Spectator Sports In Florida
By James | Last updated August 18, 2023
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For the less energetic sports fan amongst you, there are plenty of spectator sports in Florida with major league American football, baseball and ice hockey teams all with their homes in Florida.
Florida based NFL (National Football League) professional football teams and NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) college teams include the:
- Florida Gators – Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville
- Florida State Seminoles – Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee
- Jacksonville Jaguars – EverBank Field (formerly Jacksonville Municipal Stadium), Jacksonville
- Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes – Sun Life Stadium (formerly Dolphin Stadium), Miami Gardens
- Jones HS Tigers – Citrus Bowl, Orlando
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers and South Florida Bulls – Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
- UCF Knights – Bright House Networks Stadium, Orlando
Florida’s only two MLB (Major League) baseball teams, the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays plus a number of Minor League teams including:
- Miami Marlins – Sun Life Stadium (formerly Dolphin Stadium), Miami Gardens
- Palm Beach Cardinals and Jupiter Hammerheads – Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter
- Tampa Bay Rays – Tropicana Field, St Petersburg
- Tampa Yankees and Tampa Bay Rowdies – George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa
Every year during late February to early April, around half of the American national baseball teams descend on Florida for their annual Spring Training season as part of the Grapefruit League.
Read more about baseball in Florida with a complete list of all Florida’s Major and Minor League baseball teams.
If you like to take part in sports, then Florida has plenty of outdoor activities and sports
Florida also has two professional basketball teams in the NBA (National Basketball Association):
- Orlando Magic – Amway Arena, Orlando
- Miami Heat – American Airlines Arena, Miami
Surprisingly, Florida also has a couple of professional ice hockey teams who both play in the NHL (National Hockey League):
- Florida Panthers – Bank Atlantic Center, Sunrise, Ft. Lauderdale
- Tampa Bay Lightning – St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa
There are plenty of horse racing tracks including:
- Calder Race Course, Hialeah Park (currently closed but hoping to restart racing)
- Gulfstream Park in the Miami area
- Pompano Park at Pompano Beach
- Tampa Bay Downs at Oldsmar just west of Tampa
There are numerous amateur rodeos throughout the year as well as the annual big rodeos that attract professional rodeo stars from across the States.
Two out of the top three endurance races in the world are held in Florida. Sebring has the 12 Hours of Sebring motorsport endurance race and Daytona the Rolex 24 at Daytona sports car endurance race; the third being the Le Mans 24 hours race in France.
Daytona International Speedway is also home to the world famous Daytona 500 (part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock car racing series) as well as other internationally renowned motorcycle and sports car races.
For motor racing fans, Florida boasts several top class racing tracks including:
- Daytona International Speedway
- Homestead Miami Speedway
- Sebring International Raceway
If you want to experience the thrills of high speed driving for yourself then the Richard Petty Driving Experience is located at the Daytona International Speedway. There used to be a second track, the Walt Disney Speedway near the Magic Kingdom but it closed in 2015.
At one time Greyhound racing was popular in Florida and there were dog tracks at Daytona Beach, St. Petersburg, Flagler, Hollywood, Bonita Springs, Jacksonville, Monticello, Melbourne, West Palm Beach, Pensacola, Longwood, Sarasota, Casselberry and Tampa.
In 2018 Floridians voted to stop all betting on greyhound racing in the state by the end of 2020. This resulted in the gradual closure of the tracks and the last couple of Florida greyhound tracks closed in December 2020.