Sports in Ohio
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
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), Cleveland Indians (Major League Baseball), Cincinnati Bengals (National Football League), Cleveland Browns (National Football League), Cleveland Cavaliers (National Basketball Association), Columbus Blue Jackets (National Hockey League), the Columbus Crew (Major League Soccer), FC Cincinnati (Major League Soccer), and Ohio Machine (Major League Lacrosse).
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. 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 7 World Series (5 Cincinnati Reds, 2 Cleveland Indians), 9 NFL Championships ( 4 Cleveland Browns, 2 Canton Bulldogs, 1 Cleveland Rams, 1 Akron Pros, 1 Cleveland Bulldogs), 1 NBA Finals (Cleveland Cavaliers), 4 AAFC Championships (Cleveland Browns), 3 NBL Finals (2 Akron Firestone Non-Skids, 1 Akron Goodyear Wingfoots), 1 MLS Cup (Columbus Crew), 1 Negro World Series (Cleveland Buckeyes) and 1 Temple Cup (Cleveland Spiders).
Minor league teams
The minor league baseball teams include: Akron RubberDucks (affiliated with the Cleveland Indians), Lake Erie Crushers (independent), Columbus Clippers (affiliated with the Cleveland Indians), Dayton Dragons (affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds), Lake County Captains (affiliated with the Cleveland Indians), Mahoning Valley Scrappers (affiliated with the Cleveland Indians), and Toledo Mud Hens (affiliated with the Detroit Tigers).
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 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 AFC Cleveland of the National Premier Soccer League, and Columbus Eagles FC, Cleveland Ambassadors, and Cincinnati Sirens FC of the Women's Premier Soccer League.
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 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.
Former professional teams
Former major league teams:
- Akron Pros (NFL) (1920–1925)
- Canton Bulldogs (NFL) (1920–1923 and 1925–1926)
- Portsmouth Spartans (NFL) (1930–1933)
- Cincinnati Red Stockings (NL) (1876–1880)
- Cleveland Blues (NL) (1879–1884)
- Cleveland Spiders (AA-NL) (1887–1899)
- Cleveland Rams (NFL) (1936–1945)
- Cleveland Rebels (BAA) (1946–1947)
- Cincinnati Royals (NBA) (1957–1972)
- Cleveland Barons (NHL) (1976–1978)
- Cleveland Crusaders (WHA)(1972–1976)
- Cincinnati Stingers (WHA) (1975–1979).
- Dayton Triangles (NFL) (1920–1929)
- Cleveland Rockers (WNBA) (1997–2003)
- Columbus Destroyers (AFL) (2004–2008)
- Cincinnati Marshals (National Indoor Football League) (2005-2007)
- Mahoning Valley Thunder (af2) (2006-2009)
- Miami Valley Silverbacks (Continental Indoor Football League) (2006-2012)
- Cincinnati Kings (Premier Development League) (2005-2012)
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.
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).
Stadiums and arenas
- Former venues
- Cleveland Stadium (1931-1995; capacity: 83,000) – Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Browns
- Riverfront Stadium (1970-2002; capacity: 59,754) – Cincinnati Bengals and Cincinnati Reds
- Future venues
Nationwide Arena, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Quicken Loans Arena, home of the Cleveland Cavaliers
- "The Official Site of the Cincinnati Reds". Major League Baseball. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
- "The Official Site of the Cleveland Indians". Major League Baseball. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
- "NFL Teams". National Football League. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
- "NBA.com Team Index". National Basketball Association. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
- "NHL Teams". National Hockey League. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
- "Major League Soccer Teams". Major League Soccer. Archived from the original on February 21, 2009. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
- 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.
- "Lake County Captains". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
- "Mahoning Valley Scrappers". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
- "The Toledo Mud Hens". Toledo Mud Hens. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
- "Team Records: Additional Records" (PDF). 2016 Division III Football Records. NCAA. p. 13. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
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