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 six professional major league teams: the Houston Astros (MLB), Houston Texans (NFL), Houston Rockets (NBA), Houston Dynamo (MLS), Houston Dash (NWSL), and Houston SaberCats (MLR). Houston does not have an NHL team.
The Astros won their first and only World Series title in 2017. However, shortly after the 2019 World Series in which the Astros were defeated by the Washington Nationals in seven games, evidence of the Astros illegally stealing signs from opposing players during their 2017 World Series run has since overshadowed their sole championship.
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. Meanwhile, the Rockets obtained two championships in a similar fashion, winning 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 NRG Astrodome, and also holds the NFL's first retractable roof stadium—NRG Stadium. Other facilities for major league teams in Houston include BBVA Stadium, a soccer-specific stadium. Aveva Stadium, the permanent home of the SaberCats is located in south Houston.
|Houston Texans||NFL||Football||NRG Stadium||2002||0||71,644|
|Houston Astros||MLB||Baseball||Minute Maid Park||1962||1 (2017)||31,628|
|Houston Dash||NWSL||Soccer||BBVA Stadium||2014||0||7,000|
|Houston Dynamo||MLS||Soccer||BBVA Stadium||2006||2 (2006, 2007)||20,117|
|Houston Rockets||NBA||Basketball||Toyota Center||1967||2 (1994, 1995)||16,672|
|Houston SaberCats||MLR||Rugby union||Aveva Stadium||2018||0||4,000|
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.
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 the Fertitta Center and Rice Stadium.
|University of Houston||Cougars||TDECU Stadium, Fertitta Center||American (FBS)|
|Rice University||Owls||Rice Stadium, Tudor Fieldhouse||C–USA (FBS)|
|Houston Baptist University||Huskies||Husky Stadium, Sharp Gymnasium||Southland (FCS)|
|Texas Southern University||Tigers||Health and Physical Education Arena||SWAC (FCS)|
|Prairie View A&M University
(in Prairie View)
|Panthers||Panther Stadium at Blackshear Field, William Nicks Building||SWAC (FCS)|
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. Since 1985, the Texas Southern Tigers and Prairie View A&M Panthers compete in the annual Labor Day Classic.
Every June since 2012, the U.S. national rugby team has played an international match against a top European team at BBVA Stadium, breaking attendance records for rugby matches in the U.S. The U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships, an 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. In motorcycling, the Astrodome hosted an AMA Supercross Championship round from 1974 to 2003 and the NRG Stadium since 2003.
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||Convention Center and streets of Houston||1972|
|Houston College Classic||February||Baseball||Minute Maid Park||2001|
|Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo||February / March||Rodeo||NRG Park||1932|
|Shell Houston Open||March||PGA 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|
|SWAC Championship Game||December||Football||NRG Stadium||2013|
|SWAC Basketball Tournament||March||Basketball||Toyota Center||2013|
Other major events
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (October 2019)
Houston has a cricket league for adults which, in 2016, had 30 teams and with the majority of players being immigrants from cricket-oriented countries; this league was established in the 1970s. In 2013 the first cricket club for children, Katy Youth Cricket, was established. The first youth league, Triggers Colts Cricket League, was established in 2014, as was the Sugar Land Youth Cricket Club and the North West children's cricket club. In 2015 Energy Corridor Cricket, also a children's club, was established. In September 2018 a cricket complex in Prairie View was scheduled to open.
- "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, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/jun/09/ireland-usa-ian-madigan-houston
- Kadifa, Margaret (2016-03-22). "'Cricket' isn't a bug to this group of youngsters". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2019-10-26.
- Collette, Mark (2018-07-18). "Major cricket complex in Prairie View is Houston man's field of dreams". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2019-12-28.