Sports in Charlotte, North Carolina: Wikis

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Charlotte area is filled with successful and prosperous sports franchises. The best-known teams are the Carolina Panthers of the NFL and Charlotte Bobcats of the NBA, while teams in smaller leagues include teams that play hockey, baseball, and soccer.

Club Sport Founded League Venue
Charlotte Knights Baseball 1976 International League Knights Stadium, Fort Mill, SC
Carolina Panthers Football 1995 National Football League Bank of America Stadium
Charlotte Checkers Ice hockey 1993 ECHL Time Warner Cable Arena
Charlotte Eagles Soccer 1993 USL-2 Waddell Stadium
Charlotte Lady Eagles Soccer 1993 W-League Waddell Stadium
Charlotte Bobcats Basketball 2004 National Basketball Association Time Warner Cable Arena
Carolina Speed Indoor football 2006 American Indoor Football Association Bojangles' Coliseum
Charlotte Roller Girls Flat Track Roller Derby 2006 USA Roller Sports Grady Cole Center
NWA Charlotte Professional Wrestling 2009 National Wrestling Alliance NWA Charlotte Coliseum
Charlotte Checkers Ice hockey 2010 American Hockey League Time Warner Cable Arena

Charlotte is home to the NFL's Carolina Panthers, which debuted in 1995. The Panthers play in Bank of America Stadium, located in Uptown. The team won the 2004 NFC Championship when it beat the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia by a score of 14-3. In Super Bowl XXXVIII on Feb. 1, 2004, the Panthers were defeated by the New England Patriots, 32-29. The Panthers have been in three NFC Championship games: in 1996, 2004 and 2006.

From 1988 to 2002, Charlotte hosted an NBA franchise named the Charlotte Hornets. The franchise relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana in 2002 after bitter animosity between the team's fans and principal owner George Shinn led to slumping attendance and ill feelings towards the Hornets. In 2004, Charlotte was awarded its second NBA expansion team named the Charlotte Bobcats. The team plays in the Time Warner Cable Arena, which opened in fall 2005 in downtown Charlotte.

Charlotte was home to the World Football League's Charlotte Hornets during 1974 and 1975. The city has also been home to two Arena Football League teams, the Charlotte Rage and Carolina Cobras. Charlotte briefly had a Major Indoor Lacrosse League team in 1996, the Charlotte Cobras. The team did not fare well, however, and after a single 0-10 season, the Cobras folded. The WNBA Charlotte Sting played in Charlotte between 1997 and 2006.

Charlotte is home to the Charlotte Eagles of the United Soccer Leagues. The NCAA football Meineke Car Care Bowl is played annually in December at Bank of America Stadium, with one team being from the Atlantic Coast Conference and the other from the Big East.

Charlotte is also the home of the new US National Whitewater Center, located in west Charlotte. It was created and opened for the general public in late summer of 2006. Many whitewater teams from around the world are scheduled to train here.[1] The Center also has 17 miles (27 km) of trails for hikers and bikers at the park.

Charlotte is the hub of stock car racing, with major races being held at nearby Lowe's Motor Speedway, considered by most fans and participants in the sport to be NASCAR's 'home track'. A vast majority of NASCAR teams and race shops are located within 40 miles (64 km) of Charlotte, and most NASCAR drivers maintain a residence in or near the city. Seventy-three percent of American motorsports employees are based within two hours of downtown Charlotte. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is set to open in Charlotte in early 2009.

Baseball has a long, rich history in the Queen City, dating back to 1901 when the Charlotte Hornets were formed. The Triple-A Charlotte Knights, the top minor league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, currently call the Charlotte area home (the team's stadium is located in nearby Fort Mill, South Carolina).

Charlotte is on the list of cities that the Florida Marlins are considering for relocation; team officials visited the city in early 2006 to discuss a move with city leaders and consider a plan to build a privately-funded stadium downtown. But city leaders stated as of April that they would not fund or support any attempt to bring the Florida Marlins to Charlotte. In May 2007, Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus, after an exhaustive analysis of major league attendance and media markets in North America, concluded, "There is, to my mind, exactly one place that would clearly be viable for the 31st major league franchise, and that place is Charlotte, North Carolina. The South as a whole is underrepresented in the major leagues. . . . Charlotte is no metropolis, but it is conveniently located at the center of several mid-size markets, including the Winston-Salem/Greensboro/Raleigh-Durham corridor along I-40, and Columbia, South Carolina. What’s more, the area is growing rapidly, and would give both the Braves and the Nationals a natural rival in the NL East."[2]

Via the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League, the Charlotte Checkers of the ECHL are a farm team for the NHL's New York Rangers respectively. The Charlotte Checkers now play at the new Charlotte Bobcats Arena. Starting with 2010-11 season, Checkers hockey will take a step up, as the new Charlotte Checkers begin play in the American Hockey League as an affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes. Additionally, Charlotte is also home to a professional inline hockey team, the The Charlotte Outlawz.

Charlotte is the adopted hometown of 16-time World Heavyweight Champion, the legendary "Nature Boy", Ric Flair. Flair defeated then WCW World Champion Big Van Vader for his first WCW title in Charlotte (His 11th in the NWA/WCW title lineage and his thirteenth overall at that time, counting his two WWF championship reigns) at the Independence Arena in Charlotte in December of 1993 at Starrcade.

Charlotte is home to the headquarters of the Big South Conference despite having no schools playing in the Big South (although near-by schools Winthrop University, from Rock Hill, South Carolina (full), and Gardner-Webb University, from Boiling Springs, North Carolina (football only) are members).

Golf is a popular activity, both as a participation and spectator sport. The Quail Hollow Championship (known as the Wachovia Championship prior to 2008) debuted in 2003 on the men's PGA Tour, and is held each year in early May at Quail Hollow Club. Anthony Kim is the defending champion of the Wachovia Championship. The U.S. Open has been held at the Pinehurst course, which is about 2 hours east of Charlotte in the Sand Hills region in the middle of North Carolina.

Brooklandwood in the nearby Union County town of Mineral Springs is the site of the Queens Cup Steeplechase, one of steeplechase horse racing's major annual events. The program consists of several races, and is held the last Saturday of April. The schedule of events also features a Jack Russell Terrier judging contest. Over 10,000 people descend on Mineral Springs from all parts of the country to take part in this day long event of races and other activities.

The professional tennis event, The Championships at the Palisades, is held in Charlotte.

Independence High School has gained a degree of national fame due to its impressive winning streak in football which currently sits at 109 including 7 state title games. Chris Leak, a future national champion with the Florida Gators turned out for the Patriots during the early part of this run. Independence also has state championships in softball and volleyball. Garinger won the 1989 state championship in boy's basketball and North Mecklenburg High won the 2005 state championship in boy's basketball.

External links

  • Queen City Sports Blog--Professional and College Sports Analysis and Commentary, from the Queen City, Charlotte, NC.

References

  1. ^ www.usnwc.org
  2. ^ Nate Silver, "Moving the Marlins," Baseball Prospectus.com (May 17, 2007).
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