Sports in Houston
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.
Major league sports
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), Houston Dash (NWSL).
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. 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.
|Houston Texans||NFL||Football||NRG Stadium||2002||0||71,644|
|Houston Astros||MLB||Baseball||Minute Maid Park||1962||0||21,628|
|Houston Dash||NWSL||Soccer||BBVA Compass Stadium||2014||0||7,000|
|Houston Dynamo||MLS||Soccer||BBVA Compass Stadium||2006||2 (2006, 2007)||20,117|
|Houston Rockets||NBA||Basketball||Toyota Center||1967||2 (1994, 1995)||16,672|
Minor league and semi-pro sports
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.
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. The Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League existed in Houston from 1994 until 2013 when they were moved to become the Iowa Wild.
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.
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. 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.
|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
- "Houston Oilers", TSHA Handbook of Texas Online, 2001-06-19. Retrieved 2007-03-31.
- Guardian, Ian Madigan kicks Ireland to victory over US Eagles in Texas, June 9, 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/jun/09/ireland-usa-ian-madigan-houston