Sports in New York City

Sports in New York City

Sports in New York City have a long and distinguished history. The city has a few historic sports venues: Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1913 until 1957, was torn down in 1960, and the Polo Grounds in northern Harlem was the home of the New York Giants of Major League Baseball from 1911 to 1957 (and the first home of the New York Mets) before being demolished in 1964. The Mets, who currently play at Shea Stadium will be moving into the newly constructed CitiField in 2009. Also the current Madison Square Garden, atop Pennsylvania Station in Midtown Manhattan, is actually the "fourth" separate building to use that name; the first two were near Madison Square, hence the name, and the third was at 50th Street and Eighth Avenue. Also, Yankee Stadium, home of the New York Yankees, is considered one of the most historic venues in North American sports.

New York City was also the host of parts of the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, and the 1998 Goodwill Games. In 2005, it bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, but lost to London.

New York City has teams in the four major North American professional sports leagues, each of which also has its headquarters in the city.

Baseball is the city's most closely followed sport. There have been fourteen World Series championship series between New York City teams, in matchups called Subway Series. New York is one of only three cities (Chicago and Los Angeles being the others) to have two baseball teams. The city's two current Major League Baseball teams are the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. The city also was once home to the New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants) and the Brooklyn Dodgers (now the Los Angeles Dodgers). Both teams moved to California in 1958. There are also two minor league baseball teams in the city, the Staten Island Yankees and Brooklyn Cyclones.

The city is represented in the National Football League by the New York Jets and New York Giants (officially the New York Football Giants), although both teams play their home games in Giants Stadium in nearby New Jersey.

The New York Rangers represent the city in the National Hockey League, calling Madison Square Garden home.

In soccer, New York is represented by the Major League Soccer side, Red Bull New York. The "Red Bulls" also play their home games at the Giants Stadium in New Jersey.

The city's National Basketball Association team is the New York Knicks and the city's Women's National Basketball Association team is the New York Liberty. The first national college-level basketball championship, the National Invitation Tournament, was held in New York in 1938 and remains in the city. [cite web |url= |title=Postseason Overview |publisher=National Invitation Tournament |accessdate=2007-06-06] Rucker Park in Harlem is a celebrated court where many professional athletes play in the summer league.

As a global city, New York supports many events outside these sports. Queens is host of the U.S. Tennis Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments. The New York City Marathon is the world's largest, and the 2004-2006 runnings hold the top three places in the marathons with the largest number of finishers, including 37,866 finishers in 2006. [ ['s_Largest_Marathons.html World's Largest Marathons] , Association of International Marathons and Distance Races. Accessed June 28, 2007.] The Millrose Games is an annual track and field meet whose featured event is the Wanamaker Mile. Boxing is also a very prominent part of the city's sporting scene, with events like the Amateur Boxing Golden Gloves being held at Madison Square Garden each year.

Many sports are associated with New York's immigrant communities. Stickball, a street version of baseball, was popularized by youths in working class Italian, German, and Irish neighborhoods in the 1930s. In recent years several amateur cricket leagues have emerged with the arrival of immigrants from South Asia and the Caribbean. [cite video |people=Sas, Adrian (Producer) |year=2006 |url=|title=It's my Park: Cricket |medium=TV-Series |location=New York City |publisher=Nystv]

Major sports

The New York metropolitan area is the only one in the United States with more than one team in each of the four major sports, with nine such franchises.


Baseball is generally considered to be the most popular sport in New York City.

A "Subway Series" between city teams is a time of great excitement, and any World Series championship by either the New York Yankees or the New York Mets is considered to be worthy of the highest celebration, including a ticker-tape parade for the victorious team. For many baseball fans, the most intense rivalry is between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, but in the city the rivalry between the Yankees and the Mets is almost as fierce.

There have been 14 Subway Series World Series match-ups between the Yankees and their National League rivals; the Mets (once), and with the two teams that departed for California in the 1950s — the New York Giants (7 times) and Brooklyn Dodgers (6 times).

