Sports in Houston

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The City of Houston and the Houston metropolitan area has a rich sporting culture and the area residents are active in many spectator and participant sports. Spectators attend events including teams from four major professional sports teams and collegiate sports. Participants enjoy activities from running in Memorial Park to sailing on Galveston Bay and Clear Lake. A number of other sports are also available, including nearly a dozen fencing clubs, ranging from recreational clubs to elite competitive organizations.[1]

Major league sports[edit]

Houston has teams in every major professional sport except the National Hockey League, including the Houston Astros (MLB), Houston Texans (NFL), Houston Rockets (NBA), and Houston Dynamo (MLS).

The Astros advanced to the World Series for the first time in 2005 but lost to the Chicago White Sox. In 2006, the Dynamo won the MLS Cup in their first year after moving from San Jose, California, and in 2007 became the first MLS franchise since 1997 to repeat a championship. The Rockets won back-to-back NBA titles in 1994 and 1995.

Minute Maid Park (home of the Astros) and Toyota Center (home of the Rockets) are located in Downtown Houston—contributing to an urban renaissance that has transformed Houston's center into a day-and-night destination.[citation needed] Also, the city has the first domed stadium in the United States, now known as the Reliant Astrodome, and also holds the NFL's first retractable roof stadium—NRG Stadium. Other facilities for major league teams in Houston include BBVA Compass Stadium, a soccer-specific stadium.

Club League Sport Venue Founded Titles Attendance
Houston Texans NFL Football NRG Stadium 2002 0 71,644
Houston Astros MLB Baseball Minute Maid Park 1962 0 20,393
Houston Dynamo MLS Soccer BBVA Compass Stadium 2006 2 (2006, 2007) 19,923
Houston Rockets NBA Basketball Toyota Center 1967 2 (1994, 1995) 16,672

Minor league and semi-pro sports[edit]

Club League Sport Venue Established Championships
Houston Energy IWFL Women's football The Rig 2001 2000, 2001, 2002 (WPFL)
Houston Dash NWSL Soccer BBVA Compass Stadium 2014
Houston Wranglers WTT Tennis Westside Tennis Club 2005
Houston Takers ABA Basketball Health and Physical Education Arena 2006
H-Town Texas Cyclones IWFL Women's football Reggie Grob Stadium 2008 2008
Houston Power WFA Women's football Guy K. Traylor Stadium 2010
Sugar Land Skeeters Atlantic League Baseball Constellation Field 2010
Sugar Land Imperals NA3HL Ice Hockey Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center 2013
Houston Ducks MPFL Football 2012

Former teams[edit]

Houston was home to the now defunct WNBA Comets from 1997 to 2008. The Comets won 4 consecutive WNBA Championships, which is still the most championships of any sports team in Houston, and the biggest title streak in Texas.[citation needed]

The AFL/NFL Oilers called Houston home from 1960 to 1997 before the team moved to Tennessee and became the Titans. The Oilers also provided the city with 2 AFL championships in 1960 and 1961, before the merger with the NFL.[2] The Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League existed in Houston from 1994 until 2013 when they were moved to become the Iowa Wild.

College sports[edit]

Four Division I college athletic programs play within the city of Houston, and a fifth is located in the metropolitan area. A new venue, TDECU Stadium, opened in 2014 on the University of Houston campus at the former site of Robertson Stadium. Other college sports facilities in Houston are Hofheinz Pavilion and Rice Stadium.

School Nickname Major Venues Conference NCAA Division
University of Houston Cougars TDECU Stadium, Hofheinz Pavilion American Athletic Conference Division I (FBS)
Houston Baptist University Huskies HBU Stadium, Sharp Gymnasium Southland Conference Division I (FCS)
Rice University Owls Rice Stadium, Tudor Fieldhouse Conference USA Division I (FBS)
Texas Southern University Tigers Health and Physical Education Arena Southwestern Athletic Conference Division I (FCS)
Prairie View A&M University
(in Prairie View)
Panthers Blackshear Stadium, William Nicks Building Southwestern Athletic Conference Division I (FCS)

Annual events[edit]

Houston hosts annual sporting events such as the PGA Tour's Shell Houston Open, the college football Texas Bowl, and college baseball's Houston College Classic. Since 1971, Houston's two NCAA Division I FBS football teams, the Rice Owls and Houston Cougars have faced off in the annual Bayou Bucket Classic.

Every June since 2012, the U.S. national rugby team has played an international match against a top European team at BBVA Compass Stadium, breaking attendance records for rugby matches in the U.S.[3] The U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships, a ATP World Tour 250 Series tournament, has been held in Houston since 2001

From 1998 to 2001, the CART World Series held the Grand Prix of Houston auto race on downtown streets. CART's successor series, Champ Car, revived the race for 2006 and 2007 on the streets surrounding Reliant Park. The race was discontinued again in 2008, following Champ Car's merger with the rival IndyCar Series. The Grand Prix of Houston returned for the 2013 season.

Several annual sporting events are no longer held in Houston. The Virginia Slims of Houston was a women's tennis tournament held from 1970 to 1995 as part of the WTA Tour. The final official event of the LPGA golf season, the LPGA Tour Championship, was held in Houston in 2009, but moved to Orlando, Florida in 2010.

Event Month Sport Venue Established
Houston Marathon January Running George R. Brown Convention Center and streets of Houston 1972
Houston College Classic February Baseball Minute Maid Park 2001
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo February and March Rodeo Reliant Park 1932
Shell Houston Open March PGA Tour golf Golf Club of Houston 1946
U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships April Tennis River Oaks Country Club 2001
U.S. international rugby match June Rugby BBVA Compass Stadium 2012
Texas Bowl December Football NRG Stadium 2006
Bayou Bucket Classic Varies Football Rice Stadium, TDECU Stadium, or NRG Stadium 1971

Other major events[edit]

In addition to the events listed below, Houston hosted the Masters Grand Prix in 1976 and the Tennis Masters Cup in 2003 and 2004.

Event Host Sport Venue Date
UFC 69: Shootout UFC Mixed martial arts Toyota Center April 7, 2007
Wrestlemania X-Seven WWE Professional wrestling Astrodome April 1, 2001
Wrestlemania XXV WWE Professional wrestling Reliant Stadium April 5, 2009
Super Bowl VIII NFL Football Rice Stadium January 13, 1974
Super Bowl XXXVIII NFL Football Reliant Stadium February 1, 2004
2005 World Series MLB Baseball Minute Maid Park October 2005
1968 MLB All-Star Game MLB Baseball Astrodome July 9, 1968
1986 MLB All-Star Game MLB Baseball Astrodome July 15, 1968
2004 MLB All-Star Game MLB Baseball Minute Maid Park July 13, 2004
2006 NBA All-Star Game NBA Basketball Toyota Center February 19, 2006
1971 NCAA Men's Final Four NCAA Basketball Astrodome March 25 and 27, 1971
2010 MLS All-Star Game MLS Soccer Reliant Stadium July 28, 2010
2011 NCAA Men's Final Four NCAA Basketball Reliant Stadium April 2 and 4, 2011
Big 12 Championship Game Big 12 Football Reliant Stadium December 2002 and 2005
2013 USA Women's Sevens IRB Rugby sevens BBVA Compass Stadium February 1–2, 2013
2013 NBA All-Star Game NBA Basketball Toyota Center February 17, 2013


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Houston Oilers", TSHA Handbook of Texas Online, 2001-06-19. Retrieved 2007-03-31.
  3. ^ Guardian, Ian Madigan kicks Ireland to victory over US Eagles in Texas, June 9, 2013,