Sports in Indiana

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The state of Indiana is home to a number of professional and college sports teams, as well as prominent auto racing.

Professional sports teams[edit]

Indiana has a rich basketball heritage that reaches back to the formative years of the sport itself. Although James Naismith developed basketball in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891, Indiana is where high school basketball was born. In 1925, Naismith visited an Indiana basketball state finals game along with 15,000 screaming fans and later wrote "Basketball really had its origin in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport." The 1986 film Hoosiers is inspired by the story of the 1954 Indiana state champions Milan High School.

As of 2013 Indiana has produced more National Basketball Association (NBA) players per capita than any other state. Muncie has produced the most per capita of any American city, with two other Indiana cities in the top ten.[1] Professional basketball player Larry Bird was born in West Baden Springs and was raised in French Lick. He went on to lead the Boston Celtics to the NBA championship in 1981, 1984, and 1986.[2]

The Indiana Pacers of the NBA play their home games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse; they began play in 1967 in the American Basketball Association (ABA) and joined the NBA when the leagues merged in 1976.

Indianapolis is home to the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are members of the South Division of the American Football Conference. The Colts have roots back to 1913 as the Dayton Triangles. They became an official team after moving to Baltimore, MD, in 1953. In 1984, the Colts relocated to Indianapolis, leading to an eventual rivalry with the Baltimore Ravens. After calling the RCA Dome home for 25 years, the Colts currently play their home games at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. While in Baltimore, the Colts won the 1970 Super Bowl. In Indianapolis, the Colts won Super Bowl XLI, bringing the franchise total to two. In recent years the Colts have regularly competed in the NFL playoffs.

List of current professional and amateur teams[edit]

Club Sport Established League
Evansville Otters Baseball 1995 Frontier League
Evansville Thunderbolts Ice hockey 2016 Southern Professional Hockey League
FC Indiana Soccer 2003 Women's Premier Soccer League
Fort Wayne Komets Ice hockey 1952 ECHL
Fort Wayne Mad Ants Basketball 2007 NBA G League
Fort Wayne TinCaps Baseball 1993 Midwest League
Gary SouthShore RailCats Baseball 2002 American Association
Indiana Fever Basketball 2000 Women's National Basketball Association
Indiana Pacers Basketball 1967 National Basketball Association
Indianapolis Colts Football 1953/1984 National Football League
Indianapolis Indians Baseball 1902 International League
Indy Eleven Soccer 2014 USL Championship
Indy Fuel Ice hockey 2014 ECHL
Northwest Indiana Oilmen Collegiate Summer Baseball Team 2012 Midwest Collegiate League
South Bend Cubs Baseball 1988 Midwest League

*Denotes a club that is on hiatus

List of former professional and amateur teams[edit]

Club Sport Years League
Chi-Town Shooters Ice hockey 2008–11 All American Hockey League
Elkhart Express Basketball 2006–09 International Basketball League
Evansville Crush Indoor Soccer 2010–13 Premier Arena Soccer League
Evansville IceMen Ice hockey 2008–10 All American Hockey League
Evansville IceMen Ice hockey 2010–2016 ECHL
Evansville Jr. Thunderbolts Junior ice hockey 2015–2019 North American 3 Hockey League
Evansville Kings Indoor Soccer 2013–14 Premier Arena Soccer League
Fort Wayne Fever Soccer 2003–09 USL Premier Development League
Gary Steelheads Basketball 2000–08 International Basketball League
Hammond Pros Football 1920-26 National Football League
Illiana Blackbirds Junior ice hockey 2012–2016 MnJHL/USPHL
Indiana Blizzard Ice hockey 2010 All American Hockey League
Indiana Ice Junior ice hockey 2004–2014 United States Hockey League
Indiana Invaders Soccer 1998–2011 USL Premier Development League
Indianapolis Racers Ice hockey 1974-1978 World Hockey Association

College sports[edit]

Indiana has had great sports success at the collegiate level. NCAA Division I athletic programs in the state are:

