New Orleans is home to a wide variety of sporting events. Most notable are the home games of the New Orleans Saints ( NFL) and the New Orleans Pelicans ( NBA), the annual Sugar Bowl, the annual Zurich Classic ( PGA Tour) and horse racing at the Fair Grounds Race Course.
New Orleans has also occasionally hosted the Super Bowl, College Football Playoff semifinal game and the NCAA college basketball Final Four.      
Professional sports teams
Former football teams in New Orleans include the
of the New Orleans Breakers United States Football League (1984) (which became the Portland Breakers), the of the New Orleans Night Arena Football League (1991-1992), the of the New Orleans Thunder Regional Football League (1999), the of the New Orleans VooDoo Arena Football League (2004-2005, 2007-2008, and 2010-2015), the of the Louisiana Jazz Women's Football Alliance (2002-2014), of the US Women's Football League (2016) and the New Orleans Krewe of the New Orleans Jazz football club Stars Football League (2011).
Former college football teams in New Orleans include the
(1935-1965), the Dillard Bleu Devils (1921-1939) and the Loyola Wolf Pack (1925-1960).
Xavier Gold Rush
was New Orleans' main venue for big games before the construction of the Louisiana Superdome (1973 photo)
-- More Super Bowls have been played at the Super Bowl Mercedes-Benz Superdome than at any other sports facility: 1978, 1981, 1986, 1990, 1997, 2002 and 2013. Tulane Stadium also hosted the game in 1970, 1972, and 1975.
-- The 1976 Pro Bowl was the NFL's 26th annual all-star game. The game was played on Monday, January 26, 1976, at the 1976 Pro Bowl Louisiana Superdome. 
-- The College Football Playoff National Championship Game Mercedes-Benz Superdome will host the College Football Playoff National Championship game in 2020.
-- The College Football Playoff semifinal Game Mercedes-Benz Superdome rotates among six sites as the host for a College Football Playoff semifinal game every three years. The Superdome hosted a semi-final game in 2015 and is scheduled to host a semi-final game on January 1 in 2018, 2021 and 2024.
-- The BCS National Championship Game Mercedes-Benz Superdome rotated with three other sites as the host for the BCS National Championship Game. The Superdome hosted the BCS National Championship Game in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012.
-- New Orleans has been home to the annual Sugar Bowl since 1935. Originally played at Sugar Bowl Tulane Stadium, it has been played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome since 1975.
-- New Orleans has been home to the annual New Orleans Bowl since 2001 in the New Orleans Bowl Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
-- The Bayou Classic is an annual football game, also played in the Bayou Classic Mercedes-Benz Superdome, between two historically black universities, Grambling State and Southern University.
-- The Pelican Bowl was a NCAA Division II bowl game played in New Orleans in 1974 and 1975 that pitted the conference champions from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) to determine the black college football national championship. Pelican Bowl 
-- The 18th annual East-West Shrine East-West Shrine Game post-season college football all-star game was held in New Orleans on January 1, 1943 due to WWII travel restrictions on the West Coast.  -- New Orleans played host to the ArenaBowl AFL's championship game in 2007, 2008 and 2012 hosting all games in the New Orleans Arena.
Former professional basketball teams in New Orleans include the
of the New Orleans Jazz NBA (1974-1980) (which became the Utah Jazz) and the of the New Orleans Buccaneers American Basketball Association (c. 1967-1970) (which became the Memphis Pros). Other professional basketball teams include the of the New Orleans Hurricanes Professional Basketball League of America (1947), of the New Orleans Sports Southern Basketball League (1948-1949), of the New Orleans Pride Women's Professional Basketball League (1979-1981) and of the New Orleans Cougars American Basketball Association.
Special Basketball Games
Baseball Baseball was first played in New Orleans as early as 1859. In that year, amateur baseball leagues played games on the grounds of Delachaise Estates in Uptown New Orleans and the Lone Star Base Ball Club was organized. 
There were many innovations in baseball that originated in New Orleans. The first
spring training was held in New Orleans in 1870 as the Chicago White Stockings (now Chicago Cubs) traveled to the city to play the Cincinnati Red Stockings, but stayed several weeks to train. The practice of covering the infield with a modified canvas tarpaulin on rainy days was first used in New Orleans in 1887.  On April 29, 1887, a recurring Ladies' Day was established to create an environment in the stands free of unsavory characters and conduct, as well as to make baseball a family oriented event.  In 1889, issuing "  rain checks" for rained out games using a perforated ticket stub was invented in New Orleans by Abner Powell. 