New York City is also home to two minor league baseball teams that play in the short-season Class A New York - Penn League. The Brooklyn Cyclones are a Mets affiliate, and the Staten Island Yankees are affiliated with the Yankees.

Three early clubs, the New York Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees, were among the most storied clubs of professional baseball, and were home to such players as Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth. The city currently has two Major League Baseball teams, the Mets (who were formed in 1962 to replace the Dodgers and, to a lesser extent, the Giants), and the Yankees.


The first national college-level basketball championship, the National Invitation Tournament, was held in New York in 1938 and remains in the city. The New York Knicks are the city's National Basketball Association team. The New Jersey Nets have announced plans to move to Brooklyn, but have not yet begun construction of their new arena, which is the subject of an acrimonious debate.

At Madison Square Garden, New Yorkers can watch the New York Knicks play NBA basketball, the New York Liberty play in the WNBA. At the Izod Center in the Meadowlands, located across the Hudson River in New Jersey, is home to the New Jersey Nets NBA basketball team. The New Jersey Nets are set to become the Brooklyn Nets or the New York Nets in the near future, the first major professional sports team to play in the historic borough in half a century.

Rucker Park in Harlem is a celebrated court where many NBA athletes play in the summer league.


New York's NFL teams, the New York Giants and New York Jets, play in Giants Stadium, which is located in New Jersey.

Before the opening of Giants Stadium, the Giants played in Yankee Stadium and the Jets in Shea Stadium. Neither team plays in the city itself presently, as both teams play at Giants Stadium, located in the Meadowlands complex in East Rutherford, NJ, and plan to share a new stadium to be constructed nearby. Due to their longer history and generally greater on-field success, the Giants are considered by many people to be the more popular team; they joined the National Football League (NFL) in 1925. The Jets, originally called the New York Titans, were founded in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League (AFL), changed their nickname to the Jets in 1963, and joined the NFL as part of the AFL/NFL merger in 1970.

It is argued that the Jets may actually be more popular with New York's younger generations than the Giants. The Jets are also seen more as "Long Island's Team", which is supported by the fact that they make their home base Fact|date=October 2007 in Hempstead at Hofstra University, they used to play at Shea Stadium which is close to Nassau County, they get more coverage in Long Island-based Newsday, and a larger percentage of their fans come from Long Island.

On February 4, 2008, the Giants won Super Bowl XLII, displacing the New York Yankees as the most recent sports team in the city to win a major league championship.


The New York Rangers of the National Hockey League play in Madison Square Garden. The Rangers are one of the Original Six -- a term given to the six NHL teams in existence before the league expanded in 1967.

The NHL's New Jersey Devils played in the New Jersey Meadowlands at the Continental Airlines Arena, now the Izod Center, before moving to the Prudential Center, while the New York Islanders, the third NHL team in the Metro area, play their home games in Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. All three teams play in the Atlantic Division, providing fans with intense rivalries.

There is an intense rivalry between the Rangers and Devils who have met in the playoffs five times, including a dramatic 7 game series in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, ending in a double-overtime goal by the Rangers' Stephane Matteau. The Devils took a 3-2 series lead into Game 6 in New Jersey and jumped out to a 2-0 lead. However, Mark Messier's famous guarantee and hat-trick led the Rangers to victory and a seventh game. As time wound down in Game 7, the Rangers were clinging to a 1-0 lead on a goal when New Jersey's Valeri Zelepukin tied the game with 7.7 seconds left in regulation to silence the Garden crowd and send the game into overtime, where Matteau won it for the Rangers. The two teams have met four other times in postseason play; the Devils' win in 2006 was their only playoff series victory over the Rangers.

Though the rivalry has cooled recently, the Islanders and Rangers had a bitter rivalry in the 1970s and the 1980s, as the Islanders won four consecutive Stanley Cup titles. The two teams have met eight times in the playoffs, with the Islanders winning five of those matchups.

The NHL's headquarters are also located in New York City.

