseball Major League Baseball
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC Colorado Springs March 28, 2015 Soccer USL Championship
Denver Barbarians Denver Spring 1967 Rugby union Pacific Rugby Premiership
Denver Broncos Denver September 9, 1960 Football National Football League
Denver Nuggets Denver September 27, 1967 Basketball National Basketball Association
Denver Outlaws Denver May 20, 2006 Lacrosse Major League Lacrosse
Glendale Raptors Glendale Fall 2006 Rugby union Major League Rugby
Grand Junction Rockies Grand Junction June 18, 2012 Baseball Pioneer League ( Rookie, Minor League Baseball)
Rocky Mountain Rollergirls Denver July 2005 Roller Derby Women's Flat Track Derby Association
Rocky Mountain Vibes Colorado Springs June 2019 Baseball Pioneer League ( Rookie, Minor League Baseball)

College athletics

The following universities and colleges participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I. The most popular college sports program is the University of Colorado Buffaloes, who used to play in the Big-12 but now play in the Pac-12. They have won the 1957 and 1991 Orange Bowl, 1995 Fiesta Bowl, and 1996 Cotton Bowl Classic.

NCAA Division I athletic programs in Colorado
Team School City Conference
Air Force Falcons United States Air Force Academy Colorado Springs Mountain West [173]
Colorado Buffaloes University of Colorado Boulder Boulder Pac-12 [174]
Colorado State Rams Colorado State University Fort Collins Mountain West
Denver Pioneers University of Denver Denver Summit [175]
Northern Colorado Bears University of Northern Colorado Greeley Big Sky [176]

Hawaii

Surfing was a central part of ancient Polynesian culture of Hawaii. Catching waves at a surfing contest on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

Surfing has been a central part of Polynesian culture for centuries. Since the late 19th century, Hawaii has become a major site for surfists from around the world. Notable competitions include the Triple Crown of Surfing and The Eddie.

The only NCAA Division I team in Hawaii is the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and Rainbow Wahine, which competes at the Big West Conference (major sports), Mountain West Conference (football) and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (minor sports). There are three teams in NCAA Division II: Chaminade Silverswords, Hawaii Pacific Sharks and Hawaii-Hilo Vulcans, all of which compete at the Pacific West Conference.

Notable college sports events in Hawaii include the Maui Invitational Tournament, Diamond Head Classic (basketball) and Hawaii Bowl (football).

Notable professional teams include The Hawaiians, which played at the World Football League in 1974 and 1975; the Hawaii Islanders, a Triple-A minor league baseball team that played at the Pacific Coast League from 1961 to 1987; and Team Hawaii, a North American Soccer League team that played in 1977.

Hawaii has hosted the Sony Open in Hawaii golf tournament since 1965, the Tournament of Champions golf tournament since 1999, the Lotte Championship golf tournament since 2012, the Honolulu Marathon since 1973, the Ironman World Championship triathlon race since 1978, the Ultraman triathlon since 1983, the National Football League's Pro Bowl from 1980 to 2016, the 2000 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships, and the 2008 Pan-Pacific Championship and 2012 Hawaiian Islands Invitational soccer tournaments.

Idaho

Central Idaho is home to one of North America's oldest ski resorts, Sun Valley, where the world's first chairlift was installed in 1936. [177] Other noted outdoor sites include Hells Canyon, the Salmon River, and its embarkation point of Riggins.

Club Sport League
Boise Hawks Baseball Northwest(Class A)
Boise State Broncos NCAA Div I FBSMWC
Idaho Vandals NCAA Div I FCSBig Sky
Idaho State Bengals NCAA Div I FCSBig Sky
Idaho Falls Chukars Baseball Pioneer(Rookie)
Idaho Steelheads Ice hockey ECHL

The Boise Open professional golf tournament is played at Hillcrest Country Club since 1990 as part of the Web.com Tour.

High school sports are overseen by the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA).

