Sports in Omaha, Nebraska

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sports in Omaha, Nebraska are supported by a high attendance at events and tax support from the City of Omaha. Omaha, Nebraska is home to several professional sports teams and modern sports venues.

The city has hosted a number of important sporting events. Since 1950 Omaha has hosted the baseball College World Series. The Cox Classic golf tournament was part of the Tour from 1996 to 2013. The circuit returned to Omaha in 2017 with the Pinnacle Bank Championship.

Former sports clubs in Omaha include the USL Premier Development League's Flames soccer team; the American Association's Omaha Dodgers, two professional hockey teams, the Omaha Knights and the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, and a CBA Basketball Team, the Omaha Racers.

The 2006 College World Series Championship game at Rosenblatt Stadium.


Several sports have heritage in Omaha. The American Taekwondo Association was founded by Haeng Ung Lee in Omaha in 1969.[1] Alois P. Swoboda, the pioneer American physical culture at the turn of the 20th century. His revolutionary course "Conscious Evolution" inspired many American leaders in the fields of government, business, entertainment, law, athletics and medicine.


In 1972 the Cincinnati Royals of the National Basketball Association moved to a new primary home in Kansas City and a secondary home in Omaha, carrying the name Kansas City-Omaha Kings, the only time in the history of Omaha that they were home to a major-league sports team, despite sharing it with Kansas City. The team ceased Omaha operations in 1975 and became known as just the Kansas City Kings.

From 1988 to 1997 the Omaha Racers of the CBA played at Ak-Sar-Ben winning the CBA league championship in 1993. The only number retired by the Racers was Tim Legler's number 23.



The Omaha Beef indoor football team has played at Ralston Arena since 2013; it previously played at the Omaha Civic Auditorium. The Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League also began playing in 2010 at Rosenblatt Stadium, and at TD Ameritrade Park in 2011 until the league's folding in 2012. The city received a women's team in the Legends Football League named the Omaha Heart in 2013.[2]


The Cleveland White Autos vs. Omaha Luxus in 1915.

An early team in Omaha was the Luxus, who played with support from the Krug Brewery, and in 1915 played for the Amateur World Championship.

The Omaha Omahogs was a baseball team started in 1900 as part of the new Western League. Their name changed to the Omaha Indians in 1902. In 1904 the team was fielded as the Omaha Packers, and in 1906 as the Omaha Rourkes. They kept that name until 1921, when the name changed to the Omaha Buffaloes, which stuck until 1928 when it changed to the Omaha Crickets. In 1930 the team changed its name back to the Omaha Packers, and kept that name until 1935, when they moved to Council Bluffs and subsequently folded. A new team called the Omaha Robin Hoods formed in 1936, but moved to Rock Island, Illinois late in the year. The team reformed shortly thereafter as the Omaha Cardinals, remaining as such for several years.

In the 1940s, the African American players of the Omaha Rockets independent baseball team lived in North Omaha. The team played exhibition games against Negro League teams from across the U.S., and was the home of several important players.[3][4]

The Omaha Storm Chasers are the city's current minor-league baseball team. They are the AAA affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.

Baseball teams in Omaha[5]
Years Team Name League Notes
1879 Omaha Green Stockings Northwestern League
1888 Omaha Lambs Western Association
1892–1901 Omaha Omahogs Western League
1902–1903 Omaha Indians Western League
1904 Omaha Rangers Western League
1905–1920 Omaha Rourkes Western League
1921–1927 Omaha Buffaloes Western League
1928–1929 Omaha Crickets Western League
1930–1935 Omaha Packers Western League
1936 Omaha Robin Hoods Western League
1947–1959 Omaha Cardinals Western League
1961–62 Omaha Dodgers American Association
1969–1998 Omaha Royals American Association
1999–2001 Omaha Golden Spikes Pacific Coast League
2002–2010 Omaha Royals Pacific Coast League
2011– Omaha Storm Chasers Pacific Coast League