New York City Teams

Current issues

All nine major sports franchises play in buildings that will either be replaced or refurbished in the next few years, but these plans are subject to change.

New Jersey Nets: Potentially moving to the proposed Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

New York Jets and New York Giants: After a proposal to build a stadium on the West Side of Manhattan, as part of the City's bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics (which eventually went to London), and aborted attempts to find another suitable home in places such as Flushing Meadows, the Jets and Giants have joined forces to build a new stadium to host both teams on the site of their current home, the Meadowlands. That agreement, however, is in jeopardy, over whether or not to build a retractable roof on the new stadium. The state, which is providing funding for the project, favors a roof, citing it would help bring big events (e.g., the Super Bowl, Final Four, winter concerts, etc.) and additional financial windfall. The Giants and, to a lesser extent, the Jets do not want a roof, fearing that NFL rules regarding a stadium with a retractable roof will eliminate a significant home field advantage, eliminating late season weather conditions as an obstacle for the visitor. The Giants say they will walk away from the project rather than build the stadium with a roof. The new stadium is scheduled to be completed in 2010.

New York Yankees: Replacing Yankee Stadium with a New Yankee Stadium, scheduled to be completed in 2009.

New York Mets: Replacing Shea Stadium with Citi Field, also scheduled to open in 2009.

New York Islanders: Rebuilding the Nassau Coliseum, as well as developing much of the land around it. It has been planned to begin completely revamping the coliseum in the offseason of 2009 and take place over two offseasons, but delays make that date seem unlikely despite the support of the county and local community. The development of the surrounding land will take place at the same time but is not limited to the same offseason restrictions.

New Jersey Devils: Moved to the Prudential Center in Newark; opened in October 2007.

New York Rangers and New York Knicks: Plans have been made to refurbish or rebuild Madison Square Garden. It would be the 5th edition of the arena.

Other Sports

A city as large and diverse as New York does not restrict itself to the four major sports, however. The New York metropolitan area is also home to professional soccer and lacrosse teams, such as Red Bull New York in Major League Soccer and both the Long Island Lizards and the New Jersey Pride in Major League Lacrosse. New York is also considered to be the "world capital" of one-wall handball. For a full listing of major sports franchises in and around New York City, see List of New York City sports teams.

Gaelic games

Gaelic games have been played in New York since the foundation of the Gaelic Athletic Association. New York is considered a GAA county and plays in the Connacht Senior Football Championship.


Soccer's popularity in the city is such that jerseys from the English, Irish and Brazilian teams as well as the Liga Mexicana appear in Manhattan as frequently as those of the Mets or the Knicks. In addition to the current Major League Soccer team Red Bull New York, the area was home to the New York Cosmos, arguably the most popular American soccer team ever. Playing in the defunct NASL, the Cosmos were known for fielding some of the world's greatest players including Pelé and Franz Beckenbauer albeit in the waning years of their professional careers. Red Bull {and the Cosmos before them}live in a paradox of being considered a minor, and largely ignored team by the citizens of the city it represents while at the same time, through the global popularity and media coverage of soccer, being arguably more world famous than many of the teams that represent the city in the big four leagues.


Rugby is growing in popularity in New York. The city has two division one rugby union teams, the New York Athletic Club RFC, which was established in 1973 and the Old Blue, both who play in the Rugby Super League (rugby union). The city has numerous other amateur rugby union clubs as well, paying in the New York Metropilitan Rugby Footbal Union. The clubs have contributed to the national team, the Eagles, who have participated at the Rugby World Cup. The City contributes actively with two amateur rugby league sides, Northern Raiders, who play at Andrews Field, and the New York Knights, who play at Hudson River Park's Pier 40 in Manhattan. The Raiders have yet to win a trophy but the Knights last won the Championship in 2002. New York City consistently produce players of international standard who play in the United States national rugby league team who will soon be competing in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup qualifying semi-final in the UK.