In 2016, Meridian's Michael Slagowski ran 800 meters in 1:48.70. That is one of the 35 fastest 800 meter times ever run by a high school boy in the United States. [178] Weeks later, he would become only the ninth high school boy to complete a mile in under 4 minutes, running 3:59.53.

Montana

Professional sports

There are no major league sports franchises in Montana due to the state's relatively small and dispersed population, but a number of minor league teams play in the state. Baseball is the minor-league sport with the longest heritage in the state, and Montana is currently home to three Minor League Baseball teams, all members of the Pioneer League: the Billings Mustangs, Great Falls Voyagers, and Missoula Osprey.

College sports

All of Montana's four-year colleges and universities field intercollegiate sports teams. The two largest schools, the University of Montana and Montana State University, are members of the Big Sky Conference and have enjoyed a strong athletic rivalry since the early twentieth century. Six of Montana's smaller four-year schools are members of the Frontier Conference. [179] One is a member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. [180]

Other sports

A variety of sports are offered at Montana high schools. [181] Montana allows the smallest—"Class C"—high schools to utilize six-man football teams, [182] dramatized in the independent 2002 film, The Slaughter Rule. [183]

There are junior ice hockey teams in Montana, four of which are affiliated with the North American 3 Hockey League: the Bozeman Icedogs, Great Falls Americans, Helena Bighorns, and Missoula Jr. Bruins.

Olympic competitors

Sporting achievements

Montanans have been a part of several major sporting achievements:

Nevada

Nevada is not well known for its professional sports teams, mainly because major league sports in the past feared having direct involvement with the sports gambling industry. However, this situation lessened after they embraced daily fantasy sports (DFS) in 2014. The Las Vegas Valley is home to the Vegas Golden Knights of the National Hockey League who began play in the 2017-18 NHL season at T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada. The Golden Knights are the only major North American professional sports franchise in Nevada.

They will be joined by the Oakland Raiders who at the start of the 2016 NFL season expressed interest in moving their team to Las Vegas, and announced in January 2017 they would do so in either 2019 or 2020.

Nevada takes pride in college sports, most notably its college football. College teams in the state include the Nevada Wolf Pack (representing the University of Nevada, Reno) and the UNLV Rebels (representing the University of Nevada, Las Vegas), both in the Mountain West Conference (MW).

UNLV is most remembered for its men's basketball program, which experienced its height of supremacy in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Coached by Jerry Tarkanian, the Runnin' Rebels became one of the most elite programs in the country. In 1990, UNLV won the Men's Division I Championship by defeating Duke 103–73, which set tournament records for most points scored by a team and largest margin of victory in the national title game.

In 1991, UNLV finished the regular season undefeated, a feat that would not be matched in Division I men's basketball for more than 20 years. Forward Larry Johnson won several awards, including the Naismith Award. UNLV reached the Final Four yet again, but lost their national semifinal against Duke 79–77. The Runnin' Rebels were the Associated Press pre-season No. 1 back to back (1989–90, 1990–91). North Carolina is the only other team to accomplish that (2007–08, 2008–09).

The state's involvement in major-college sports is not limited to its local schools. In the 21st century, the Las Vegas area has become a significant regional center for college basketball conference tournaments. The MW, West Coast Conference, and Western Athletic Conference all hold their men's and women's tournaments in the area, and the Pac-12 holds its men's tournament there as well. The Big Sky Conference, after decades of holding its men's and women's conference tournaments at campus sites, began holding both tournaments in Reno in 2016.

Las Vegas has hosted several professional boxing matches, most recently at the MGM Grand Garden Arena with bouts such as Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield, Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II, Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao and at the newer T-Mobile Arena with Canelo Álvarez vs. Amir Khan.

Along with significant rises in popularity in mixed martial arts (MMA), a number of fight leagues such as the UFC have taken interest in Las Vegas as a primary event location due to the number of suitable host venues. The Mandalay Bay Events Center and MGM Grand Garden Arena are among some of the more popular venues for fighting events such as MMA and have hosted several UFC and other MMA title fights. The city has held the most UFC events with 86 events.

