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]



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), the New Orleans VooDoo of the Arena Football League (2004–2008 and 2010–2015), the Louisiana Jazz of the Women's Football Alliance (2002–2014) and the New Orleans Jazz football club of the Stars Football League (2011).


Special Football Games[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). Other professional basketball teams include the New Orleans Hurricanes of the Professional Basketball League of America (1947), New Orleans Sports of the Southern Basketball League (1948–1949) and New Orleans Pride of the Women's Professional Basketball League (1979–1981).


Special Basketball Games[edit]


Baseball was first played in New Orleans as early as 1859. In that year, amateur baseball leagues played games on the grounds of Delachaise Estates in Uptown New Orleans and the Lone Star Base Ball Club was organized.[10]

There were many innovations in baseball that originated in New Orleans. The first spring training was held in New Orleans in 1870 as the Chicago White Stockings (now Chicago Cubs) traveled to the city to play the Cincinnati Red Stockings, but stayed several weeks to train.[10] The practice of covering the infield with a modified canvas tarpaulin on rainy days was first used in New Orleans in 1887.[10] On April 29, 1887, a recurring Ladies' Day was established to create an environment in the stands free of unsavory characters and conduct, as well as to make baseball a family oriented event.[10] In 1889, issuing "rain checks" for rained out games using a perforated ticket stub was invented in New Orleans by Abner Powell.[11]


Former baseball teams with the longest tenure in New Orleans include:

Former baseball teams in New Orleans include:


Special Baseball Games[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.



New Orleans has long been home to boxing events.

Fishing tournaments[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).[33]

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]


  • 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.

Special Auto Races[edit]

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.[39] 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. The league plays at the Human Performance Center.
  • New Orleans Brass Roller Derby -- New Orleans Brass Roller Derby is the name of a male roller derby team in New Orleans.


  • New Orleans Rugby Football Club (NORFC) -- The New Orleans Rugby Football Club, founded in 1973, is a men's rugby union club serving the greater New Orleans area. NORFC competes in Division I of the Deep South Rugby Football Union of USA Rugby. NORFC has won two club rugby national championships.
  • 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)



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.[40]


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).


Special Soccer Games[edit]

Chicago Fire Soccer Club vs. Real C.D. España -- An international friendly match between Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire Soccer Club and Honduran soccer club Real C.D. España was played at Tad Gormley Stadium on February 4, 2012.[41]

Honduras national football team vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies -- On March 28, 1982, in a World Cup tune-up match, the Honduras national football team played the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League to a 1–1 draw at Tad Gormley Stadium.[42]

Swimming and Diving[edit]





Track and Field/Cross country[edit]

College Track and Field[edit]

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.



Special Volleyball Matches[edit]

  • AVP New Orleans Open -- The AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour held the men's and women's New Orleans Open in 2015 and 2016. The AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour held the men's New Orleans Open in 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1999.[43]
  • WPVA New Orleans -- The WPVA Pro Beach Volleyball Tour held women's tournaments in New Orleans in 1993, 1994 and 1995.[43]
  • 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.



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.


  • Mardi Gras Race Week -- New Orleans Yacht Club large One Design regatta held on Lake Pontchartrain.
  • Race to the Coast -- Southern Yacht Club Regatta since 1849. Oldest continuously running point to point regatta in the Western Hemisphere United States.
  • 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.[44]

New Orleans Professional Sports Teams[edit]

Club Sport League Founded Venue
New Orleans Saints American Football National Football League 1967 Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans Baby Cakes Baseball Pacific Coast League 1993 Zephyr Field
New Orleans Pelicans Basketball National Basketball Association 2002 Smoothie King Center
New Orleans Jesters Soccer Premier Development League 2003 Pan American Stadium

See also[edit]


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  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. ^ a b c d "History of New Orleans Baseball". Retrieved 2015-02-08. 
  11. ^ Somers, Dale A. The Rise of Sports in New Orleans: 1850-1900. p. 132. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Worth, Richard. Baseball Team Names: A Worldwide Dictionary, 1869-2011. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company. pp. 200, 201. ISBN 9780786468447. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g "Early Baseball in New Orleans" (PDF). Retrieved February 9, 2015.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Diamonds in the Rough". Retrieved February 25, 2015. 
  15. ^ Somers, Dale A. The Rise of Sports in New Orleans: 1850-1900. Gretna, Louisiana: Pelican Publishing. p. 122. ISBN 1455611298. Retrieved February 8, 2015. 
  16. ^ a b "Earliest Baseball Clubs". Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
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  18. ^ "Negro Leagues of Louisiana". Retrieved February 25, 2015. 
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  21. ^ "Spring Training Sites for all National League Baseball Teams". Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  22. ^ "Marlins' Upcoming Game In New Orleans Triggers a Look Back". Retrieved 2015-03-29. 
  23. ^ "Superdome". Retrieved 2015-03-29. 
  24. ^ "Superdome - New Orleans Louisiana". Retrieved 2015-03-29. 
  25. ^ "Major League Baseball will return to New Orleans for the first time since 1999". The Times-Picayune/ Retrieved 2015-03-29. 
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  27. ^ "LSU Baseball Media Guide". Retrieved 2015-03-21. 
  28. ^ "Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic is poignant LSU tradition". Retrieved 2015-04-03. 
  29. ^ "Wally Pontiff, Jr.". Retrieved 2015-04-03. 
  30. ^ Cyber Boxing Zone – Jem Mace. Retrieved on 8 November 2009.
  31. ^ BoxRec Boxing Records. Retrieved on 2013-07-29.
  32. ^ "Big Bass History". October 20, 2012. Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  33. ^ "NOLA History: Horse Racing in the Crescent City". Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  34. ^ "UFC Fight Night: Shields vs. Ellenberger". 
  35. ^ "Monster Energy Supercross Notes Package - New Orleans". April 8, 2012. Retrieved 2013-09-12.  External link in |publisher= (help)
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  37. ^ "2012 Session Results Round 12 Triumph Big Kahuna New Orleans presented by Dunlop". 2012-10-08. Retrieved 2013-06-09.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  38. ^ "IndyCar commits to New Orleans race at NOLA Motorsports Park in 2015". The Times-Picayune/ 2014-05-04. Retrieved 2014-05-27. 
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  40. ^ Crawford, Scott (2013). A History of Soccer in Louisiana: 1858-2013. New Orleans: LAprepSoccer Publishing Co. ISBN 1489521887. 
  41. ^ "The Fire have scheduled a friendly February 4th against Honduran club Real Espana in Louisiana. ...". Hot Time In Old Town. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  42. ^ "Rowdies waive two; midfield help coming". Evening Independent. 26 March 1982. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  43. ^ a b "Pro beach volleyball tournament in Kenner". Retrieved 2015-06-08. 
  44. ^ "Sugar Bowl, More Than Football". Sugar Bowl. January 25, 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-12.