New York Cricket

With around 20% of the New York City area's population originating from a cricket playing nation, it is not surprising that cricket's popularity is rising. [cite video|people=Sas, Adrian (Producer)|year=2006|url=|title=It's my Park: Cricket|medium=TV-Series|location=New York City|publisher=NYCTV] The majority of players are expatriate and look to cricket to provide a link back to their homes: Often teams are composed of one ethnic or national background - and linked to local social clubs.

Since the players are mostly politically weak and financially-strapped immigrants, the sport lacks consistent central funding. Combine these factors with the politics and mis-management of the USACA, and the result is that most facilities are poor; there are no turf wickets (most cricket is played on coconut matting), the outfields are often shared with active soccer games, and the facilities are rudimentary.

Despite all the challenges, the standard of cricket can be very good with ex-test and regional representatives playing in some leagues (eg the Commonwealth League). Like any other weekend sport there are also places for the less-skilled enthusiast to play (eg. the Tri State World Series League).

New York is the center of the region's cricket, the nexus between all the activity in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. Most clubs play in the major parks in the outer boroughs, for example:

Bronx - Van Courtlandt ParkBrooklyn - Prospect Park/Breezy PointQueens - Flushing Meadow/Randall's IslandNote - there are no cricket grounds on Manhattan.

Most teams also play further afield. The oldest cricket team in America is based in Staten Island, and there are other active teams from Hoboken, New Jersey to Greenwich, Connecticut.


The New York City Marathon is an annual marathon foot-race run over a 26.2 mile course through the five boroughs of New York City. Next to the Boston Marathon, it is considered the pre-eminent long-distance annual running event in the United States.

The race is produced by the New York Road Runners and has been run every year since 1970. In recent years, it has also been sponsored by financial giant ING. It is held on the first Sunday of November and attracts professional competitors and amateurs from all over the world. Because of the popularity of the race, participation is limited to 35,000 entrants chosen by a lottery system, with preference given to previous participants.

The Millrose Games is an annual indoor track and field meet held on the first Friday in February in Madison Square Garden since 1914. The games were started when employees of the Wanamaker's department store formed the Millrose Track Club to hold a meet. The featured event is the Wanamaker Mile.


The U.S. Tennis Open is the fourth and final event of the "Grand Slam" tennis tournaments and is held annually in late summer at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens. The main tournament consists of five championships: men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles and mixed doubles, with additional tournaments for junior and wheelchair players.

Horse racing

Aqueduct Racetrack (the Big A) and Belmont Park feature horse racing all months of the year except August. Aqueduct is located within the city limits in Ozone Park, while Belmont is situated just outside the city, in Elmont, New York. Harness racing is offered at Yonkers Raceway north of the city and Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Arena Football

The New York Dragons are the current AFL team for NY. They play at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY.

Auto Racing

The CART series held a race at the Meadowlands from 1984-1991. ISC and NASCAR unsuccessfully attempted to build a speedway in Staten Island. Another possible Meadowlands speedway project (Liberty Speedway) was discussed but abandoned in the early 2000s.

ports culture

Although in much of the rest of the country American football has surpassed baseball as the most popular professional sport, in New York baseball arguably still stirs the most passion and interest. A championship win by any major sports team is considered to be worthy of the highest celebration, including a ticker-tape parade for the victorious team. In the past, ticker-tape parades have been held for the Yankees, Mets, Giants and Rangers. New Yorkers, however, tend to rally around any of the local teams who win (such as the 1994 Stanley Cup champions New York Rangers, or the 2007 New York Giants).

Due to their geographic locations, New York has an intense sports rivalry with the cities of Boston and Philadelphia. Aside from the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, the intra-division competition between teams like the Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles, the Jets and the New England Patriots, and the Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies. In hockey these rivalries also exist to an extent with teams such as the Philadelphia Flyers. However, the New York NHL teams' primary rivals are one another- since, unlike baseball, the three local NHL teams are in the same division and are therefore in direct competition with one another.

ee also

*Sports in Brooklyn


External links

* [ New York City Sports Travel Guide]

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