The state is also home to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which hosts the Kobalt Tools 400. Two venues in the immediate Las Vegas area host major annual events in rodeo. The Thomas & Mack Center, built for UNLV men's basketball, hosts the National Finals Rodeo. The PBR World Finals, operated by the bull riding-only Professional Bull Riders, was also held at the Thomas & Mack Center before moving to T-Mobile Arena in 2016. Finally, Sam Boyd Stadium, home to the UNLV football team, also hosts the country's biggest rugby event, the USA Sevens tournament in the World Rugby Sevens Series, as well as the AMA Supercross Championship.

The state is also home to one of the most famous tennis players of all time, Andre Agassi, and current baseball superstar Bryce Harper.

List of teams

Major professional teams
Team Sport League Venue (capacity) Established Titles
Las Vegas Raiders Football NFL Las Vegas Stadium (65,000) 2020 (planned) 0
Vegas Golden Knights Ice hockey NHL T-Mobile Arena (17,500) 2017 0
Las Vegas Aces Basketball WNBA Mandalay Bay Events Center (12,000) 2018 0
Minor professional teams
Team Sport League Venue (capacity) Established Titles
Las Vegas Aviators Baseball MiLB ( AAA- PCL) Las Vegas Ballpark (10,000) 1983 2
Reno Aces Greater Nevada Field (9,013) 2009 2
Mesquite Desert Dogs Basketball TBL Rising Star Sports Ranch (600) 2018 0
Las Vegas Lights FC Soccer USLC Cashman Field (9,334) 0
Reno 1868 FC Greater Nevada Field (9,013) 2015 0
Reno Express Indoor football AWFC Reno Events Center (7,000) 2019 (planned) 0
Amateur teams
Team Sport League Venue (capacity) Established Titles
Las Vegas Jesters Ice hockey MWHL City National Arena (600) 2012 0
Nevada Coyotes FC Soccer UPSL Rio Vista Sports Complex 2016 0
Summerlin Red Rocks FC 2018 0
College teams
School Team League Division Conference
University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) UNLV Rebels NCAA NCAA Division I Mountain West
University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) Nevada Wolf Pack
College of Southern Nevada (CSN) CSN Coyotes NJCAA NJCAA Division I Scenic West
Western Nevada College (WNC) WNC Wildcats

New Mexico

The New Mexico Stars play in the Santa Ana Star Center.

No major league professional sports teams are based in New Mexico, but the Albuquerque Isotopes are a Pacific Coast League Triple-A baseball affiliate of the MLB Colorado Rockies. New Mexico is home to several baseball teams of the Pecos League: the Santa Fe Fuego, the Roswell Invaders and the White Sands Pupfish. The Duke City Gladiators of the CIF are an indoor football team that plays their home games at the Tingley Coliseum. The Albuquerque Sol F.C are a soccer club that plays in USL League Two (the 4th tier of the American soccer pyramid).

Collegiate athletics in New Mexico involve various University of New Mexico Lobos and New Mexico State Aggies teams in many sports. For many years the two universities have had a rivalry often referred to as the " Rio Grande Rivalry" or the "Battle of I-25" in recognition of the campuses both being located along that interstate highway. NMSU also has a rivalry with the University of Texas at El Paso that is called " The Battle of I-10". The winner of the NMSU-UTEP football game receives the Silver Spade trophy.

Olympic gold medalist Tom Jager, who is an advocate of controversial high-altitude training for swimming, has conducted training camps in Albuquerque (elevation 5,312 ft (1,619.1 m)) and Los Alamos (7,320 ft (2,231 m)). [195]

NRA Whittington Center in Raton is the United States' largest and most comprehensive competitive shooting range and training facility. [196]

Oregon

The Moda Center (formerly the Rose Garden) during a Portland Trail Blazers game
Providence Park during a Portland Thorns FC match.