Omaha has served as host city of the College World Series—the final rounds of the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship, since 1950, initially at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, but now at TD Ameritrade Park. In 2008, the NCAA reached a 25-year agreement with the local organizers to continue hosting the College World Series in Omaha through at least 2035.[6]


Ice hockey is a popular spectator sport in Omaha. One of the current Omaha-area teams is the Omaha Lancers of the USHL. The Lancers started out in 1986 at Hitchcok ice arena before moving the now-demolished Ak-Sar-Ben, moved to Council Bluffs and the Mid-America Center in 2002, and the Omaha Civic Auditorium between the 2009–10 and 2011–12 seasons. Since 2012, the Lancers have played at the Ralston Arena in suburban Ralston.

The University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks men's ice hockey team plays their home games at Baxter Arena, which opened for the 2015–16 season. Founded in 1997 and joining the Central Collegiate Hockey Association 2 years later, the Mavericks enjoy a loyal and vocal fan base. They currently play in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, and made their first-ever appearance in the Frozen Four, the semifinal round of the NCAA Division I hockey tournament, in 2015.

The Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights were the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames. The Knights played their home games at the Civic Auditorium. Following the 2006–07 season the Knights were relocated to the Quad Cities due to mounting losses taken on by the Calgary organization, they were renamed the Quad City Flames and replaced the Quad City Mallards of the United Hockey League.[7] The franchise's attendance in the Quad Cities is lower[8] than it was in Omaha.

On February 9, 2013, at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, two hockey games took place as part of the Mutual of Omaha Battles on Ice. In game 1, the Lancers took on the Lincoln Stars, while in game 2, the Mavericks battled the University of North Dakota.

Indoor soccer[edit]

On August 18, 2010, the MISL announced on August 18, 2010, that it is expanding into Omaha starting with the 2010–11 season. The team, called Omaha Vipers, played at the Civic Auditorium but folded after the season when they were unable to secure an arena lease for the following season.


Martin Burns operated a successful wrestling school in Omaha in the 1910s.[9] Joe Stecher, a wrestler from rural Nebraska, won national professional wrestling champion title in Omaha in 1915. The American Wrestling Association's Omaha version of their World Heavyweight Championship was a professional wrestling championship sanctioned by promoters in and around the city from 1957 through 1964.

Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon, an early wrestling great, lived in Omaha until his death in 2013. Other wrestling figures, including Tony Osborne, Ted DiBiase, Paul "The Rapmaster" Neu, Sting and Baron von Raschke are originally from Omaha. The city is also notorious within the wrestling world for other reasons, including Chris Masters' 2005 claim that, "anywhere is better than Omaha, Nebraska", offering of $6000 for a plane ticket to anywhere else in the United States.

Omaha also hosted the WWE Judgment Day Pay-Per-View Event on May 18, 2008, which was held at the then-Qwest Center.

College Sports[edit]

Creighton University[edit]

The Creighton Bluejays compete in a number of NCAA Division I sports. In July 2013, Creighton became an invited member of the Big East Conference after more than 35 years in the Missouri Valley Conference. The men's basketball team plays their home games at the CHI Health Center, while the women's basketball and volleyball teams play on campus at D. J. Sokol Arena. Their men's and women's soccer teams play their home games at Morrison Stadium.

The most popular team of the Creighton University athletic department is their men's basketball program. They have amassed 17 consecutive postseason appearances, including nine appearances in the NCAA Tournament during that stretch. Overall, Creighton has 19 NCAA Tournament appearances.

During the 2006–07 season, Creighton ranked 13th in all of NCAA Division I basketball in average home game attendance, averaging 15,909 per game.

University of Nebraska Omaha[edit]

The Omaha Mavericks represent the University of Nebraska Omaha in NCAA Division I competition. They compete in the Summit League in all sports with the exception of ice hockey. The Mavericks hockey team became a charter member of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference in 2011, and left the Western Collegiate Hockey Association at the end of the 2012–13 season with NCHC play beginning the next season.


