Sports in New Orleans

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New Orleans is home to a wide variety of sporting events. Most notable are the home games of the New Orleans Saints (NFL) and the New Orleans Pelicans (NBA), the annual Sugar Bowl, the annual Zurich Classic (PGA Tour) and horse racing at the Fair Grounds Race Course. New Orleans also regularly hosts the Super Bowl, College Football Playoff semifinal game and the NCAA college basketball Final Four.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Football[edit]

Professional[edit]

Former football teams in New Orleans include the New Orleans Breakers of the United States Football League (1984) (which became the Portland Breakers), the New Orleans Night of the Arena Football League (1991–1992), the New Orleans Thunder of the Regional Football League (1999) and the New Orleans Jazz football club in the Stars Football League (2011).

College[edit]

Special Football Games[edit]

  • Pelican Bowl -- The Pelican Bowl was a NCAA Division II bowl game played in New Orleans in 1974 and 1975 that pitted the conference champions from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) to determine the black college football national championship.[8]

Basketball[edit]

Professional[edit]

Former professional basketball teams in New Orleans include the New Orleans Jazz of the NBA (1974–1980) (which became the Utah Jazz) and the New Orleans Buccaneers of the American Basketball Association (c. 1967–1970) (which became the Memphis Pros).

College[edit]

Special Basketball Games[edit]

  • Women's Final Four -- The Women's Final Four has been held in New Orleans in 1991, 2004 and 2013. The New Orleans Arena hosted the Women's Final Four in 2004 and 2013. Lakefront Arena hosted the women's Final Four in 1991.

Baseball[edit]

Professional[edit]

Former baseball teams in New Orleans include the Minor League New Orleans Pelicans (1887–1959; 1977) and the Negro League Detroit-New Orleans Stars (1960-1961), New Orleans Black Pelicans, New Orleans Eagles and New Orleans-St. Louis Stars (1940-1941).

College[edit]

Special Baseball Games[edit]

Auto racing[edit]

  • NOLA Motorsports Park -- NOLA Motorsports Park is a road race track in Avondale, Louisiana, approximately twenty minutes from downtown New Orleans. The north track circuit and kart circuit opened in 2011. The park also includes Red Creek NOLA, an offroad park that uses an additional 1,000 acres adjoining the property.

Special Auto Races[edit]

  • Grand Prix du Mardi Gras -- In 1991, 1992, and 1995, New Orleans was home to the Grand Prix du Mardi Gras. The IMSA sports car races took place on 2 different street circuits downtown. In 1991, streets near the riverfront were used for the race course. In 1992 and 1995, a course that ran around the Superdome was used.[13]

Bowling[edit]

Professional[edit]

  • Professional Bowling tournaments -- New Orleans played host to PBA Tour events in 1963, 1964, 1966-1978 and 1988-1990. A PBA Tour sponsored exhibition tournament took place in 2009 and 2010.

Boxing[edit]

New Orleans has long been home to boxing events.

  • Leonard–Durán II, also known as the No Más Fight, is one of the most famous fights in boxing history. Taking place on November 25, 1980 at the Louisiana Superdome, it was the second of three bouts between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Durán. In the match, Leonard defeated Duran to regain the WBC Welterweight Championship. The match gained its famous appellation in the end of the eighth round when Durán turned away from Leonard, towards the referee and quit by saying "No más" (Spanish for "No more").

Fishing tournaments[edit]

Golf[edit]

Professional[edit]

College[edit]

High school sports[edit]

New Orleans has produced many championship teams at the LHSAA and national levels. Schools have earned high national rankings in football, basketball, baseball and soccer.

Horse racing[edit]

New Orleans is home to the Fair Grounds Race Course, the nation's third-oldest thoroughbred track. The most prestigious race held at the track is the Louisiana Derby, a Grade II stakes prep for the Kentucky Derby. The race course opened in 1852 as the Union Racetrack and later became the Creole Racetrack.

Former horse racing tracks in the New Orleans area include Eclipse Track (opened 1837), Metairie Race Course (1838-1872), Bingaman Race Track, City Park Race Track (1905-1920), Jefferson Park Race Track (1918-1934) and Jefferson Downs (1950s-1990).[17]

Ice hockey[edit]

  • New Orleans Brass -- The New Orleans Brass was a former ice hockey team in New Orleans from 1997-2002.

Ironman 70.3[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

  • UFC 16 -- UFC 16 took place on March 13, 1998 at the Pontchartrain Center in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner, Louisiana. It featured the first ever UFC Lightweight tournament (for fighters under 170 lb), as well as a Middleweight Championship bout, a Heavyweight and a Middleweight Superfight, and two alternate bouts in case of tournament injury.
  • UFC 18 -- UFC 18 took place on January 8, 1999 at the Pontchartrain Center in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner, Louisiana. The event featured a UFC Lightweight Championship (now known as the Welterweight Championship) bout and six other bouts. UFC 18 was technically part two of what the UFC called "The Road To The Heavyweight Title", a tournament, spanning four events, held to crown the new UFC Heavyweight Champion after the title was vacated by Randy Couture.

Offshore powerboat racing[edit]

Offshore powerboat racing has had a long history in New Orleans, Louisiana. Races have been held in either Lake Pontchartrain or on the Mississippi River. The most commonly held race was the Popeye's Offshore Grand Prix held annually from 1983-1991. Other powerboat races took place in 1980, 1981, 1982, 2002, 2003 and 2008.

New Orleans was also the home port for the Popeyes Offshore race team from 1980–90. The race team was formed by Al Copeland Sr., the founder of Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken & Biscuits Restaurants and Copeland's Restaurants.[19] He was a six-time U.S. national champion and world champion in 1985 and 1986.

