Sports in Ohio

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Ohio is home to many professional and college sports teams. The metropolitan areas of Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus are home to major league professional sports teams in baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer.

Major league sports teams[edit]

Ohio is home to major professional sports teams in baseball, basketball, football, hockey, soccer, lacrosse, and rugby union. The state's major professional sporting teams include: Cincinnati Reds (Major League Baseball),[1] Cleveland Indians (Major League Baseball),[2] Cincinnati Bengals (National Football League),[3] Cleveland Browns (National Football League),[3] Cleveland Cavaliers (National Basketball Association),[4] Columbus Blue Jackets (National Hockey League),[5] Columbus Crew (Major League Soccer), and FC Cincinnati (Major League Soccer).[6]

Ohio played a central role in the development of both Major League Baseball and the National Football League. Baseball's first fully professional team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings of 1869, were organized in Ohio.[7] An informal early 20th century American football association, the Ohio League, was the direct predecessor of the NFL, although neither of Ohio's modern NFL franchises trace their roots to an Ohio League club. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton.

Ohio teams have won seven World Series (five for Cincinnati Reds, two for Cleveland Indians), nine NFL Championships (four for Cleveland Browns, two for Canton Bulldogs, one for Cleveland Rams, one for Akron Pros, one for Cleveland Bulldogs), one NBA Finals (Cleveland Cavaliers), four AAFC Championships (Cleveland Browns), and two MLS Cups (Columbus Crew).

Minor league teams[edit]

On a smaller scale, Ohio hosts minor league baseball, arena football, indoor football, mid-level hockey, and lower division soccer.

The minor league baseball teams include Triple-A East's Columbus Clippers (affiliated with the Cleveland Indians) and Toledo Mud Hens (affiliated with the Detroit Tigers), Double-A Northeast's Akron RubberDucks (affiliated with the Indians) and the High-A Central's Dayton Dragons (affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds) and Lake County Captains (affiliated with the Indians). The Mahoning Valley Scrappers were also affiliated with the Indians, playing the New York–Penn League before the 2021 Minor League Baseball reorganization and became a founding member of the MLB Draft League. Additionally, the Lake Erie Crushers play in the independent Frontier League.

Ohio's minor professional football teams include: Canton Legends 2005-2008 (American Indoor Football Association), Cincinnati Marshals 2005-2007 (National Indoor Football League), Cincinnati Sizzle (Women's Football Alliance), Cleveland Fusion (Women's Football Alliance), Cleveland Gladiators (Arena Football League), Columbus Comets (Women's Football Alliance), Mahoning Valley Thunder 2006-2009 (af2), Marion Mayhem 2006-2010 (Continental Indoor Football League), and Miami Valley Silverbacks 2006-2012 (Continental Indoor Football League).

Ohio's minor league hockey teams include: Cleveland Monsters (American Hockey League), Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL), and the Toledo Walleye (ECHL).

Ohio’s minor league basketball teams include: Burning River Buckets, (American Basketball Association)

Ohio has been home to teams in many lower-division soccer leagues. The second-level USL Championship (USLC) currently has no teams in the state, but has had Ohio teams in the past. The Dayton Dutch Lions played in the league, then known as USL Pro, from 2011 to 2014, after which it moved to the league then known as the Premier Development League and now as USL League Two (USL2), where it remains today. From 2016 to 2018, FC Cincinnati played in the USLC, then known as the United Soccer League, before being replaced by the current MLS team of the same name. The aforementioned Dayton Dutch Lions are the only current USL2 team that plays in Ohio. A second current USL2 team, the Cincinnati Dutch Lions, played home games in Cincinnati from 2014 to 2016, but now plays at Northern Kentucky University. Other past Ohio teams in USL2 are the Cincinnati Riverhawks (1997), Cincinnati Kings (2008–2012), Cleveland Internationals (2004–2010), Dayton Gemini (2000–2002), and Toledo Slayers (2003–2005). Ohio also has Cleveland SC, FC Columbus, and Toledo Villa FC of the National Premier Soccer League, and Columbus Eagles FC, Cleveland Ambassadors, and Cincinnati Sirens FC of the Women's Premier Soccer League.

Ohio is also home to the Cleveland Comets, a minor professional softball club, of National Pro Fastpitch.

Individual sports[edit]

Notable drivers from Ohio include Mauri Rose, Frank Lockhart, Ted Horn, Bobby Rahal, Sam Hornish Jr. and Tim Richmond. The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course has hosted several auto racing championships, including CART World Series, IndyCar Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, Can-Am, Formula 5000, IMSA GT Championship, American Le Mans Series and Rolex Sports Car Series.

The Grand Prix of Cleveland also hosted CART races from 1982 to 2007. The Eldora Speedway is a major dirt oval that hosts NASCAR Truck Series, World of Outlaws Sprint Cars and USAC Silver Crown Series races.

Ohio has several short ovals, including Eldora Speedway and Toledo Speedway. Notable dragstrips in Ohio include the National Trail Raceway and the Summit Motorsports Park.

Ohio hosts two PGA Tour events, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and Memorial Tournament. Columbus native Jack Nicklaus won 18 major golf tournaments, whereas Urbana native Pete Dye is a prominent golf course architect.