Oregon is home to three major professional sports teams: the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA, the Portland Thorns of the NWSL and the Portland Timbers of MLS. [197]

Until 2011, the only major professional sports team in Oregon was the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association. From the 1970s to the 1990s, the Blazers were one of the most successful teams in the NBA in terms of both win-loss record and attendance. [198] In the early 21st century, the team's popularity declined due to personnel and financial issues, but revived after the departure of controversial players and the acquisition of new players such as Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge. [199] [200] The Blazers play in the Moda Center in Portland's Lloyd District, which also is home to the Portland Winterhawks of the junior Western Hockey League. [201]

The Portland Timbers play at Providence Park, just west of downtown Portland. The Timbers have a strong following, with the team regularly selling out its games. [202] The Timbers repurposed the formerly multi-use stadium into a soccer-specific stadium in fall 2010, increasing the seating in the process. [203] The Timbers operate Portland Thorns FC, a women's soccer team that has played in the National Women's Soccer League since the league's first season in 2013. The Thorns, who also play at Providence Park, have won two league championships, in the inaugural 2013 season and also in 2017, and have been by far the NWSL's attendance leader in each of the league's seasons.

Eugene, Salem and Hillsboro have minor-league baseball teams: the Eugene Emeralds, the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, and the Hillsboro Hops all play in the Single-A Northwest League. [204] Portland has had minor-league baseball teams in the past, including the Portland Beavers and Portland Rockies, who played most recently at Providence Park when it was known as PGE Park.

The Oregon State Beavers and the University of Oregon Ducks football teams of the Pac-12 Conference meet annually in the Civil War. Both schools have had recent success in other sports as well: Oregon State won back-to-back college baseball championships in 2006 and 2007, [205] winning a third in 2018; [206] and the University of Oregon won back-to-back NCAA men's cross country championships in 2007 and 2008. [207]

Utah

The Utah Jazz playing against the Houston Rockets

Utah is the second-least populous U.S. state to have a major professional sports league franchise, after the Las Vegas Golden Knights joined the National Hockey League in 2017. The Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association play at Vivint Smart Home Arena [208] in Salt Lake City. The team moved to the city from New Orleans in 1979 and has been one of the most consistently successful teams in the league (although they have yet to win a championship). Salt Lake City was previously host to the Utah Stars, who competed in the ABA from 1970–76 and won 1 championship, and to the Utah Starzz of the WNBA from 1997 to 2003.

Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer was founded in 2005 and play their home matches at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy. RSL remains the only Utah major league sports team to have won a national championship, having won the MLS Cup in 2009. [209] RSL currently operates three adult teams in addition to the MLS side. Real Monarchs, competing in the second-level United Soccer League, is the official reserve side for RSL. The team began play in the 2015 season at Rio Tinto Stadium, [210] remaining there until moving to Zions Bank Stadium, located at RSL's training center in Herriman, for the 2018 season. [211] Utah Royals FC, which will also play at Rio Tinto Stadium, will begin play in the National Women's Soccer League, the top level of U.S. women's soccer, in the 2018 season. [212] Before the creation of the Royals, RSL's main women's side had been Real Salt Lake Women, which began play in the Women's Premier Soccer League in 2008 and moved to United Women's Soccer in 2016. RSL Women currently play at Utah Valley University in Orem.

The Utah Blaze began play in the original version of the Arena Football League in 2006, and remained in the league until it folded in 2009. The Blaze returned to the league at its relaunch in 2010, playing until the team's demise in 2013. They competed originally at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, and later at Vivint Smart Home Arena when it was known as EnergySolutions Arena.

Utah's highest level minor league baseball team is the Salt Lake Bees, who play at Smith's Ballpark in Salt Lake City and are part of the AAA level Pacific Coast League. Utah also has one minor league hockey team, the Utah Grizzlies, who play at the Maverik Center and compete in the ECHL.