Former baseball teams with the longest tenure in New Orleans include:
-- New Orleans Pelicans Southern League (1887, 1889, 1898-99), Texas-Southern League (1888), (1890), Southern Association (1892-96, 1901-59), American Association (1977)  -- New Orleans Black Pelicans Independent Negro League (1907-08, 1938), both Negro Southern Leagues (1920, 1926, 1945), Texas-Louisiana League (Negro league) (1931), Negro American League (1951, 1954). 
Former baseball teams in New Orleans include:
New Orleans Crescent Stars Independent Negro League (1921, 1932-33, 1935-37), Negro Southern League (1922, 1934), Texas Colored League (1923)     
New Orleans Dumonts - Negro League Baseball 
New Orleans Eagles - Negro league baseball (1915-16) 
New Orleans Eclipse - Independent Negro League (f. 1907) 
New Orleans Expos - Independent (f. 1886) 
New Orleans Little Pels - Cotton States League (1912) 
New Orleans Pinchbacks - Negro League Baseball 
New Orleans Stars - Independent Negro League (1924)
New Orleans-St. Louis Stars - Negro American League (1940-41)
Pelican Base Ball Club - (1865-67), Louisiana Base Ball Association (1868-74), (1875-79), Crescent City League (1880-84) 
Plaquemine Tigers - Negro League Baseball 
Robert E. Lee Base Ball Club - Gulf League (f. 1864, 1869, 1886) 
Secret 9 Base Ball Team - Negro League Baseball 
Shrewsbury Globetrotters - Negro League Baseball 
Slidell Creoles - Negro league baseball
Southern Base Ball Club (1869)  Stonewall Base Ball Club (Algiers) (1867) 
Special Baseball Games
-- Spring Training Boston Beaneaters (1884), Boston Red Sox (1925-27), Chicago Cubs/ Chicago White Stockings (1870, 1907, 1911-12), Chicago White Sox (1905-06), Cincinnati Reds (1896-97, 1900), Cincinnati Red Stockings (1888), Cleveland Indians (1902-03, 1905-06, 1916-21, 1928-39), Brooklyn Dodgers (1921), New York Giants (1895), New York Yankees (1922-24), Philadelphia Athletics (1908-09), St. Louis Browns (1921)  
-- 1915 - Major League Baseball Exhibitions Detroit Tigers vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 1967 - Cincinnati Reds vs. Cleveland Indians, 1969 - Minnesota Twins vs. New York Mets, 1974 - Atlanta Braves vs. Baltimore Orioles, 1976 - Houston Astros vs. Minnesota Twins, 1980 - Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees, 1981 - New York Yankees vs. New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, 1982 - New York Yankees vs. Montreal Expos, Texas Rangers, 1983 - New York Yankees vs. Montreal Expos, Toronto Blue Jays, 1984 - Philadelphia Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 1989 - Oakland A's vs. San Francisco Giants, 1991 - Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Oakland A's, 1993 - New York Mets vs. Oakland A's, 1994 - Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees, 1999 - Chicago Cubs vs. Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros vs New Orleans Zephyrs, 2013 - Miami Marlins vs. New Orleans Zephyrs     
-- The 12th annual Triple-A All-Star Game took place on July 14, 1999 at Triple-A All-Star Game Zephyr Field in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie, Louisiana, home of the Pacific Coast League's New Orleans Zephyrs.
Busch Challenge/Winn-Dixie Showdown -- College baseball tournament held in the Superdome from 1987-1999. LSU, Tulane and University of New Orleans played an in-state team and out-of-state teams from Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas in the annual tournament. The in-state team was Louisiana-Lafayette. The out-of-state teams were Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Cal State Fullerton, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, Houston, Lamar, Miami (FL), Mississippi State, NC State, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oral Roberts, South Alabama, Southern California, Southern Mississippi, Texas A&M and UCLA.  Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic -- College baseball game held annually at Zephyr Field from 2004-present. The  LSU Tigers baseball team plays an opponent in the game to honor former LSU Baseball player and Oakland A's draftee, Wally Pontiff Jr., who died at the age of 21 from a genetic heart disorder. In 2004, LSU won the first game of the series vs.  Southeastern Louisiana, 9-3. Wally Pontiff Playground in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana is also named after the player.
Bowling Professional Bowling tournaments -- New Orleans played host to PBA Tour events in 1963, 1964, 1966-1978 and 1988-1990. A PBA Tour sponsored exhibition tournament took place in 2009 and 2010.
