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Sports in Chicago

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Title: Sports in Chicago  
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Subject: Chicago, Chicago Red Hots, Joliet JackHammers, Women's American Basketball Association, Dunbar Park (Chicago)
Collection: Sports in Chicago, Illinois
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Sports in Chicago

Chicago is the home of many professional sports teams and one of four U.S. cities to have teams from the five major American professional team sports (baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer). The city was a candidate city for the 2016 Summer Olympics but lost to Rio de Janeiro.[1] Upon the USOC reaching a new revenue sharing agreement with the IOC, Chicago has been mentioned as a potential candidate for the 2024 Summer Olympics.[2] Chicago also hosted the 1959 Pan American Games. Chicago has been named as the Best Sports City by Sporting News three times in 1993, 2006, and 2010.

Wrigley Field is the home of the Chicago Cubs.


  • Major league teams 1
    • Baseball (MLB) 1.1
    • Basketball (NBA, WNBA) 1.2
    • Football (NFL) 1.3
    • Ice hockey (NHL) 1.4
    • Soccer (MLS) 1.5
  • Minor league teams 2
    • Baseball 2.1
    • Hockey 2.2
    • Arena football 2.3
    • Roller derby 2.4
    • Rugby 2.5
    • Other sports 2.6
  • Olympics 3
  • Motorsports 4
  • College sports 5
  • Former teams 6
    • Baseball 6.1
    • Basketball 6.2
    • Football 6.3
    • Hockey 6.4
    • Lacrosse 6.5
    • Soccer 6.6
  • See also 7
  • References 8

Major league teams

The following is a list of active, professional major-league Chicago sports teams, ranked by attendance:

Club League Sport Venue Attendance Founded Championships
Chicago Bears NFL Football Soldier Field 62,358 1919 1 Super Bowl, 8 League Championships (Pre-Super Bowl)
Chicago Cubs MLB Baseball Wrigley Field 32,625 1870 2 World Series wins (and 1 tie), 10 NL Pennants, 1 NA Pennant
Chicago White Sox MLB Baseball U.S. Cellular Field 22,105 1900 3 World Series, 7 AL Pennants
Chicago Bulls NBA Basketball United Center 21,876 1966 6 NBA Championships
Chicago Blackhawks NHL Ice hockey United Center 21,775 1926 6 Stanley Cups
Chicago Fire MLS Soccer Toyota Park 16,409 1997 1 MLS Cup, 4 U.S. Open Cups, 1 Supporters Shield
Chicago Sky WNBA Basketball Allstate Arena 5,573 2006 0

Baseball (MLB)

Chicago is one of four metro areas in the United States that has two Major League Baseball teams, the other three being Los Angeles, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area, and is one of only two, along with New York, which has both teams in the central city.

The Chicago Cubs of the National League play at Wrigley Field, which is located in the north side neighborhood of Lakeview, the western part of which is commonly referred to as "Wrigleyville."[3] The Cubs' rivalry with the St. Louis Cardinals is one of the most bitter in North American professional sports. The Cubs are the oldest team to play continuously in the same city since the formation of the National League in 1876.[4]

The Chicago White Sox of the American League play at US Cellular Field, which is located in the South Side neighborhood of Armour Square. They have played in Chicago since the formation of the American League in 1900.

The United Center is the home of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks.

Basketball (NBA, WNBA)

The Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association is a professional basketball team. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen led the Bulls to six NBA championships in two "threepeats" from 1991–1993 and again from 1996–1998.[5] The new generation of Bulls, known as "The Baby Bulls", emerged in 2005.[6] In 2007, they swept the defending champs, the Miami Heat. In 2011, led by league MVP Derrick Rose, the Bulls made it to the Eastern Finals, losing to the Miami Heat.

Chicago is home to the Chicago Sky of the Women's National Basketball Association.

Football (NFL)

Soldier Field is the home of the Chicago Bears.