Utah has six universities that compete in Division I of the NCAA. Three of the schools have football programs that participate in the top-level Football Bowl Subdivision: Utah in the Pac-12 Conference, Utah State in the Mountain West Conference, and BYU as an independent (although BYU competes in the non-football West Coast Conference for most other sports). In addition, Weber State and Southern Utah (SUU) compete in the Big Sky Conference of the FCS. Utah Valley, which has no football program, is a full member of the Western Athletic Conference.

Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. After early financial struggles and scandal, the 2002 Olympics eventually became among the most successful Winter Olympics in history from a marketing and financial standpoint.[ citation needed] Watched by over 2 billion viewers, the Games ended up with a profit of $100 million. [213]

Utah has hosted professional golf tournaments such as the Uniting Fore Care Classic and currently the Utah Championship.

Rugby has been growing quickly in the state of Utah, growing from 17 teams in 2009 to 70 teams as of 2013, including with over 3,000 players, and more than 55 high school varsity teams. [214] [215] The growth has been inspired in part by the 2008 movie Forever Strong. [215] Utah fields two of the most competitive teams in the nation in college rugby – BYU and Utah. [214] BYU has won the National Championship in 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Washington

Major professional teams

Club Sport League City & Stadium
Seattle Mariners Baseball Major League Baseball; AL Seattle, Safeco Field
Seattle Seahawks Football National Football League; NFC Seattle, CenturyLink Field
Seattle Sounders FC Soccer Major League Soccer Seattle, CenturyLink Field
Seattle Seawolves Rugby Union Major League Rugby Tukwila, Starfire Stadium
Seattle Storm Basketball Women's National Basketball Association Seattle, KeyArena
Seattle Reign FC Soccer National Women's Soccer League Seattle, Memorial Stadium

Minor professional and amateur teams

Club Sport League City & Stadium
Everett AquaSox Baseball Northwest League; A Everett, Everett Memorial Stadium
Everett Silvertips Ice hockey Western Hockey League Everett, Xfinity Arena
Seattle Majestics American football Women's Football Alliance Kent, French Field
Seattle Mist Indoor football Legends Football League Kent, ShoWare Center
Seattle Saracens Rugby union Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League Seattle, Magnuson Park
Seattle Thunderbirds Ice hockey Western Hockey League Kent, ShoWare Center
Spokane Chiefs Ice hockey Western Hockey League Spokane, Spokane Arena
Spokane Indians Baseball Northwest League; A Spokane, Avista Stadium
Tacoma Rainiers Baseball Pacific Coast League; AAA Tacoma, Cheney Stadium
Tacoma Stars Indoor soccer Major Arena Soccer League Kent, ShoWare Center
Tri-City Americans Ice hockey Western Hockey League Kennewick, Toyota Center
Tri-City Dust Devils Baseball Northwest League; A Pasco, Gesa Stadium
Wenatchee Wild Ice hockey British Columbia Hockey League Wenatchee, Town Toyota Center

College sports teams

NCAA Division I
NCAA Division II
NCAA Division III

Individual sports

The Seattle Open Invitational golf tournament was part of the PGA Tour from the 1930s to the 1960s. The GTE Northwest Classic was part of the Senior PGA Tour from 1986 to 1995, and the Boeing Classic since 2005. In addition, the 2015 U.S. Open was held at Chambers Bay, and several major tournaments were held at Sahalee Country Club.

Pacific Raceways is a motorsports venue that has hosted the Northwest Nationals of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and a round of the Trans-Am Series.

The WTA Seattle tennis tournament was part of the WTA Tour from 1977 to 1982.

The KeyArena has hosted several mixed martial arts events, such as UFC Fight Night: Nogueira vs. Davis, UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz, and UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Moraga.

Wyoming

Due to its sparse population, the state of Wyoming lacks any major professional sports teams. Some of the most popular sports teams in the state are the University of Wyoming Cowboys and Cowgirls teams – particularly football and basketball, which play in the Mountain West Conference. Their stadiums in Laramie are at about 7,200 feet (2,200 m) above sea level, the highest in NCAA Division I. High school sports are governed by the Wyoming High School Activities Association, which sponsors 12 sports.

