Sports in New Jersey
New Jersey currently has four teams from major professional sports leagues playing in the state, although the Major League Soccer team and two National Football League teams identify themselves as being from New York.
The National Hockey League's New Jersey Devils, based in Newark at the Prudential Center, is the only major league franchise to bear the state's name. Founded in 1974 in Kansas City, Missouri as the Kansas City Scouts, the team played in Denver, Colorado as the Colorado Rockies from 1976 until the spring of 1982 when naval architect, businessman, and Jersey City native John J. McMullen purchased and relocated the franchise to Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford's Meadowlands Sports Complex under its current identity. While the organization was largely a failure on the ice in Kansas City, Denver, and its first years in New Jersey, the Devils would ultimately begin their rise to prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s under the tenure of Hall of Fame president and general manager Lou Lamoriello, winning the Stanley Cup in 1995, 2000, and 2003, and act as an annual fixture in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the majority of two decades. The organization is the youngest out of all nine "Big Four" major league teams within the New York Metropolitan Area and media market dominated in terms of ice hockey by the New York Rangers and Islanders prior to the Devils' arrival, but has ultimately been successful in establishing a visible and dedicated following throughout the northern and central portions of the state. In 2018, one of the Devils' fiercest rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, renovated and expanded their training facility, The Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone, in Voorhees Township in the southern portion of the state.
The New York Metropolitan Area's two National Football League teams, the New York Giants and the New York Jets, both play at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford's Meadowlands Sports Complex. At completion, with a construction cost of approximately $1.6 billion, the venue is the most expensive stadium ever built. On February 2, 2014, MetLife Stadium was the host for Super Bowl XLVIII.
The New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer play in Red Bull Arena, a soccer-specific stadium located in Harrison immediately across the Passaic River from downtown Newark. On July 27, 2011, Red Bull Arena hosted the 2011 MLS All-Star Game.
From 1977 to 2012, New Jersey had a National Basketball Association team, the New Jersey Nets. Also, WNBA's New York Liberty played in New Jersey from 2011 to 2013. In 2016, the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA opened their new headquarters and training facility, the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex, in Camden.
The Meadowlands Sports Complex is also home to the Meadowlands Racetrack, one of three major harness racing tracks in the state. The Meadowlands Racetrack along with Freehold Raceway in Freehold are two of the major harness racing tracks in North America. Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport is also a popular spot for thoroughbred racing in New Jersey and the northeast. It hosted the Breeders' Cup in 2007, and its turf course was renovated in preparation.
Major league sports
|New Jersey Devils||Ice hockey||NHL||Prudential Center (16,514)||1974||3|
|Metropolitan Riveters||Ice hockey||NWHL||Prudential Center (16,514)||2015||1|
|Sky Blue FC||Soccer||NWSL||Yurcak Field (5,000)||2007||1|
|New York Giants||Football||NFL||MetLife Stadium (82,500)||1925||8|
|New York Jets||Football||NFL||MetLife Stadium (82,500)||1959||1|
|New York Red Bulls||Soccer||MLS||Red Bull Arena (25,000)||1994||0|
Semi-pro and minor league sports
|Lakewood BlueClaws||Baseball||MiLB (A-SAL)||FirstEnergy Park (8,000)||1987||3|
|New Jersey Jackals||Baseball||CAN-AM||Yogi Berra Stadium (5,000)||1998||4|
|Trenton Thunder||Baseball||MiLB (AA-EL)||Arm & Hammer Park (6,150)||1980||3|
|Somerset Patriots||Baseball||ALPB||TD Bank Ballpark (6,100)||1997||6|
|Sussex County Miners||Baseball||CAN-AM||Skylands Stadium (4,200)||2015||0|
|Jersey Express||Basketball||ABA||Wayne YMCA||2005||0|
|New York Red Bulls II||Soccer||USL||MSU Soccer Park at Pittser Field (5,000)||2015||1|
New Jerseyans' collegiate allegiances are predominantly split among the three major NCAA Division I programs in the state – the Rutgers University (New Jersey's largest state university) Scarlet Knights, members of the Big Ten Conference; the Pirates of Seton Hall University (which is the state's largest Catholic university) Pirates, members of the Big East Conference;, and the Princeton University (the state's Ivy League university) Tigers.
Rutgers and Princeton likewise have an intense rivalry – stemming from the first intercollegiate football game in 1869 – though the two schools have not met on the football field since 1980. They continue to play each other annually in all other sports offered by the two universities.