The Dick Butkus, Gale Sayers, Walter Payton, and coach Mike Ditka. The Bears are one of the original teams of the NFL, founded by Halas in 1919 in Decatur, Illinois. They currently have the most players inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with 26.[7] In 1985, the Bears won Super Bowl XX 46-10 over the New England Patriots.[8] In the 2006 season, the Bears once again made it to the Super Bowl, but lost 29-17 to the Indianapolis Colts.[9] They were led by coach Lovie Smith.

The Bears' rivalry with the Green Bay Packers dates back the 1920s, and is one of the most intense in American professional sports.[10] The Bears have other regional and divisional rivalries with the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions.[11]

Ice hockey (NHL)

The Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League is the city's professional ice hockey team, and are an Original Six team. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013,[12] and again in 2015.[13] The Blackhawks receive national attention for the intense rivalries with the Detroit Red Wings, also an Original Six team.[14] Other rivalries include the Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues (former Norris Division rivals), and the Nashville Predators. Some well-known players include: Stan Mikita, Tony Esposito, Bobby Hull, Keith Magnuson, Glenn Hall, Denis Savard, Steve Larmer, Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios, and Ed Belfour.

Soccer (MLS)

The Chicago Fire, a member of Major League Soccer, have won one MLS Cup and four U.S. Open Cups since they entered the league in 1998. The Fire won their sole MLS Cup in 1998, their inaugural season, led by head coach Bob Bradley, who later went on to coach the U.S. national soccer team.[15] The Fire have played since 2006 at Toyota Park, a soccer-specific stadium located in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview near Midway Airport. The Fire have historically drawn an attendance average of over 15,000 fans per game.[16] The Fire originally played at Soldier Field,[17] also spending parts of two seasons at Cardinal Stadium in Naperville. Some notable former players include Cuauhtémoc Blanco from Mexico, Brian McBride from the USA, and Peter Nowak from Poland – a demonstration of the team's international flavor.

Chicago is home to the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women's Soccer League.

Minor league teams

The following is a list of active minor league, semi-pro, and amateur Chicago sports teams, ranked by year of establishment:

Club League Sport Venue Established Championships
Chicago Lions RFC RSL Rugby union Lions for Hope Clubhouse and Field[18] 1964 0
Chicago Griffins RSL Rugby union Schiller Park 1973 0
Chicago Wolves AHL Ice hockey Allstate Arena 1994 2 Turner Cups, 2 Calder Cups
Chicago Force WFA Women's American football Lazier Field at Evanston Township High School 2003 1 IWFL Eastern Conference Championship (2008)
Windy City Rollers WFTDA Roller derby UIC Pavilion 2004 0
Chicago Bandits NPF Softball The Ballpark at Rosemont 2005 3 World: 2008, 2011, 2015; 3 Regular Season: 2005, 2006, 2008
Chicago Outfit Roller Derby WFTDA Roller derby Windy City Field House 2007 0
Chicago Red Stars NWSL Soccer Benedictine University 2007 0
Chicago Cardinals CIFL Indoor football Odeum Expo Center 2009 0
Chicago Bliss LFL Women's American Football Sears Centre 2009 2 (2013, 2014)
Chicago Carnage MLRH Inline Hockey Salt Creek Sports Center 2010 0
Chicago Stockyarders Rugby League 2010 0
Schaumburg Boomers Frontier Baseball Schaumburg Baseball Stadium 2011
Chicago Wildfire AUDL Ultimate Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex 2013
Sudden Impact Hockey Club UPDHL Hockey Darien Sportsplex 2010 3
Chicago Mustangs MASL Indoor Soccer Sears Centre 2012 1
Chicago Red Hots USARS Roller Derby Cicero Stadium 2013 0


The Chicago metropolitan area is home to one Major League Affiliate Team: the Kane County Cougars, a Class-A Affiliate of the Chicago Cubs minor league baseball team that plays in suburban Geneva, Illinois as part of the Midwest League;

Non affiliated baseball teams follow: the Gary SouthShore RailCats, members of the independent American Association, the Schaumburg Boomers, Joliet Slammers and Windy City ThunderBolts (based in Crestwood), members of the independent Frontier League; and the Lake County Fielders (based in Zion), members of the North American League. The McHenry County K-Nines (based in Woodstock) are slated to join the Frontier League in 2013.