New Orleans has long been home to
Louisiana Superdome hosted the 1978 fight some called "The Ali rematch" where Leon Spinks vs. Muhammad Ali II Muhammad Ali defeated Leon Spinks in front of a crowd of 65,000; it was Ali's last professional win.
, also known as the Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Roberto Durán II , is one of the most famous fights in boxing history. Taking place on November 25, 1980 at the No Más Fight Louisiana Superdome, it was the second of three bouts between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Durán. In the match, Leonard defeated Duran to regain the WBC Welterweight Championship. The match gained its famous appellation in the end of the eighth round when Durán turned away from Leonard, towards the referee and quit by saying "No más" (Spanish for "No more"). The
was held on December 3, 1982 at the Carnival of Champions Louisiana Superdome. In the first of two co-main events, Wilfredo Gómez would defend his WBC world Jr Featherweight championship against WBC's world Bantamweight champion Lupe Pintor. In the second, Wilfred Benítez defended his WBC world Jr Middleweight championship against the former WBA Welterweight champion of the world Thomas Hearns.  On September 9, 2000, the New Orleans Arena hosted a light heavyweight title fight between Roy Jones, Jr. and Eric Harding. Jones won by TKO in the 10th round.
High school sports
New Orleans has produced many championship teams at the
LHSAA and national levels. Schools have earned high national rankings in football, basketball, baseball and soccer.
The annual Louisiana Prep Classic state championship football games organized by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association have been held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome since 1981.
New Orleans is home to the
Fair Grounds Race Course, the nation's third-oldest thoroughbred track. The most prestigious race held at the track is the Louisiana Derby, a Grade II stakes prep for the Kentucky Derby. The race course opened in 1852 as the Union Racetrack and later became the Creole Racetrack.
Former horse racing tracks in the New Orleans area include
Eclipse Track (opened 1837), Metairie Race Course (1838-1872), Bingaman Race Track, City Park Race Track (1905-1920), Jefferson Park Race Track (1918-1934) and Jefferson Downs Racetrack (1959-1992). 
Ice hockey -- The New Orleans Brass was a former ice hockey team in New Orleans from 1997-2002. New Orleans Brass
The Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Lacrosse Series was held at
Pan American Stadium from 2011-2015.      
The Allstate Sugar Bowl High School Lacrosse Classic first held in 2007 has been played at multiple locations in the New Orleans metropolitan area such as
City Park, Lafreniere Park, LaSalle Park and Pan American Stadium.    2007: LaSalle Park
 2008: LaSalle Park
 2009: City Park
 2010: Lafreniere Park
 2011: Lafreniere Park
 2012: Lafreniere Park
 2014: Lafreniere Park 
Mixed martial arts
-- UFC 16 took place on March 13, 1998 at the UFC 16 Pontchartrain Center in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner, Louisiana. It featured the first ever UFC Lightweight tournament (for fighters under 170 lb), as well as a Middleweight Championship bout, a Heavyweight and a Middleweight Superfight, and two alternate bouts in case of tournament injury.
-- UFC 18 took place on January 8, 1999 at the UFC 18 Pontchartrain Center in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner, Louisiana. The event featured a UFC Lightweight Championship (now known as the Welterweight Championship) bout and six other bouts. UFC 18 was technically part two of what the UFC called "The Road To The Heavyweight Title", a tournament, spanning four events, held to crown the new UFC Heavyweight Champion after the title was vacated by Randy Couture.
-- UFC 27 took place on September 22, 2000 at the UFC 27 Lakefront Arena in the New Orleans. The event featured UFC legend Dan "The Beast" Severn returning to the promotion after more than 3 years on the independent scene to face off against top heavyweight contender Pedro Rizzo. Severn was the fan favorite, but he submitted to leg kicks from "The Rock" in the first round. Also, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Maurice Smith took on the first KOTC Heavyweight Champion Bobby Hoffman. Smith won via majority decision. There were 2 preliminary fights and 6 main card fights.
(also known as UFC Fight Night 25) was a UFC Fight Night: Shields vs. Ellenberger mixed martial arts event held by the Ultimate Fighting Championship on September 17, 2011 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (also known as UFC Fight Night 68) was a UFC Fight Night: Boetsch vs. Henderson mixed martial arts event held on June 6, 2015 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. 
NOLA Motorsports Park is a road race track in Avondale, Louisiana, approximately twenty minutes from downtown New Orleans. The north track circuit and kart circuit opened in 2011.
New Orleans has hosted several auto races:
AMA Supercross--New Orleans has hosted AMA Supercross races in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in 1977-1980, 1998-2002, 2009, and 2012. 