The Cincinnati Masters is an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament.

Former professional teams[edit]

Former major league teams:

College football[edit]

Ohio has eight NCAA Division I FBS college football teams, divided among three different conferences. It has also experienced considerable success in the secondary and tertiary tiers of college football divisions.

In FBS, representing the Big Ten, the Ohio State Buckeyes football team ranks 5th among all-time winningest programs, with eight national championships and seven Heisman Trophy winners. Their biggest rivals are the Michigan Wolverines, whom they traditionally play each year as the last game of their regular season schedule.

Ohio has six teams represented in the Mid-American Conference: the Akron Zips, Bowling Green Falcons, Kent State Golden Flashes, Miami RedHawks, Ohio Bobcats and Toledo Rockets. The MAC headquarters are in Cleveland.

The Cincinnati Bearcats represent the state in the American Athletic Conference.

The Youngstown State Penguins have been a perennial power at the Division I FCS level in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, having won four FCS titles.

In NCAA Division III, the Mount Union Purple Raiders boast a record-setting 13 national championships, most recently in 2017. Since 1996, the Purple Raiders have advanced to the Division III title game in all but three seasons, and appeared in 11 consecutive title games (2005–2015). They also boast two record winning streaks for D-III—55 straight wins overall from 2000 to 2003, and 112 straight regular-season wins from 2005 to 2016 (the latter breaking the school's own record of 110, set from 1994 to 2005).[8]

Stadiums and arenas[edit]

Stadium City Capacity Type Tenants Opened
Ohio Stadium Columbus 104,944 Football Ohio State Buckeyes 1922
FirstEnergy Stadium Cleveland 73,200 Football Cleveland Browns 1999
Paul Brown Stadium Cincinnati 65,790 Football Cincinnati Bengals 2000
Great American Ball Park Cincinnati 42,059 Baseball Cincinnati Reds 2003
Nippert Stadium Cincinnati 40,000 Football Cincinnati Bearcats 1915
Progressive Field Cleveland 38,000 Baseball Cleveland Indians 1994
InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field Akron 30,000 Football Akron Zips football 2009
Doyt Perry Stadium Bowling Green 28,599 Football Bowling Green Falcons 1966
Glass Bowl Toledo 26,248 Football Toledo Rockets 1937
TQL Stadium Cincinnati 26,000 Soccer FC Cincinnati 2021
Dix Stadium Kent 25,319 Football Kent State Golden Flashes 1969
Fred C. Yager Stadium Oxford 24,286 Football Miami RedHawks 1983
Peden Stadium Athens 24,000 Football Ohio Bobcats 1929
Stambaugh Stadium Youngstown 20,630 Football Youngstown State Penguins 1982
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Cleveland 20,562 Arena Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Monsters
1994 Field Columbus 20,000 Soccer Columbus Crew 2021
Nationwide Arena Columbus 19,500 Arena Columbus Blue Jackets 2000
Value City Arena Columbus 18,809 Arena Ohio State Buckeyes 1998
Heritage Bank Center Cincinnati 17,000 Arena Cincinnati Cyclones 1975
Wolstein Center Cleveland 13,610 Arena Cleveland State Vikings 1991
UD Arena Dayton 13,455 Arena Dayton Flyers
NCAA First Four
Fifth Third Arena Cincinnati 13,176 Arena Cincinnati Bearcats 1989
Convocation Center Athens 13,000 Arena Ohio Bobcats 1968
Nutter Center Dayton 10,464 Arena Wright State Raiders 1990
Fifth Third Field Toledo 10,300 Baseball Toledo Mud Hens 2002
Cintas Center Cincinnati 10,250 Arena Xavier Musketeers 2000
Huntington Park Columbus 10,000 Baseball Columbus Clippers 2009
Canal Park Akron 9,097 Baseball Akron RubberDucks 1997
Savage Arena Toledo 9,000 Arena Toledo Rockets 1976
Day Air Ballpark Dayton 8,500 Baseball Dayton Dragons 2000
Huntington Center Toledo 8,000 Arena Toledo Walleye 2009
Millett Hall Oxford 6,400 Arena Miami RedHawks 1968
James A. Rhodes Arena Akron 5,500 Arena Akron Zips 1983
Taft Coliseum Columbus 5,000 Arena High school 1918
Former venues
Future venues


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Official Site of the Cincinnati Reds". Major League Baseball. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
  2. ^ "The Official Site of the Cleveland Indians". Major League Baseball. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
  3. ^ a b "NFL Teams". National Football League. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
  4. ^ " Team Index". National Basketball Association. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
  5. ^ "NHL Teams". National Hockey League. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
  6. ^ "Major League Soccer Teams". Major League Soccer. Archived from the original on February 21, 2009. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
  7. ^ Griffith, Grant (2007). "Legend of the Cincinnati Red Stockings". Cincinnati Vintage Base Ball Club. Archived from the original on July 24, 2008. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
  8. ^ "Team Records: Additional Records" (PDF). 2016 Division III Football Records. NCAA. p. 13. Retrieved October 7, 2016.

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