A view of Chicagoland Speedway


The Chicago metropolitan area is also home to the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League and the Chi-Town Shooters of the All American Hockey League. The Chicago Wolves have been successful, making numerous playoff appearances and winning the Turner and Calder cups many times. Playing in suburban Bensenville are the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League, a Tier One Junior Hockey league, the only tier one junior league in the United States.

Arena football

The Chicago metropolitan area was also home to the Chicago Rush of the Arena Football League, who played at Allstate Arena in Rosemont. The Rush won its first championship in 2006, ArenaBowl XX.[19] Chicago was also home to the Chicago Bruisers from 1987 to 1989, an original team in the AFL's inaugural season in 1987. The Bruisers hosted ArenaBowl II.[20][21]

The Chicago Rush has been a member of the Arena Football League since 2001, and won ArenaBowl XX, playing in suburban Rosemont, although they now played in Rockford, as of 2013. The team has been defunct since 2013.

The Arena Football League front office is based in Chicago.

Roller derby

Chicago is home to two all-female roller derby leagues; Chicago Outfit Roller Derby and Windy City Rollers of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association.[22] As of November 2013, Windy City is ranked 8th worldwide out of over 175 WFTDA members,[23] hosted the WFTDA Championship in 2010,[24] and play their home games at UIC Pavilion.[25]

The Chicago area is also home to the Chicago Red Hots, an amateur roller derby club affiliated with USA Roller Sports under the US Olympic Committee,[26] who play at the Cicero Stadium. The Red Hots participated in the 2013 National Championship where they placed 4th in the nation.[27]


The Chicago Griffins and Chicago Lions both play in the Rugby Super League

Chicago Stockyarders rugby league team played in 2010's AMNRL's War at the Shore in a 7s match against the Northern Raiders.[28]

Other sports

Chicago is home to the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch softball league.

Chicago is home to the Chicago Force of the Independent Women's Football League, as well as the Chicago Bliss of the Legends Football League.

The Chicago area has also played host to the WWE's WrestleMania multiple times, most recently for WrestleMania 22.[29] Five-time world champion CM Punk is a Chicago native who still lives in the city. Chicago has also hosted major professional wrestling matches, including WrestleMania 22, and several other pay-per-view events, such as Money in the Bank in 2011, Extreme Rules in 2012, and WWE Payback in 2013.[30][31][32]

Starting just off Navy Pier is the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, a 333-mile (289 nmi; 536 km) offshore yacht race held each July. It is the oldest annual freshwater distance race in the world. 2015 marks the 107th running of the "Mac".[33]


After a months' long process that saw the elimination of several American and international cities, Chicago was selected on April 14, 2007, to represent the United States internationally in the bidding for the 2016 Summer Olympics.[34] The International Olympic Committee eventually shortlisted four of the seven applicant cities, where Chicago remained, before Rio de Janeiro was elected as the host in 2009.[35] Chicago had previously hosted the 1959 Pan American Games. Chicago was selected to host the 1904 Summer Olympics, but they were transferred to St. Louis to coincide with the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.[36]


The area is home to the Chicagoland Speedway, which is based in Joliet.[37] The track currently hosts four NASCAR races (GEICO 400, STP 300, Dollar General 300, American Ethanol 225). The track formerly held the Peak Antifreeze Indy 300.[38]

College sports

Seven NCAA Division I schools reside in the Chicago metropolitan area. The DePaul Blue Demons, Loyola Ramblers, Chicago State Cougars, and UIC Flames are all within the city limits; all also play their main revenue sport of men's basketball in the city except for DePaul, which plays at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

The Northwestern Wildcats, Northern Illinois Huskies, and Valparaiso Crusaders are all programs that play in the surrounding area. Northern Illinois is a Division I Bowl Subdivision school along with Northwestern, which is the lone BCS school in the Chicago area. Although the Illinois Fighting Illini are located two and a half hours south, they have a huge following in Chicago.

