Friday, May 20, 2011


Revelers at "The Main Event" held Downtown during Super Bowl XXXVIII
Houston has sports teams for every major professional league except the NHL. The Houston Astros (MLB), Houston Texans (NFL), Houston Rockets (NBA), Houston Dynamo (MLS), Houston Aeros (AHL), Houston Wranglers (WTT), Houston Red Storm (ABA), Houston Energy (IWFL), Houston Leones (PDL), H-Town Texas Cyclones(also IWFL), Houston Power (WFA), and the Houston Lightning (SIFL) all call Houston home.
Minute Maid Park (home of the Astros) and Toyota Center (home of the Rockets and Aeros), are located downtown. The city has the Reliant Astrodome, the first domed stadium in the world; it also holds the NFL's first retractable-roof stadium, Reliant Stadium. Other sports facilities include Hofheinz Pavilion, Reliant Arena (former home of the WNBA's Houston Comets, now home to the Lightning), and Robertson Stadium (both used for University of Houston collegiate sports and the Houston Dynamo), and Rice Stadium (home of the Rice University Owls football team). The now infrequently used Astrodome hosted WWE's WrestleMania X-Seven in 2001, setting an attendance record of almost 68,000, and Reliant Stadium hosted WrestleMania XXV in 2009. A soccer-specific stadium for the Houston Dynamo, to be located just east of the George R. Brown Convention Center/Highway 59, is expected to be finished by 2012.
Houston has hosted the 1968 1986 Major League All-Star Game and 2004 Major League Baseball All-Star Games, the 2000 IHL All-Star Game, the 2005 Big 12 Conference football championship game, the 1989 NBA All-Star Game, the 2006 NBA All-Star Game, the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships from 2001 to 2006, and the Tennis Masters Cup in 2003 and 2004, as well as the annual Shell Houston Open golf tournament. In 2009, Houston hosted the final official event in the LPGA golf season, the LPGA Tour Championship. The city hosts the annual NCAA College Baseball Minute Maid Classic every February and NCAA football's Texas Bowl in December. Houston has hosted the Super Bowl championship game twice: Super Bowl VIII at Rice Stadium in 1974 and Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium in 2004. In 2011, Houston hosted the Final Four of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium.
From 1998 to 2001, the CART auto racing series annually held the Grand Prix of Houston on downtown streets. After a five-year hiatus, CART's successor series, Champ Car, revived the race for 2006 and 2007 on the streets surrounding Reliant Park. Champ Car merged with rival Indy Racing League (IRL) in 2008, and discontinued the Houston race. Houston Raceway Park is located outside Houston near Baytown, and hosts the NHRA and other forms of auto racing.

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