Rutgers, which fields 24 teams in various sports, is nationally known for its excellent football and women's basketball programs. The university is planning a large expansion to the on-campus Rutgers Stadium – to accommodate the rising number of fans – and the teams play in Piscataway, which is adjacent to the New Brunswick campus. The university also fields rising basketball and baseball programs. Rutgers' fan base is mostly derived from the western parts of the state and Middlesex County, not to mention its alumni base, which is the largest in the state.
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, also has campuses in Camden and Newark (in addition to its main campus in New Brunswick). The Rutgers–Camden athletic teams are called the Scarlet Raptors. The Rutgers–Newark athletic teams are called the Scarlet Raiders. The Scarlet Raiders and the Scarlet Raptors both compete within NCAA Division III.
Seton Hall, unlike Rutgers, does not field a football team. Its basketball team, however, has been one of the most storied programs in the Big East, and it plays its home games at the state-of-the-art Prudential Center, located in downtown Newark. The Pirates, while lacking as large an alumni base as the state university, have a large well of support in the predominantly Roman Catholic areas of the northern part of the state and the Jersey Shore.
The state's other Division I schools include the Monmouth University Hawks (West Long Branch), the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Highlanders (Newark), the Rider University Broncs (Lawrenceville), and the Saint Peter's University Peacocks and Peahens (Jersey City).
Fairleigh Dickinson University competes in both Division I and Division III. It has two campuses, each with its own sports teams. The teams at the Metropolitan Campus are known as the FDU Knights, and compete in the Northeast Conference and NCAA Division I. The College at Florham (FDU-Florham) teams are known as the FDU-Florham Devils and compete in the Middle Atlantic Conferences' Freedom Conference and NCAA Division III.
Among the various Division III schools in the state, the Stevens Institute of Technology Ducks have fielded the longest continuously running collegiate men's lacrosse program in the country. 2009 marked the 125th season.
High school sports
New Jersey high schools are divided into divisions under the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.(NJSIAA) ' Founded in 1918, the NJSIAA currently represents 22,000 schools, 330,000 coaches, and almost 4.5 million athletes. Sports are divided between 3 seasons (fall, winter, and spring).
Academies and clubs
New Jersey also features a collection of sports leagues, clubs, and academies for athletic training. Like many suburban communities, most New Jersey towns have individual leagues for America's most popular sports - baseball, softball, football, cheerleading, basketball, soccer, etc.
Stadiums and arenas
|MetLife Stadium||East Rutherford||82,500||Stadium||New York Giants, New York Jets||2010|
|High Point Solutions Stadium||Piscataway||52,454||Stadium||Rutgers Scarlet Knights||1994|
|Princeton University Stadium||Princeton||27,800||Stadium||Princeton Tigers||1998|
|Red Bull Arena||Harrison||25,189||Stadium||New York Red Bulls||2010|
|Meadowlands Arena||East Rutherford||20,049||Venue||New Jersey Nets, New Jersey Devils, Seton Hall Pirates||1981–2015|
|Prudential Center||Newark||18,711||Venue||New Jersey Devils, Seton Hall Pirates||2007|
Other notable sports venues
- Old Bridge Township Raceway Park
- Trenton Speedway
- Atlantic City Race Course
- Freehold Raceway
- Garden State Park Racetrack
- Monmouth Park Racetrack
- Meadowlands Sports Complex
- List of college athletic programs in New Jersey
- Sports Hall of Fame of New Jersey
- New Jersey Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame
- Esteban (October 27, 2011). "11 Most Expensive Stadiums In The World". Total Pro Sports. Retrieved September 2, 2012.
- "Check out the Flyers renovated & expanded South Jersey training facility". Philadelphia Business Journal. February 22, 2018. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
- New Meadowlands Stadium official website Archived 2014-10-09 at the Wayback Machine. New Meadowlands Stadium Corporation. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
- Belson, Ken (April 8, 2010). "New Stadium, a Football Palace, Opens Saturday With Lacrosse". The New York Times. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
- Bondy, Filip (July 28, 2011). "Manchester United's 4-0 Romp Over MLS All-Stars More Proof U.S. Pro Soccer Not Up to Snuff". Daily News. New York. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
- Seltzer, Brian (September 23, 2016). "On the Beat: New Training Complex Brings Modern Feel, Promise". NBA.com. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
- New Jersey High School News and Sports Archived 2009-04-18 at the Wayback Machine.. iHigh.com, Inc – The High School Internet Network. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
- Jersey Club Sports - Have Fun. Play Sports. Be Social!
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