Sports in New York City

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View of a night game at Yankee Stadium Between the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins.
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Horses march in the pre-race post parade at Belmont Park Racetrack.

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. 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.

Immigrants have always influenced sports in New York. Stickball, a street version of baseball, first became popular in the city's Italian and Irish neighborhoods. The popularity of cricket and soccer are growing with immigration from British Commonwealth countries.

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.

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[edit] 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.

[edit] Baseball

New York City is one of the few cities in United States (as well as Boston, Chicago, and St. Louis) in which baseball is the most popular sport in the 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. Outsiders are frequently unaware that few baseball fans in New York are fans of both teams at once.

There have been 14 Subway Series match-ups between the Yankees and their National League rivals; the Mets (once), and with the two teams that departed for California — 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. Two of the early teams moved, and the city now has has two Major League Baseball teams, the Yankees and the Mets, who were formed in 1962. The rivalry between the two teams is fierce.

[edit] Basketball

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. Continental Airlines Arena 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 in the near future which would make them the first major professional sports to play in the historic burough in half a century.

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

[edit] Football

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

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 in Hempstead at Hofstra University, they get more coverage in Long Island-based Newsday, and a larger percentage of their fans come from Long Island.

[edit] Hockey

Ice Hockey is also popular in New York. 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 play in the New Jersey Meadowlands, 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 same division, providing fans with intense rivalries.

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

[edit] New York City Teams

Club League Venue Established Championships
New York Yankees MLB Baseball Yankee Stadium 1901 26
New York Mets MLB Baseball Shea Stadium 1962 2
New York Rangers NHL Ice Hockey Madison Square Garden 1926 4
New York Islanders NHL Ice Hockey Nassau Coliseum 1972 4
New York Giants NFL Football Giants Stadium 1925 6
New York Jets NFL Football Giants Stadium 1960 1
New York Knicks NBA Basketball Madison Square Garden 1946 2
New York Liberty WNBA Basketball Madison Square Garden 1997 0
New York Red Bulls MLS Soccer Giants Stadium 1995 0
Long Island Lizards MLL Lacrosse Mitchel Field 2001 2
New York Titans NLL Lacrosse Madison Square Garden 2006 0
New York Athletic Club Rugby Super League Rugby Union Travers Island 1973 1
Old Blue Rugby Super League Rugby Union Pier 40 1964 0
New York Knights AMNRL Rugby League Falls Township Community Park 1997 1
Northern Raiders AMNRL Rugby League Andrews Field 2002 0
Brooklyn Wonders ABA Basketball TBA 2006 0
Staten Island Yankees Minor league baseball (A) Richmond County Bank Ballpark 1999 3
Brooklyn Cyclones Minor league baseball (A) KeySpan Park 1999 1
Long Island Rough Riders USL 2nd Division (Minor league soccer) Mitchel Field 1994 2

[edit] 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 a new arena 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 (ie 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. Planned for 2009, but delays in the bidding process makes that date seem unlikely.

New Jersey Devils: Moving to a new arena in Newark, construction has already begun, scheduled for completion 2008.

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.

[edit] 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. For a full listing of major sports franchises in and around New York City, see List of New York City sports teams.

[edit] Soccer

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.

[edit] Rugby

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 Falls Township Community Park. 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.

[edit] Cricket

The popularity of cricket and soccer are growing with immigration from British Commonwealth countries. The first children's Junior Cricket League in the United States opened in Brooklyn in 2004, bringing the number of cricket leagues in the city to seven.

[edit] Running

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.

[edit] Tennis

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.

[edit] Horse racing

Aqueduct Racetrack and Belmont Park feature horse racing all months of the year except August.

[edit] Sports 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 World Series championship by the New York Yankees is considered to be worthy of the highest celebration, including a ticker-tape parade for the victorious team. This is also perhaps because the city's baseball teams have had better winning records than the city's other teams, especially the football teams. New Yorkers, however, tend to rally around any of the local teams who win (such as the 1994 Stanley Cup champions New York Rangers). For most baseball fans, the most intense rivalry is between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

New York has an intense rivalry with the city of Boston, Massachusetts. This is perhaps the most infamous city rivalry in the United States.

[edit] See also

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