Main entrance to the Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium

Omaha's Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium was formerly home to the Omaha Royals, now known as the Omaha Storm Chasers. From 1950 to 2010, it also hosted the annual NCAA College World Series men's baseball tournament in mid-June.[10]

Downtown Omaha and the Near North Side is home to the CHI Health Center and Creighton University.[11]

Morrison Stadium is a 6,000-seat soccer-specific stadium located at 2500 California Plaza in the Near North Side neighborhood. The stadium is home to the Creighton Bluejays men's and women's soccer teams.

The Omaha Civic Auditorium arena, which closed in 2014, seated up to 9,300 people for sporting events. In the past, the arena was home to the Creighton Bluejays men's basketball team, the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) ice hockey team, the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights American Hockey League team, the NBA's Kansas City–Omaha Kings basketball team, the Omaha Beef indoor football team and the Omaha Lancers junior hockey team. The arena was the site of the Missouri Valley Conference men's basketball tournament title game in 1978 and 1981. It was also the site of the seventh WWF In Your House pay-per-view in 1996. The closure of the Auditorium temporarily left the Omaha area without a mid-sized indoor venue, a void filled with the October 2015 opening of UNO's Baxter Arena.[12][13]

Today the CHI Health Center in downtown Omaha hosts Creighton men's basketball and the Nebraska School Activities Association Nebraska State Wrestling Tournament annually. In 2008 the arena, then known as Qwest Center, hosted the First and Second Rounds of the NCAA Tournament, WWE Judgment Day 2008 and the USA Swimming Summer Olympic Trials. The venue again hosted the Olympic swimming trials in 2012 and 2016 under its second name, CenturyLink Center Omaha. The facility also hosted UNO's ice hockey team, the Omaha Mavericks, before the opening of Baxter Arena.[12]

In 2009, the Creighton women's basketball and volleyball teams left the Civic Auditorium and moved back to campus with the opening of D. J. Sokol Arena.

Two new baseball parks opened in the Omaha area within days of each other in April 2011. On January 21, 2009 Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey along with others broke ground on the new Omaha Baseball Stadium, which would later be named TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. This stadium, located in downtown Omaha, has a permanent capacity of 24,000, with the capability of expansion to 35,000 with temporary seating. Since its opening, it has been home of the College World Series, and is also home to Creighton's baseball program. The Royals initially planned to move into this stadium, but eventually decided that it was too large for their needs. They instead chose to build a smaller stadium, ultimately named Werner Park, in the suburb of Papillion, which also houses select games for Omaha Mavericks baseball annually. Following the 2010 season, the Royals changed their name to the Storm Chasers.

Ralston Arena opened in October 2012 in Ralston, a suburb of Omaha. It serves as the home of the Omaha Beef indoor football team, the Omaha Lancers junior hockey team, and was also home to Omaha Mavericks men's basketball from its opening through the 2014–15 season, after which that team moved into Baxter Arena.[14] The UNO women's team continued to play on campus at Lee & Helene Sapp Fieldhouse, the former home of the men's team, until it also moved into Baxter Arena in 2015–16.[15] Sapp Fieldhouse continues to serve as a part-time home for Mavericks women's volleyball alongside Baxter Arena.[16]