Rodeo is popular in Wyoming, and Casper has hosted the College National Finals Rodeo since 2001.


Territories

American Samoa

The main sports played in American Samoa are Samoan cricket, baseball, basketball, soccer, and American football. Rugby is also played and, in Samoan villages, volleyball is popular.

American football

About 30 ethnic Samoans, all from American Samoa, currently play in the National Football League, and more than 200 play NCAA Division I college football. [216] In recent years, it has been estimated that a Samoan male (either an American Samoan, or a Samoan living in the mainland United States) is anywhere from 40 [217] to 56 times [216] more likely to play in the NFL than a non-Samoan American, giving American Samoa the nickname "Football Islands". [218] Six-time All-Pro Junior Seau was one of the most famous Americans of Samoan heritage ever to play in the NFL, having been elected to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team and Pro Football Hall of Fame. Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, though born and raised in the mainland United States, is another famous American of Samoan heritage to have played in the NFL, not having his hair cut since 2000 (and only because a USC coach told him he had to) and wearing it down during games in honor of his heritage. The football culture was featured on 60 Minutes on January 17, 2010.

American Samoa's delegation to the 2016 Republican National Convention boasted about being "the greatest exporter of NFL players." [219]

Association football

The American Samoa national association football team is one of the newest teams in the world, and is also noted for being the world's weakest. They lost to Australia 31–0 in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match on April 11, 2001, but on November 22, 2011 they finally won their first ever game, beating Tonga 2–1 in a FIFA World Cup qualifier. [220] The appearance of American Samoa's Jaiyah Saelua in the contest "apparently became the first transgender player to compete on a World Cup stage." [221]

Boxing

Maselino Masoe, who represented American Samoa in three consecutive Olympics from 1988 to 1996, was WBA middleweight champion from 2004 to 2006.

Professional wrestling

A number of American Samoan athletes have been very visible in professional wrestling. The Anoa'i family in particular has had many of its members employed by WWE.

Rugby league

The American Samoa national rugby league team represents the country in international rugby league. The team competed in the 1988, 1992, 1998 and 2004 Pacific Cup competitions. The team has also competed in the 2003 and 2004 World Sevens qualifiers in the 2005 World Sevens. America Samoa's first match in international Rugby League was in 1988 pacific cup against Tonga, Tonga won the match 38–14 which is still the biggest loss by an American Samoan side. American Samoa's biggest win was in 2004 against New Caledonia with the score ending at 62–6.

American Samoa gets broadcasts of the National Rugby League in Australia on free-to-air television. [222]

There is also a new movement which aims to set up a four-team domestic competition in American Samoa. [222]

Rugby union

Rugby union is a growing sport in American Samoa. The first rugby game recorded in American Samoa was in 1924, since then the development of the game had been heavily overshadowed by the influence of American Football during the 1970s. The highest governing body of rugby in American Samoa is the American Samoa Rugby Union which was founded in 1990 and was not affiliated into the IRB until 2012. Internationally, two American Samoans have played for the New Zealand national rugby union team, known as the All Blacks. Frank Solomon (born in Pago Pago) became the first American national of Samoan descent to play for a New Zealand team. Considered a pacific pioneer in New Zealand rugby, Solomon scored a try against Australia in the inaugural Bledisloe Cup match in 1932, which New Zealand won 21–13. The second American Samoan to play for the All Blacks is Jerome Kaino (born in Faga'alu). A native of Leone, Kaino moved to New Zealand when he was 4 years old. In 2004 at age 21, he played his first match for New Zealand against the Barbarians where he scored his first try, contributing to New Zealand's 47–19 victory that resulted in him becoming man of the match. He also played a crucial role in the Rugby World Cup 2011 playing every match in the tournament. He scored four tries in the event which led to New Zealand winning the final against France 8–7. Kaino was also a key member of the 2015 Rugby World Cup squad, where he played every match including a try he scored in the quarterfinals against France which New Zealand won 62–13. He scored again in the semifinals against South Africa, which New Zealand won 20–18. He played in the world cup final against Australia where New Zealand won again 34–17 to become world champions for a record 3 times (1987, 2011 and 2015). Kaino is one of twenty New Zealand rugby players to have won the Rugby World Cup twice, back to back in 2011 and 2015. In August 2015, the American Samoa Rugby Union Board selected Leota Toma Patu from the village of Leone as the coach for the Talavalu 15 men's team that represented American Samoa at the Ocean Cup 2015 in Papua New Guinea.

