Sports in Detroit facts for kids
Detroit is home to four professional U.S. sports teams; it is one of twelve cities in the United States to have teams from the four major North American sports. Since 2017, it is the only U.S. city to have its MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL teams play within its downtown district (broadly defined) and one of only four U.S. cities to have said teams play within the city limits of their namesake.
All four teams compete within the city of Detroit. There are three active major sports venues within the city: 41,782-seat Comerica Park (home of the Detroit Tigers), 65,000-seat Ford Field (home of the Detroit Lions), and Little Caesars Arena (home of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons). Detroit is known for its avid hockey fans. Interest in the sport has given the city the moniker "Hockeytown." In 2008, the Tigers reported 3.2 million visitors with a 98.6 percent attendance rate.
In college sports, the University of Detroit Mercy has an National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I program. Wayne State University has a Division II program, and once had Division I teams in men's and women's ice hockey but has since dropped both sports. The NCAA football Quick Lane Bowl is held at Ford Field each December.
Detroit has bid to host Summer Olympic Games more often than any other city which has not yet hosted, participating in International Olympic Committee elections for the 1944 (placing 3rd, behind bid winner London), 1952 (5th place), 1956 (4th place), 1960 (3rd place), 1964 (2nd place), 1968 (2nd place) and 1972 (4th place) Games.
Oakland Hills Country Club, located in the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Township, has hosted numerous high-profile golf events. It has hosted the U.S. Open six times, most recently in 1996; the PGA Championship three times, most recently in 2008; the U.S. Senior Open in 1981 and 1991; the U.S. Amateur in 2002; and the Ryder Cup in 2004.
The Detroit Marathon is also organized annually in the city, usually held in October.
Detroit is home to the Detroit Indy Grand Prix. The race took place on the streets of downtown Detroit from 1982 until 1988, and then from 1989 (when the sanction moved from Formula One to IndyCars) at Belle Isle until now. The race was not held from 2002−2006.
The Virginia Slims of Detroit was a WTA Tour women's tennis tournament held from 1972 to 1983, which featured top ranked players such as Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.
The UFC 9 mixed martial arts event was held at Cobo Arena in 1996 and UFC 123 at the Palace of Auburn Hills in 2010.
The Professional Bowlers Association Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour holds the Motor City Classic at Taylor Lanes in the suburb of Taylor.
The city hosted the Red Bull Air Race in 2008 on the International Riverfront.
Sailboat racing is a major sport in the Detroit area. Lake Saint Clair is home to many yacht clubs which host regattas. Bayview Yacht Club, the Detroit Yacht Club, Crescent Sail Yacht Club, Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, The Windsor Yacht Club, and the Edison Boat Club each participate in and are governed by the Detroit Regional Yacht-Racing Association or DRYA. Detroit is home to many One-Design fleets including North American 40s, Cal 25s, Cuthbertson and Cassian 35s, Crescent Sailboats, Express 27s, J 120s, J 105, and Flying Scots. The Crescent Sailboat, NA-40, and the L boat were designed and built exclusively in Detroit. Detroit also has a very active and competitive junior sailing program.
Since 1904, the city has been home to the American Power Boat Association Gold Cup unlimited hydroplane boat race, held annually on the Detroit River near Belle Isle. Since 1916, the city has been home to Unlimited Hydroplane racing, held annually (with exceptions) on the Detroit River near Belle Isle. Often, the hydroplane boat race is for the APBA Challenge Cup, more commonly known as the Gold Cup (first awarded in 1904, created by Tiffany) which is the oldest active motorsport trophy in the world.