Grand Prix du Mardi Gras--In 1991, 1992, and 1995, New Orleans was home to the Grand Prix du Mardi Gras. The IMSA sports car races took place on two street circuits downtown. In 1991, streets near the riverfront were used for the race course. In 1992 and 1995, a course that ran around the Superdome was used. 
Triumph Big Kahuna New Orleans--The AMA Pro Racing Superbike Championship race was held October 5-7, 2012 at the NOLA Motorsports Park. 
Cooper Tires WinterFest--The U.S. F2000 Winterfest race featuring Indy Lights, Pro Formula Mazda and F2000 cars was held February 21-22, 2014 at the NOLA Motorsports Park.  Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana--The inaugural IndyCar Series race was held on April 12, 2015 at NOLA Motorsports Park.
Professional bull riding
(PBR), a professional Professional Bull Riders, Inc. bull riding organization held competitions in the New Orleans Arena in 2000-2003, 2007 and 2010.
-- The Big Easy Rollergirls is the name of a female roller derby league in New Orleans. The league plays at the Big Easy Rollergirls Human Performance Center. New Orleans Brass Roller Derby -- New Orleans Brass Roller Derby is the name of a male roller derby team in New Orleans.
Former rugby clubs in New Orleans include the
Crescent City Rugby Football Club (1976-1979).
New Orleans was one of the first cities in the world where modern soccer was played.
Beginning in 1858 as a community sport, the sport became popular among many athletic clubs in the late 19th century. A semi-professional league consisting of some of the best players in the world, several of whom later played for  first division teams in England and Scotland, briefly used the old grounds on what would become Pelican Stadium. 
Former professional soccer teams in New Orleans include the
of the New Orleans Storm USL A-League (1993-1999) and of the FC New Orleans National Premier Soccer League as a provisional member (2012). 
Former amateur/semi-pro soccer teams in New Orleans include the
of the Louisiana Fire Gulf Coast Premier League (2016-2017).
Special Soccer Games -- An international friendly match between Chicago Fire Soccer Club vs. Real C.D. España Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire Soccer Club and Honduran soccer club Real C.D. España was played at Tad Gormley Stadium on February 4, 2012. 
-- On March 28, 1982, in a Honduras national team vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies World Cup tune-up match, the Honduras national football team played the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League to a 1-1 draw at Tad Gormley Stadium. 
Swimming and diving
Track and Field
1992 United States Olympic track and field trials--The 1992 United States Olympic track and field trials were held at Tad Gormley Stadium from June 19 - June 28. It was organised by USA Track and Field and served as the national championships in track and field for the United States. The results of the event determined qualification for the United States at the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona, Spain.
Volleyball AVP New Orleans Open--The
AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour held the men's and women's New Orleans Open in 2015 and 2016. The AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour held the men's New Orleans Open in 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1999.  WPVA New Orleans--The
WPVA Pro Beach Volleyball Tour held women's tournaments in New Orleans in 1993, 1994 and 1995.  Women's Volleyball Final Four--The 2002 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball final four was held at the New Orleans Arena in December 2002.
Offshore powerboat racing has had a long history in
New Orleans, Louisiana. Races have been held in either Lake Pontchartrain or on the Mississippi River. The most commonly held race was the Popeye's Offshore Grand Prix held annually from 1983-1991. Other powerboat races took place in 1980, 1981, 1982, 2002, 2003 and 2008.
New Orleans was also the home port for the Popeyes Offshore race team from 1980-90. The race team was formed by Al Copeland Sr., the founder of Popeyes Fried Chicken Restaurants and Copeland's Restaurants. He was a six-time U.S. national champion and world champion in 1985 and 1986.
New Orleans is home to the
New Orleans Yacht Club and Southern Yacht Club, both of which are located at West End on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Southern Yacht Club was established in 1849 and is the second oldest yacht club in the United States. 
Mardi Gras Race Week --
New Orleans Yacht Club large One Design regatta held on Lake Pontchartrain.
Race to the Coast -- Southern Yacht Club Regatta since 1849. Oldest continuously running point to point regatta in the Western Hemisphere United States.  Sugar Bowl Regatta -- has been held since 1934. The sailing competition is divided into two separate phases, over four two-day periods, beginning in late November and concluding on New Year's Eve. 
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^ At the time of the bowl's creation in 1972, the NCAA was divided into the "University Division" and "College Division". The current three-division setup was established in 1973. The conferences that participated in this game eventually became
Division I conferences, and their members' football programs now compete in the Football Championship Subdivision.
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