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 has also occasionally hosted the Super Bowl, College Football Playoff semifinal game and the NCAA college basketball Final Four.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Professional sports teams[edit]

Club Sport League Founded Venue
New Orleans Saints American football National Football League 1967 Caesars Superdome
New Orleans Pelicans Basketball National Basketball Association 2002 Smoothie King Center
New Orleans Gold Rugby Major League Rugby 2018 Gold Mine on Airline



The New Orleans Hurricanes are member's of the Women's Football Alliance (2019–present).

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 Louisiana Jazz of the Women's Football Alliance (2002–2014), the New Orleans VooDoo of the Arena Football League (2004–2005, 2007-2008, and 2010–2015), the New Orleans Jazz football club of the Stars Football League (2011) and New Orleans Krewe of the US Women's Football League (2016).


Former college football teams in New Orleans include the Dillard Bleu Devils (1935–1965), the Loyola Wolf Pack (1921–1939) and the Xavier Gold Rush (1925–1960).

Special Football Games[edit]

Tulane Stadium was New Orleans' main venue for big games before the construction of the Louisiana Superdome (1979 photo)



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), New Orleans Pride of the Women's Professional Basketball League (1979–1981) and New Orleans Cougars of the American Basketball Association.


Special Basketball Games[edit]


Old Pelican Stadium, aka Heinemann Park, in 1921

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.



Former college boxing teams in New Orleans include the Loyola Wolf Pack.

Cross country[edit]



City Park Golf Course Map - 1938




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. The annual Louisiana Prep Classic state championship football games organized by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association have been held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome since 1981.

Horse racing[edit]

Horse racing on the current site of the Fair Grounds Race Course in 1839

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 Racetrack (1959–1992).[41]

Ice hockey[edit]


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

Ironman 70.3[edit]


The Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Lacrosse Series was held at Pan American Stadium from 2011–2015.[42][43][44][45][46][47]

The Allstate Sugar Bowl High School Lacrosse Classic first held in 2007 has been played at multiple locations in the New Orleans metropolitan area such as City Park, Lafreniere Park, LaSalle Park and Pan American Stadium.[48][49][50]

  • 2007: LaSalle Park[51]
  • 2008: LaSalle Park[52]
  • 2009: City Park[53]
  • 2010: Lafreniere Park[54]
  • 2011: Lafreniere Park[43]
  • 2012: Lafreniere Park[55]
  • 2014: Lafreniere Park[56]

Mixed martial arts[edit]


The 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.

New Orleans has hosted several auto races:

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.




Former rugby 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.[67] 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.[67]


Former professional 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).[68]




Former amateur/semi-pro soccer teams in New Orleans include the Louisiana Fire of the Gulf Coast Premier League (2016–2017).

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.[69]

New England Revolution vs. C.D. Olimpia -- An international friendly match between Major League Soccer's New England Revolution and Honduran soccer club C.D. Olimpia was played at Tad Gormley Stadium on March 25, 2007.[70]

Honduras national 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.[71]

Swimming and diving[edit]





Special Tennis Matches[edit]

Track and Field[edit]


Special Track and Field Meets[edit]



Special Volleyball Matches[edit]

Beach volleyball[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.[72]
  • WPVA New Orleans—The WPVA Pro Beach Volleyball Tour held women's tournaments in New Orleans in 1993, 1994 and 1995.[72]

Indoor volleyball[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.

Water sports[edit]

Fishing tournaments[edit]

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 Fried Chicken Restaurants and Copeland's Restaurants.[74] He was a six-time U.S. national champion and world champion in 1985 and 1986.


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.[75]

Regattas include:

  • Mardi Gras Race Week — New Orleans Yacht Club large One Design regatta held on Lake Pontchartrain.
  • Race to the CoastSouthern Yacht Club Regatta since 1849. Oldest continuously running point to point regatta in the Western Hemisphere United States.[76]
  • 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.[77]


  • In 1996, the Louisiana Superdome hosted the AAU Junior Olympics wrestling competition.[78]
  • The 2004 Armed Forces Wrestling Championship was held in the New Orleans area.[79]

See also[edit]


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