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Pro Sports Have A Great Home In Ohio
Whether you like football, baseball, soccer or something else, you’ll find a pro sports team to cheer for in Ohio. Football is huge in Ohio, and the pro programs here are second to none. In Cincinnati, the Bengals have ruled the National Football League since the team’s founding in 1968. In Cleveland, the Browns have been NFL stalwarts since the team was first formed in 1946. In Major League Baseball, the Cincinnati Reds boast five World Series titles and nine National League pennants. The Cleveland Indians have played at Progressive Field since 1994 and have won the World Series twice. Basketball is also a big deal here, and the Cleveland Cavaliers have won a national championship and many division and conference titles. They play in Quicken Loans Arena to an enthusiastic fan base.
The Buckeye State has a well-established series of successful pro, semi-pro, and minor league teams. The Columbus Blue Jackets play pro ice hockey out of Nationwide Arena but have yet to win an elusive Stanley Cup. Columbus Crew Soccer Club competes in Major League Soccer play from Mapfre Stadium. The Ohio Machine play professional men’s field lacrosse from Obetz and the Ohio Aviators play pro rugby.
Ohio Baseball Teams
The Reds & Indians
For well over 100 years, Major League Baseball has entertained the loyal fans of Ohio with the help of over five World Series titles, more than 10 Pennants, and numerous Hall of Fame players.
The Cincinnati Reds, in their current rendition, were founded way back in 1881, only to join the MLB’s National League in 1890.
Since then, the Reds have proven themselves as a historic MLB franchise, boasting a collection of World Series Championships and legendary players. The loyal baseball fans in Cincinnati are well aware, too.
In fact, during baseball season, Reds fans from all over southern Ohio head to downtown Cincy to catch a ballgame at the Great American Ball Park – one of the most renowned ballparks in all of Major League Baseball.
Opened in 2003, Great American Ball Park is known for its several distinct features, including the Power Stacks in centerfield, Crosley Terrace, Riverboat Deck, and the 4192 Mural, honoring Pete Rose’s 4,192 hits – good for most all-time in MLB history. For more Reds legacy factoids, be sure and check out the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum located on the west side of the ballpark.
Like several other states, Ohio has the luxury of featuring two MLB teams. Founded in 1901, the Cleveland Indians of the American League make their home in northeast Ohio; just minutes form the shores of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland.
Much like their southern counterparts, the Tribe are no strangers to a winning culture, possessing multiple World Series trophies and several AL Pennants. Donning navy, red, and white, the Wahoos, as they’ve been affectionately dubbed, play home games at Progressive Field.
Given the honor of “Best MLB Stadium” by Sports Illustrated in 2008, Progressive Field is a great place to catch a ball game – whether it’s from the stands or the Terrace Club.
Tribe fans frequently make their way down Interstate 90 from nearby Akron, Mentor, and Elyria for a chance to cheer on the Indians and enjoy the restaurants and shopping in the nearby Gateway District.
If the Big Leagues aren't your thing, be sure to catch an Akron Rubberducks game at Canal Park. There, future MLB-ers prep for the Majors and fight their way towards getting that ellusive call-up all season long – from early April until September. Plus, it's always fun to say you saw them before they were famous, isn't it?
The Cleveland Cavaliers
Now, Ohio may not feature two professional basketball teams, as it does with football and baseball.
But that hasn’t stopped basketball fans from as far as Cincinnati to Dayton to Columbus from enjoying the high-flying action each winter.
In northeast Ohio, the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association have been a Ohio fan-favorite since their inaugural season in 1970.
Several division titles, multiple Conference Titles, and a few Hall of Fame players later, the Cavs have become a household name for NBA fans nationwide.
The Cavs play home games at Quicken Loans Arena, set in the heart of downtown Cleveland. When taking in a game this season, basketball fans will not only be subject to some of greatest athletes on the planet, but they will also have the chance to take in the nightlife and retail found throughout the nearby Gateway District.
Back to basketball – Quicken Loans Arena has been the raucous home court advantage of the Cavaliers since 1994, seating over 20,000 wine, gold, and white clad basketball fans on game days. Be a part of the action this season – the Cavs will play 41 home games, taking on conference foes like the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics throughout the season.
Ohio Football Teams
The Browns & Bengals
A mainstay of American culture, the National Football League has a beloved home in the state of Ohio.
From major metropolitan areas like Cleveland and Cincinnati to suburbs like Akron and Mount Orab, Ohioans are always ready to cheer on their teams each and every fall.
Founded in 1946, the Cleveland Browns are one of the NFL’s eldest franchises, and have the deep history to match.
The Browns, named after legendary Ohio State Buckeyes coach and inaugural Cleveland Browns coach, Paul Brown, play home games at FirstEnergy Stadium in downtown Cleveland, where they frequently take on AFC North divisional rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers the Baltimore Ravens.
The Browns feature several distinct factors, including their unique helmet design, which is void of any traditional logo, and their legendary fan base, the Dawg Pound. These fans travel far and wide from areas along Lake Erie, like Norwalk, Mentor, and Elyria, to become members of the world-famous Dawg Pound.
If you find yourself in northeast Ohio anytime form September through December, you too can become a Dawg Pound Browns fanatic. Just be sure and pack some brown and orange.
However, if you’ll be in southern Ohio, you might want to keep your Browns jersey tucked away, as you’ll be in Bengals country.
Yes, one of only four states with more than one NFL team, Ohio is also home to the Cincinnati Bengals. Clad in tiger stripes, the Bengals are fierce in-state rivals with the Cleveland Browns, as they both compete in the rough and tough AFC North division.
Founded in 1968, the Bengals represent the Cincinnati metro area, including suburbs like Harrison, Oxford, and Mason. Fans continually pack the stands at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincy, affectionately chanting the phrase “Who Dey” as the Bengals take on all comers.
On game day, be sure to show up early for some famous Cincinnati chili and tailgating outside Paul Brown Stadium.
Ohio Hockey & Soccer Teams
The Blue Jackets & Crew of Columbus
Filling out Ohio’s sports calendar year, both the National Hockey Association and Major League Soccer play a prime role in the state’s fandom.
For starters, the Columbus Blue Jackets have made a name for themselves, not only as the first professional hockey team in the state, but also as an up-and-coming NHL franchise, soon to breakthrough and become a household name.
The Blue Jackets play home games at Nationwide Arena, set in downtown Columbus.
Hockey fans frequently travel to central Ohio from the nearby metro areas like Dayton, Cincinnati, and even Cleveland for a chance to witness the graceful, yet bone-crunching action in person.
Since 2007, players have been pipelined into the Blue Jackets by their American Hockey League affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters, whom share Nationwide Arena with the Blue Jackets.
So if during your visit, the Blue Jackets are on a lengthy road trip, don’t forget to check the Monsters’ home schedule, because they will likely be taking the ice at Nationwide Arena.
Also set in Columbus, the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer have been wowing home crowds at Mapfre Stadium since 1994. As one of the 10 charter teams of the MLS, the Crew feature a longstanding, championship pedigree, possessing multiple MLS Cups.
Mapfre Stadium has been welcoming soccer fans since its opening in 1999, and is also known as one of the first soccer-specific stadiums in the U.S. Head over to Mapfre and catch a game this season – the MLS season kicks off in March and runs until October. Be sure and pack some black and gold, and help cheer on the Crew during your Columbus adventure.