The Big Ten Conference is headquartered in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, though they will relocate to Rosemont in 2013.[39]

Former teams




(Indoor Football League)

See also


  1. ^ Bergen, Kathy; Washburn, Gary (May 11, 2006). "City out to prove Olympic mettle". Chicago Tribune. p. 1. 
  2. ^ "IOC agrees revenue-sharing deal with USOC". May 24, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Plunkett Sports Industry Almanac (2007),
  6. ^ ESPN, Seven questions for Baby Bulls, Feb. 14, 2005,
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Super Bowl XX Game Recap". 1986-01-27. Retrieved 2012-08-07. 
  9. ^ "Super Bowl XLI Game Recap". Retrieved 2012-08-07. 
  10. ^ "Bears-Packers set to resume fierce rivalry". Retrieved 2012-08-07. 
  11. ^ Klonke, Chuck (2011-11-13). "Lions, Bears rivalry runs deep". Retrieved 2012-08-07. 
  12. ^ Klein, Jeff Z. (June 9, 2010). "Blackhawks Win First Stanley Cup in 49 Years". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ Hawks-Bruins is first Original Six Final since '79, June 9, 2013,
  14. ^ The origins of hate, August 15, 2012,
  15. ^ US Soccer, U.S. Men's National Team Head Coach Bob Bradley Named 2009 National Coach of the Year, Jan. 9, 2013,
  16. ^ "USA Major League Soccer - Attendance - 2008". ESPN Soccernet. November 23, 2008. Retrieved September 14, 2009. 
  17. ^ Chicago Tribune, Fire has a home field for 2 years, Jan. 15, 2004,
  18. ^ "Lions for Hope Clubhouse and Field". Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  19. ^ "ArenaBowl XX - Arizona Sports Fans Network". Retrieved 2012-08-07. 
  20. ^ "Chicago Bruisers Team History - 1988". Retrieved 2012-08-07. 
  21. ^ "AFL Box Score: ArenaBowl II - Detroit Drive @ Chicago Bruisers (Jul 30, 1988)". 1988-07-30. Retrieved 2012-08-07. 
  22. ^ "Member Leagues". WFTDA. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  23. ^ "Current Rankings". WFTDA. 30 November 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  24. ^ Velez, Aixa (4 November 2010). "2010 National Roller Derby Championship This Weekend". Chicago Events (Huffington Post). Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  25. ^ "Windy City Rollers Derby Team Headed To World Championships". CBS Chicago. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  26. ^ "Team USA - Roller Derby". US Olympic Committee (Team USA). Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  27. ^ "2013 USARS Roller Derby National Championship Results". USA Roller Sports. 1 November 2013. 
  28. ^ "Loading". Retrieved 2012-08-07. 
  29. ^ "'"WWE Corporate - WrestleMania 22 Arrives In Chicago...'BIG TIME. 2006-03-27. Retrieved 2012-08-07. 
  30. ^ Hood, Jonathan (March 13, 2006). "Wrestlemania 22 comes to Chicago".  
  31. ^ Gomez, Luis (July 15, 2011). "Cena savors Chicago-style hate".  
  32. ^ Drew, Ryan (April 30, 2012). "WWE Extreme Rules 2012 Hits and Misses; A Fan's Perspective".  
  33. ^ "Race to Mackinac FAQ". Chicago Yacht Club. 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2013. 
  34. ^ Levine, Jay (July 26, 2006). "Chicago In The Running To Host 2016 Summer Games".  
  35. ^ Smith, Aaron (October 2, 2009). "Chicago loses Olympic bid to Rio".  
  36. ^ "St. Louis 1904 Summer Olympics". International Olympics Committee. Retrieved December 13, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Chicagoland Speedway". Chicagoland Speedway. Retrieved 2012-08-07. 
  38. ^ "IRL-PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 Results - Racing - ESPN". 2010-08-28. Retrieved 2012-08-07. 
  39. ^ "Big Ten to leave Park Ridge in 2013 - Morton Grove Champion". Retrieved 2012-08-07. 
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