Professional bull riding[edit]

Professional Bull Riders, Inc. (PBR), a professional bull riding organization held competitions in the New Orleans Arena in 2000-2003, 2007 and 2010.

Roller derby[edit]

  • Big Easy Rollergirls -- The Big Easy Rollergirls is the name of a female roller derby league in New Orleans. It has approximately 60 active members.

Rugby[edit]

  • New Orleans Halfmoons -- The New Orleans Halfmoons, is a women's rugby team and member of USA Rugby. It is one of the oldest women's teams in the United States, and has hosted the annual "Throw Me Something, Rugger!" Mardi Gras Rugby tournament the weekend before Fat Tuesday since 1980.

Former rugby football clubs in New Orleans include the Crescent City Rugby Football Club (1976-1979)

Running[edit]

Soccer[edit]

New Orleans was one of the first cities in the world where modern soccer was played. Beginning in 1858 as a community sport, the sport became popular among many athletic clubs in the late 19th century. A semi-professional league consisting of some of the best players in the world, several of whom later played for first division teams in England and Scotland, briefly used the old grounds on what would become Pelican Stadium. [20]

Professional[edit]

Former soccer teams in New Orleans include the New Orleans Storm of the USL A-League (1993–1999) and FC New Orleans of the National Premier Soccer League as a provisional member (2012).

Swimming and Diving[edit]

College[edit]

Tennis[edit]

Professional[edit]

College[edit]

Track and Field/Cross country[edit]

College Track and Field[edit]

  • Tulane Green Wave -- The Tulane Green Wave men's track and field team and Tulane Green Wave women's track and field team represents Tulane University in NCAA Division I college track and field.

College Cross Country[edit]

Special Track and Field Meets[edit]

1992 United States Olympic track and field trials -- The 1992 United States Olympic track and field trials were held at Tad Gormley Stadium from June 19 - June 28. It was organised by USA Track and Field and served as the national championships in track and field for the United States. The results of the event determined qualification for the United States at the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona, Spain.

Volleyball[edit]

College[edit]

Special Volleyball Matches[edit]

  • Women's Volleyball Final Four -- The 2002 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball final four was held at the New Orleans Arena in December 2002.

Yachting[edit]

Clubs[edit]

New Orleans is home to the New Orleans Yacht Club and Southern Yacht Club, both of which are located at West End on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Southern Yacht Club was established in 1849 and is the second oldest yacht club in the United States.

Regattas[edit]

  • Sugar Bowl Regatta -- The Sugar Bowl Regatta has been held since 1934. The sailing competition is divided into two separate phases, over four two-day periods, beginning in late November and concluding on New Year's Eve.[21]

New Orleans Sports Teams[edit]

Club Sport League Founded Venue
New Orleans Saints American Football National Football League 1967 Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans Rugby Football Club Rugby Union Deep South Rugby Football Union 1973 Gretna Park
Big Easy Rollergirls Roller Derby Women's Flat Track Derby Association 1978 Mardi Gras World
New Orleans Zephyrs Baseball Pacific Coast League 1993 Zephyr Field
New Orleans Pelicans Basketball National Basketball Association 2002 Smoothie King Center
Louisiana Jazz Women's Football Women's Football Alliance 2002 St. Martin's Episcopal School
New Orleans Jesters Soccer Premier Development League 2003 Pan American Stadium
New Orleans VooDoo American Football Arena Football League 2004 Smoothie King Center
New Orleans Halfmoons Rugby Union USA Rugby 2005 Gretna Park

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ycn-7247486
  2. ^ http://www.allstatesugarbowl.org/site33.php
  3. ^ http://www.cbssports.com/nba/teams/history/NO/new-orleans-hornets
  4. ^ http://www.sabrneworleans.com/history.html
  5. ^ http://zurichgolfclassic.com/our-history.php
  6. ^ http://www.fairgroundsracecourse.com/about-track/history
  7. ^ "1976 Pro Bowl game book" (PDF). NFL Game Statistics & Information. National Football League. Archived from the original on January 30, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
  8. ^ At the time of the bowl's creation in 1972, the NCAA was divided into the "University Division" and "College Division". The current three-division setup was established in 1973. The conferences that participated in this game eventually became Division I conferences, and their members' football programs now compete in the Football Championship Subdivision.
  9. ^ "East-West Shrine Classic Games". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  10. ^ "Spring Training Sites for all American League Baseball Teams". baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  11. ^ "Spring Training Sites for all National League Baseball Teams". baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  12. ^ "Monster Energy Supercross Notes Package - New Orleans". http://www.sportsnola.com/. April 8, 2012. Retrieved 2013-09-12. 
  13. ^ http://www.na-motorsports.com/Tracks/LA/NewOrleans.html
  14. ^ "2012 Session Results Round 12 Triumph Big Kahuna New Orleans presented by Dunlop". http://www.amaproracing.com. 2012-10-08. Retrieved 2013-06-09. 
  15. ^ BoxRec Boxing Records. Boxrec.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-29.
  16. ^ "Big Bass History". neworleanscitypark.com. October 20, 2012. Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  17. ^ "NOLA History: Horse Racing in the Crescent City". gonola.com. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  18. ^ "UFC Fight Night: Shields vs. Ellenberger". ufc.com. 
  19. ^ http://www.copelandsphenomenon.com/about.htm
  20. ^ Crawford, Scott (2013). A History of Soccer in Louisiana: 1858-2013. New Orleans: LAprepSoccer Publishing Co. ISBN 1489521887. 
  21. ^ "Sugar Bowl, More Than Football". Sugar Bowl. January 25, 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-12.