Team City Type Conferences
Ball State Cardinals Muncie State Mid-American Conference (FBS)
Butler Bulldogs Indianapolis Private
/ non-sectarian
Big East Conference
/ Pioneer Football League (FCS)
Evansville Purple Aces Evansville Private
/ Methodist
Missouri Valley Conference (non-football)
Indiana Hoosiers Bloomington State Big Ten Conference (FBS)
Indiana State Sycamores Terre Haute State Missouri Valley Conference
/ Missouri Valley Football Conference (FCS)
IUPUI Jaguars Indianapolis State Horizon League (non-football)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish South Bend Private
/ Catholic
Atlantic Coast Conference / FBS independent
Purdue Boilermakers West Lafayette State Big Ten Conference (FBS)
Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons Fort Wayne State Summit League (non-football)
(Horizon League in July 2020)
Valparaiso Crusaders Valparaiso Private
/ Lutheran
Missouri Valley Conference
/ Pioneer Football League (FCS)


Indiana has an extensive history with motorsport. Indianapolis hosts the Indianapolis 500 mile race over Memorial Day weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway every May since 1911. The name of the race is usually shortened to "Indy 500" and also goes by the nickname "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." The race attracts over 250,000 people every year, making it the largest single day sporting event in the world. The track also hosts the Brickyard 400 of the NASCAR Cup Series since 1994. From 2000 to 2007, it hosted the United States Grand Prix (Formula One). Form 2008 to 2015, it hosted the Indianapolis motorcycle Grand Prix.

Indiana features the world's largest and most prestigious drag race, the NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, held each Labor Day weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Indiana.

Notable short ovals in Indiana include Anderson Speedway (Little 500), Indiana State Fairgrounds (USAC Silver Crown Hoosier Hundred), Salem Speedway (ARCA, USAC Silver Crown), Terre Haute Action Track (USAC Silver Crown, Hut Hundred, Hulman Classic), and Winchester Speedway (ARCA). The Indiana Sprint Week is held in July, and the Indiana Midget Week takes place in June.

Indiana is also host to a major unlimited hydroplane racing power boat race circuits in the major H1 Unlimited league, the Madison Regatta (Madison).

Horse racing[edit]

Pari-mutuel betting was legalized in 1989. Hoosier Park opened in Anderson in 1994, and off-track betting parlors opened in the state in 1995. Indiana Downs opened in Shelbyville in 2002. Hoosier Park became a racino on 2008 and Indiana Downs did the same in 2009.

Sports venues[edit]

Facility Seating Capacity City
Indianapolis Motor Speedway 257,325 Speedway
Notre Dame Stadium 80,795 South Bend
Lucas Oil Stadium 63,000 Indianapolis
Ross–Ade Stadium 62,500 West Lafayette
Memorial Stadium 52,929 Bloomington
Lucas Oil Raceway 30,000 Brownsburg
Scheumann Stadium 25,400 Muncie
Bankers Life Fieldhouse 18,165 Indianapolis
Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall 17,456 Bloomington
Mackey Arena 14,240 West Lafayette
Allen County War Memorial Coliseum 13,000 Fort Wayne
Memorial Stadium 12,764 Terre Haute
Victory Field 12,496 Indianapolis
Michael Carroll Stadium 12,111 Indianapolis
John E. Worthen Arena 11,500 Muncie
Hulman Center 10,200 Terre Haute
Ford Center 10,000 Evansville
Edmund P. Joyce Center 9,800 South Bend
New Castle High School Field House 9,325 New Castle
Hinkle Fieldhouse 9,100 Indianapolis
Anderson Wigwam 8,996 Anderson
Parkview Field 8,100 Fort Wayne
Muncie Fieldhouse 7,635 Muncie
Bud and Jackie Sellick Bowl 7,500 Indianapolis
Indiana Farmers Coliseum 6,300 Indianapolis
U.S. Steel Yard 6,000 Gary
Indiana State College Arena 5,500 Terre Haute
Bosse Field 5,181 Evansville
Compton Family Ice Arena 5,022 South Bend
Stanley Coveleski Regional Stadium 5,000 South Bend

List of Championships[edit]

Team League Total Season
Fort Wayne Mad Ants G League 1 2013-14
Indiana Fever WNBA 1 2012
Indiana Pacers ABA 3 1969-70, 1971-72, 1972-73
Indianapolis Colts NFL 1 2006
Evansville Otters Frontier League 2 2006, 2016


  1. ^ Fischer-Baum, Reuben (2013-06-17). "Infographics: Where Do Pro Basketball Players Come From?". Deadspin. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
  2. ^ "Larry Bird Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story -".

External links[edit]