Sumo wrestling

Some Samoan Sumo wrestlers, most famously Musashimaru and Konishiki, have reached the highest ranks of ōzeki and yokozuna.

Track and field

Hammer thrower Lisa Misipeka attracted international attention by winning a bronze medal in the 1999 World Championships in Athletics.

Guam

Pacific Games

Guam hosted the Pacific Games in 1975 and 1999. At the 2007 Games, Guam finished 7th of 22 countries and 14th at the 2011 Games.

Soccer

The Guam national football team was founded in 1975 and joined FIFA in 1996. Guam was once considered one of FIFA's weakest teams, and experienced their first victory over a FIFA-registered side in 2009, when they defeated Mongolia in the East Asian Cup.

Guam entered the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification Group D. Guam hosted qualifying games on the island for the first time in 2015. During the qualifying round, Guam clinched their first FIFA World Cup Qualifying win by defeating Turkmenistan. Since then, the team has experienced moderate success in the Qualifying Round with a record of 2–1–1. [223]

The national team plays at the Guam National Football Stadium, which has a capacity of 1,000. The men's national football team are known as the "matao" team. Matao is the definition of highest level or "noble" class; the matao team have done exceptionally well under the head coach Gary White. As of 2016, the Matao is led by Darren Sawatzky, the current head coach.

The top football division in Guam is the Guam Men's Soccer League. Rovers FC and Guam Shipyard are the league's most competitive and successful clubs, both have won nine championships in the past years.

Basketball

The Guam national basketball team is traditionally one of the top teams in the Oceania region behind Australia and New Zealand.

As of 2015, it is the reigning champion of the Pacific Games Basketball Tournament.

Guam is home to various basketball organizations, including the GBA. [224]

Swimming

In the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Pilar Shimizu competed for Guam and placed 42nd in the breaststroke competition.

Rugby union

Guam is represented in rugby union by the Guam national rugby union team. The team has never qualified for a Rugby World Cup. Guam played their first match in 2005, an 8–8 draw with India. Guam's biggest win was a 74–0 defeat of Brunei in June 2008.

Mixed martial arts

UFC fighter Jon Tuck, who boasts a professional record of 10 wins and 4 losses, three of those wins while with the UFC, fights out of Guam.

Northern Mariana Islands

Team sports popular in the United States were introduced to the Northern Mariana Islands by American soldiers during World War II. Baseball is the islands' most popular sport. CNMI teams have made appearances in the Little League World Series (in the Little, Junior, Senior and Big league divisions) as well as winning gold medals in the Micronesian Games and South Pacific Games.

Basketball and mixed martial arts are also popular in the islands, which hosted the official 2009 Oceania Basketball Tournament. Trench Wars is the CNMI's Mixed Martial Arts brand.[ citation needed] Fighters from the CNMI have competed in the Pacific Xtreme Combat.

Other sports in the CNMI include volleyball, tennis, soccer, outrigger sailing, softball, beach volleyball, rugby, golf, boxing, kickboxing, tae kwon do, track and field, Swimming, Triathlon, and American football.