Sports venues in Omaha and vicinity
Venue Sport(s) Location Notes
Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium (defunct) Baseball, Football South 10th Street Home of the College World Series from 1950 to 2010, home of the Omaha Nighthawks UFL team in 2010. Demolished in 2011 to accommodate expansion of the adjacent Henry Doorly Zoo.
Morrison Stadium Soccer NoDo
Omaha Civic Auditorium Basketball, hockey, indoor football, volleyball Downtown. Closed in 2014.
CHI Health Center Basketball, hockey, wrestling, swimming NoDo Home of the 2008, 2012, and 2016 US Olympic Swimming Team Trials and Creighton men's basketball. Also home to Omaha Mavericks hockey before the 2015 opening of Baxter Arena. Originally Qwest Center; first renamed July 15, 2011, following the purchase of Qwest by CenturyLink. Received its current name on September 1, 2018, when a new naming deal with CHI Health took effect.
Hefflinger Park Simply Play Cricket SPC Ground Cricket Omaha Home of Outdoor & Indoor Cricket Fun SPC Omaha Premier League T20 & T16 Championship, ConAgra Cup, Knock Out Cup, ProKarma Cup, Tape Tennis Tournament, Youth Cricket, Indoor Cricket Tournament, teams participating in SPC are 90TH, Citadel, ConAgra 1, ConAgra 2, Des Moines Cric Tigers, Falcons, Mahindra Tigers, Nebraska Cricket Club, Nebraska Huskers, Omaha Royals, ProKarma, Riders, University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO Durangos), University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNCC), Warriors & many more........
D. J. Sokol Arena Basketball, volleyball Midtown On the Creighton campus; home to Bluejays women's basketball and women's volleyball.
TD Ameritrade Park Omaha Baseball, Football NoDo Home of the College World Series, Creighton Baseball, and the Omaha Nighthawks UFL team starting in 2011
Freedom Park Cricket Downtown Home of the Nebraska Cricket Club, and Cricket Association of Nebraska
Werner Park Baseball Papillion Opened in April 2011. Full-time home of the Omaha Storm Chasers (MiLB) and part-time home of the Omaha Mavericks baseball team
Lee & Helene Sapp Fieldhouse Basketball, volleyball Elmwood Park Opened in 1950. Part-time home of Omaha Mavericks women's volleyball; also full-time home of Mavericks women's basketball until that team moved into Baxter Arena.
Ralston Arena Basketball, Football Ralston Opened in October 2012. Home of the Omaha Lancers, and also of Omaha Mavericks men's basketball before the opening of Baxter Arena.
Baxter Arena Hockey, basketball, volleyball Midtown Opened in October 2015. Full-time home for Omaha Mavericks men's ice hockey and men's and women's basketball, and part-time home for women's volleyball. Includes a second ice rink, which doubles as a practice facility for Mavericks ice hockey and a community ice center.[12]

Notable athletes[edit]

Omaha is home to numerous important historical and modern sports figures. They include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About", American Taekwondo Association. Retrieved 10/08/07.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-30. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  3. ^ (n.d.) Mickey Stubblefield Profile
  4. ^ (n.d.) Barnstorming & Tournament Ball Archived 2006-11-12 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Omaha, Nebraska Minor League City Encyclopedia" Sports Reference. Retrieved 10/16/09.
  6. ^ "College World Series to stay in Omaha through 2035". 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2018-05-29. 
  7. ^ (2007) Flames announce relocation of American Hockey League franchise to the Quad Cities (Moline, IL)[permanent dead link]. Calgary Flames Franchise website. Retrieved 6/7/07.
  8. ^ AHL Attendance [1] AHL Website. Retrieved 2/5/09.
  9. ^ "Martin 'Farmer' Burns". Archived 2007-10-07 at the Wayback Machine. International Wrestling Institute and Museum. Retrieved 10/9/07.
  10. ^ Bohls, Kirk (2004-06-22). "This player at CWS knows all the scores". Cox News Service. Retrieved 2006-06-19. [permanent dead link]
  11. ^ (2006) A tale of two cities. At the Yard website. Retrieved 5/29/07.
  12. ^ a b c Burbach, Christopher (October 6, 2014). "UNO's rising arena, finances both solid". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  13. ^ "UNO's new athletic arena gets a name". Omaha World Herald. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  14. ^ "Omaha Releases 2015-16 Men's Basketball Schedule" (Press release). Omaha Athletics. July 15, 2015. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Omaha Women's Basketball Schedule Released for 2015-16" (Press release). Omaha Athletics. July 14, 2015. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Mavs Unveil 2015 Volleyball Schedule, Ticket Plans" (Press release). Omaha Athletics. July 28, 2015. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 

External links[edit]