Sports in Memphis, Tennessee

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The FedEx Forum, home of the Memphis Grizzlies and the University of Memphis Tigers basketball teams.

Recreational sports in Memphis, Tennessee are supported in the city by Memphis Park Services, which offers a wide range of public facilities, including 17 swimming pools, 8 public golf courses, 48 athletic fields hosting a range of 510 youth and 269 adult teams, 130 basketball courts (101 outdoor and 29 indoor), 7 tennis centers and a soccer complex.[1] Memphis is also home to professional sports teams in basketball, baseball and other sports. Golf, basketball, baseball and tennis are popular recreational sports in Memphis.

Baseball[edit]

The entrance to AutoZone Park.

Memphis has had several professional baseball teams over the years, including the Memphis Chicks (1902–1960, 1978–1997), the Memphis Blues (1968–1976), and since 1998, the Memphis Redbirds of the Pacific Coast League. The Redbirds are a Triple A baseball farm team for the St. Louis Cardinals and play at AutoZone Park, a state-of-the-art baseball-only venue in downtown Memphis.

Basketball[edit]

The Memphis Grizzlies of the National Basketball Association is the only one of the "big four" major sports leagues in the city. The team played at the Pyramid Arena from 2001–2004 and then moved to the FedExForum in downtown Memphis.

The Memphis Tigers basketball team represents the University of Memphis in NCAA Division I men's college basketball. The Tigers compete in American Athletic Conference and play their home games at FedExForum.

The Memphis Houn'Dawgs was an American Basketball Association (ABA) team based in Memphis, Tennessee. The team began play in the fall of 2000. The team played in the DeSoto Civic Center in Southaven, Mississippi, and only played the 2000-2001 ABA season before disbanding. The name was an apparent nod to the proposed NFL franchise team, the Memphis Hound Dogs (in turn, a nod to the song of the same name by Elvis Presley) which never got off the ground.

Football[edit]

The University of Memphis Tigers football team plays their home games in Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. The Memphis Panthers is an amateur football team that plays in the North American Football League. The Panthers play at Halle Stadium.

Memphis has hosted several professional football teams for brief periods over the years. The Memphis Tigers played there in the late 1920s and early 1930s,.[2] In more recent years the city has been host to teams from five different professional leagues. Memphis held a franchise, the Memphis Southmen, in the short-lived professional World Football League (1974–1975). The Memphis Showboats played in the United States Football League (1984–1985). The Memphis Mad Dogs were an expansion franchise of the Canadian Football League in 1995. The NFL's Tennessee Titans, formerly known as the Houston Oilers, relocated to Memphis for one season (as the Tennessee Oilers) in 1997 before moving to Nashville. Most recently the Memphis Maniax represented the city in the XFL (2001). Each of these teams called the Liberty Bowl their home field.

Memphis also saw indoor football in the forms of the Memphis Pharaohs in the Arena Football League (1995-1996) who played home games at Pyramid Arena, and the Memphis Xplorers in AF2 (2000-2006) who played their home games at DeSoto Civic Center in the nearby suburb city of Southaven, Mississippi.

Golf[edit]

Golf is a very popular form of recreation in Memphis, which has eight municipal courses.[3] The City's first public facility, Galloway Golf Course, was created in 1923.[4] There are now over 30 public and private golf courses in the Memphis Metropolitan Area.[5] Memphis is home to the annual FedEx St. Jude Classic, a regular part of the PGA TOUR.

Ice hockey[edit]

The Mississippi RiverKings are a professional hockey team of the Southern Professional Hockey League. The RiverKings play at the Landers Center in nearby Southaven, Mississippi.

Motorsports[edit]

Memphis is also home to Memphis Motorsports Park, just north of the city on the outskirts of Memphis and Millington, TN. The venue has a 3/4-mile (1207 m) paved oval track that annually hosts 2 NASCAR-sanctioned events, a Busch-series race (the Sam's Town 250) and a Craftsman Truck series race (the O'Reilly 200). It also has a 1/4-mile (402 m) drag strip that annually hosts the NHRA POWERade O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals, as well as locally-sanctioned events that run from February to November.

Rugby[edit]

Memphis is also home to the Memphis Blues, a Rugby Union team, which plays at Tobey Field in Midtown, Memphis.

Memphis Women's Rugby is a women's senior club team (Rugby Union) which also plays at Tobey Field in Midtown, Memphis. The team is a member of USA Rugby South, Division II.[6]

Roller Derby[edit]

Memphis has an active presence in the derby world courtesy of Memphis Roller Derby. The team is a sanctioned member of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association and competes in the South Central Region. The Memphis league has four home teams that compete in intra-league bouts, plus one travel team that competes in other cities.

Tennis[edit]

Memphis Park Services maintains seven public tennis centers.[1] Memphis is home to the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships and the Cellular South Cup. The Regions Morgan Keegan Championships is an ATP event, and the Cellular South Cup is a WTA event. The senior event, the Stanford Championships started in Memphis, but it has since relocated to Dallas, Texas.

Wrestling[edit]

Memphis also has a fertile history when it comes to pro wrestling. The sport's greatest name to come out of the city is Jerry "The King" Lawler. Other greats who started out in Memphis include Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Mick Foley, "Macho Man" Randy Savage", and Ric Flair. Memphis has two pro-wrestling organizations, "Power-Pro Wrestling" which is filmed in the Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis, and Memphis Wrestling which is filmed in the DeSoto Civic Center in Desoto County, Mississippi.

Overview of Professional and Adult Amateur Teams[edit]

Club Sport League Venue
Memphis Grizzlies Basketball National Basketball Association FedExForum
Memphis Redbirds Baseball Pacific Coast League AutoZone Park
Mississippi RiverKings Ice hockey Southern Professional Hockey League Landers Center
Memphis Panthers Football North American Football League Halle Stadium
Memphis Blues Rugby union USA Rugby South Tobey Field
R.M.K. Cham. and the Cellular S.C. Tennis ATP & WTA ATP 500 & WTA Int. Racquet Club of Memphis

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Memphis Park Services
  2. ^ Lauderdale, Vance Ask Vance: Coach Houses Memphis Magazine March 1, 2008
  3. ^ City of Memphis - Park Services - Golf
  4. ^ History of The Memphis Park Services
  5. ^ Golflink - Memphis, TN Golf Courses
  6. ^ "Official Memphis Women's Rugby Website". 

MMA Former UFC Light Heavy Weight, and current #1 contender, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson was born and raised in Memphis.