Puerto Rico

Baseball was one of the first sports to gain widespread popularity in Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rico Baseball League serves as the only active professional league, operating as a winter league. No Major League Baseball franchise or affiliate plays in Puerto Rico, however, San Juan hosted the Montreal Expos for several series in 2003 and 2004 before they moved to Washington, D.C. and became the Washington Nationals.

The Puerto Rico national baseball team has participated in the World Cup of Baseball winning one gold (1951), four silver and four bronze medals, the Caribbean Series (winning fourteen times) and the World Baseball Classic. On March 2006, San Juan's Hiram Bithorn Stadium hosted the opening round as well as the second round of the newly formed World Baseball Classic. Puerto Rican baseball players include Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda and Roberto Alomar, enshrined in 1973, 1999, and 2011 respectively. [225] [226] [227]

Boxing, basketball, and volleyball are considered popular sports as well. Wilfredo Gómez and McWilliams Arroyo have won their respective divisions at the World Amateur Boxing Championships. Other medalists include José Pedraza, who holds a silver medal, and three boxers who finished in third place, José Luis Vellón, Nelson Dieppa and McJoe Arroyo. In the professional circuit, Puerto Rico has the third-most boxing world champions and it is the global leader in champions per capita. These include Miguel Cotto, Félix Trinidad, Wilfred Benítez and Gómez among others.

The Puerto Rico national basketball team joined the International Basketball Federation in 1957. Since then, it has won more than 30 medals in international competitions, including gold in three FIBA Americas Championships and the 1994 Goodwill Games August 8, 2004, became a landmark date for the team when it became the first team to defeat the United States in an Olympic tournament since the integration of National Basketball Association players. Winning the inaugural game with scores of 92–73 as part of the 2004 Summer Olympics organized in Athens, Greece. [228] Baloncesto Superior Nacional acts as the top-level professional basketball league in Puerto Rico, and has experienced success since its beginning in 1930.

Puerto Rico Islanders fans at a soccer game.

Puerto Rico is also a member of FIFA and CONCACAF. In 2008, the archipelago's first unified league, the Puerto Rico Soccer League, was established.

Other sports include professional wrestling and road running. The World Wrestling Council and International Wrestling Association are the largest wrestling promotions in the main island. The World's Best 10K, held annually in San Juan, has been ranked among the 20 most competitive races globally. The "Puerto Rico All Stars" team, which has won twelve world championships in unicycle basketball. [229]

Organized Streetball has gathered some exposition, with teams like "Puerto Rico Street Ball" competing against established organizations including the Capitanes de Arecibo and AND1's Mixtape Tour Team. Six years after the first visit, AND1 returned as part of their renamed Live Tour, losing to the Puerto Rico Streetballers. [230] Consequently, practitioners of this style have earned participation in international teams, including Orlando "El Gato" Meléndez, who became the first Puerto Rican born athlete to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. [231] Orlando Antigua, whose mother is Puerto Rican, in 1995 became the first Hispanic and the first non-black in 52 years to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. [232]

Puerto Rico has representation in all international competitions including the Summer and Winter Olympics, the Pan American Games, the Caribbean World Series, and the Central American and Caribbean Games. Puerto Rico hosted the Pan Am Games in 1979 (officially in San Juan), and The Central American and Caribbean Games were hosted in 1993 in Ponce and in 2010 in Mayagüez.

Puerto Rican athletes have won nine medals in Olympic competition (one gold, two silver, six bronze), the first one in 1948 by boxer Juan Evangelista Venegas. Monica Puig won the first gold medal for Puerto Rico in the Olympic Games by winning the Women's Tennis singles title in Rio 2016. [233] [234]

U.S. Virgin Islands

See also

Footnotes

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Further reading

  • Gerdy, John R. Sports: The All-American Addiction (2002) online
  • Gorn, Elliott J. A Brief History of American Sports (2004)
  • Jackson III, Harvey H. ed. The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Sports & Recreation (2011) online
  • Jay, Kathryn. More Than Just a Game: Sports in American Life since 1945 (2004). online

External links