Sports Teams of Cincinnati
Cincinnati has two major league teams, eight minor league teams, five college institutions with sports teams, and seven major sports venues; one of the minor league teams will become a major league team in 2019. Cincinnati’s two major league teams are Major League Baseball’s Reds, who were named for America’s first professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings; and the Bengals of the National Football League; additionally, FC Cincinnati will be promoted to Major League Soccer in 2019.
On Major League Baseball Opening Day, Cincinnati has the distinction of holding the “traditional opener” in baseball each year, due to its baseball history. Children have been known to skip school on Opening Day, and it is commonly thought of as a holiday.
The Flying Pig Marathon is a yearly event attracting many runners and so is the Cincinnati Masters Western & Southern tennis tourney.
The Cincinnati Reds have won five World Series titles and had one of the most successful baseball teams of all time in the mid-1970s, known as The Big Red Machine. The Bengals have made two Super Bowl appearances since its founding, in 1981 and 1988, but have yet to win a championship. As of 2016, the Bengals have the longest active playoff win drought (26 years) despite making five straight playoff appearances from 2011 to 2015. Whenever the Bengals and Carolina Panthers play against each other (an interconference matchup that occurs every four years), their games are dubbed the “Queen City Bowl”, as Charlotte, North Carolina, the home city of the Panthers, is also known as the Queen City. The Bengals enjoy strong rivalries with the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers (both of whom are also members of the AFC North).
Cincinnati is also home to two men’s college basketball teams: The Cincinnati Bearcats and Xavier Musketeers. These two teams face off as one of college basketball’s rivalries known as the Crosstown Shootout. In 2011, the rivalry game erupted in an on-court brawl at the end of the game that saw multiple suspensions follow. The Musketeers have made 10 of the last 11 NCAA tournaments while the Bearcats have made six consecutive appearances. Previously, the Cincinnati Royals competed in the National Basketball Association from 1957 to 1972; they are now known as the Sacramento Kings.
FC Cincinnati is a soccer team that plays in the USL. FC Cincinnati made its home debut on April 9, 2016, before a crowd of more than 14,000 fans. On their next home game vs Louisville City FC, FC Cincinnati broke the all-time USL attendance record with a crowd of 20,497; on May 14, 2016, it broke its own record, bringing in an audience of 23,375 on its 1–0 victory against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. FC Cincinnati has since broken the USL attendance record on several additional occasions, and will move to Major League Soccer (MLS) starting with the 2019 season. FC Cincinnati was awarded an MLS bid on May 29, 2018, and will open a new stadium in the West End neighborhood just northwest of downtown by 2021. Cincinnati is home to three other professional soccer teams: two outdoor teams, the Cincinnati Kings (men’s) and Cincinnati LadyHawks (women’s), and one indoor team, the Cincinnati Excite (men’s).