|Club||League||Venue||Founded||Ended||Fate of team||Titles in
|Detroit Wolverines||National League Baseball||Recreation Park||1881||1888||Team folded||1|
|Detroit Lightning||MISL||Cobo Arena||1979||1980||Team folded||0|
|Detroit Drive||AFL Arena Football||Joe Louis Arena||1988||1993||Team folded||4|
|Detroit Turbos||MILL Indoor Lacrosse||Joe Louis Arena||1989||1994||Team folded||1|
|Detroit Rockers||NPSL Indoor Soccer||Joe Louis Arena/
The Palace of Auburn Hills
|1990||2001||Team and League folded||1|
|Detroit Neon/Safari||CISL Indoor Soccer||The Palace of Auburn Hills||1994||1997||Team folded||0|
|Detroit Vipers||IHL Hockey||The Palace of Auburn Hills||1994||2001||Team and League folded||1|
|Detroit Fury||AFL Arena Football||The Palace of Auburn Hills||2001||2004||Team folded||0|
|Detroit Ignition||MISL/XSL Indoor Soccer||Compuware Arena||2006||2009||League folded||1|
|Detroit Cougars||NASL Soccer *||Tiger Stadium||1968||1968||Team folded||0|
|Detroit Express||NASL Soccer||Pontiac Silverdome||1978||1981||Washington Diplomats||0|
|Detroit Express||ASL Soccer||Pontiac Silverdome||1981||1984||League folded||1|
|Detroit Shock||WNBA Basketball||The Palace of Auburn Hills||1998||2009||Relocated to Tulsa as the Tulsa Shock; relocated again in 2016 as the Dallas Wings||3|
|Detroit Demolition||WPF Football||Livonia Franklin High School||2002||2011||Suspended play||5|
|Michigan Panthers||USFL Football||Pontiac Silverdome||1983||1984||Merged with the Oakland Invaders||1|
* In 1967, Detroit was selected as one of the cities to adopt a European professional soccer club in a bid to promote the game Stateside. The event was planned to coincide with Europe's off/close season when the teams would have otherwise been dormant for the summer. Detroit was represented by the Northern Irish team Glentoran, playing as the Detroit Cougars.
The following table shows the NCAA Division I and Division II college sports programs in the metro Detroit area:
|Michigan Wolverines||Division I (FBS)||Big Ten Conference||various, including Michigan Stadium and Crisler Center||Ann Arbor|
|Michigan State Spartans||Division I (FBS)||Big Ten Conference||various, including Spartan Stadium, Breslin Student Events Center, and Munn Ice Arena||East Lansing|
|Eastern Michigan Eagles||Division I (FBS)||Mid-American Conference||various, including Rynearson Stadium
and EMU Convocation Center
|Detroit Mercy Titans||Division I||Horizon League||various, including Calihan Hall||Detroit|
|Oakland Golden Grizzlies||Division I||Horizon League||various, including Athletics Center O'rena||Rochester|
|Wayne State Warriors||Division II||Great Lakes||various||Detroit|
There are also numerous small college athletic programs in the Detroit Metro area.
|Adrian College||Adrian Bulldogs||Division III||Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association||Adrian|
|Cleary University||Cleary Cougars||NAIA||Independent||Howell|
|Concordia University||Concordia Cardinals||NAIA||Wolverine-Hoosier||Ann Arbor|
|University of Michigan–Dearborn||UM-Dearborn Wolverines||NAIA||Wolverine-Hoosier||Dearborn|
|Madonna University||Madonna Crusaders||NAIA||Wolverine-Hoosier||Livonia|
|Rochester College||Rochester Warriors||NAIA||Wolverine-Hoosier||Rochester Hills|
|Lawrence Technological University||Lawrence Tech Blue Devils||NAIA||Wolverine-Hoosier||Southfield|
|Siena Heights University||Siena Heights Saints||NAIA||Wolverine-Hoosier||Adrian|
|Henry Ford College||Henry Ford Hawks||NJCAA||Michigan Community College Athletic Association||Dearborn|
|Macomb Community College||Macomb Monarchs||NJCAA||Michigan Community College Athletic Association||Warren|
|Oakland Community College||Oakland Raiders||NJCAA||Michigan Community College Athletic Association||Waterford|
|St. Clair County Community College||St. Clair Skippers||NJCAA||Michigan Community College Athletic Association||Port Huron|
|Schoolcraft College||Schoolcraft Ocelots||NJCAA||Michigan Community College Athletic Association||Livonia|
|Wayne County Community College District||Wayne County Wildcats||NJCAA||Michigan Community College Athletic Association||Detroit|
On December 13, 2003, what was then the largest verified crowd in basketball history (78,129) packed Ford Field to watch the University of Kentucky defeat Michigan State University, 79–74. Ford Field hosted the Final Four of the 2009 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.
The Frozen Four, the term for the semifinals and final of the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament, was held at Ford Field on April 8 and 10, 2010.
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