We all know the Magic City has plenty of glitz and glam, a wild nightlife, and stunning beaches. But what many don’t realize is over the years Miami has evolved into one of the greatest sports cities in the US. Miami is home to three of the big four professional sports teams with the fourth being located just north of the Miami-Dade County border.
The three teams are the Miami Heat, the Miami Marlins and the Miami Dolphins. The fourth is the Florida Panthers. Miami is also the home of two professional female teams. The Miami Rain (semi-pro basketball) and the Miami Fury (football). Furthermore, the Magic City has an arena football team, a professional Jai-alai arena, a horse racing track, a dog racing track and is home to the Homestead motor speedway. In addition, Miami is host to the Sony Open (a major tennis tournament), the WGC-Cadillac Championship (World Golf Tournament) and the Miami Beach Polo World Cup. The Magic City is also where the University of Miami fields their sports teams. The UM football team is Division I and is one of the highest ranked teams in the nation. If that’s not enough Miami has been named by Major League Soccer as the future home for their next team. They are expected to start playing in Miami by 2015. The Soccer team will most likely be accompanied by a new state-of-the-art soccer stadium.
To further my point that Miami is a great sports city lets take a quick look at each of the big three sports franchises. First up – The Miami Heat. There is no doubt the Miami Heat are a first class sports franchise. Their arena is located downtown Miami (overlooking Biscayne Bay) with multiple forms of public transportation leading to their front door. Since their inception in 1988 they’ve won three NBA championships including the last two. And such world class athletes as Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Shaquille Oneal, Alonzo Morning, Tim Hardaway and Ray Allen have worn the Heat uniform. All of which are future hall of famers. The Heat play at American Airlines Arena where attendance is almost always at full capacity and their last two championship parades packed the streets of downtown Miami.
Next lets tackle the Miami Marlins. The Marlins might be considered the most successful franchise in Miami. In their short history they’ve won two world series in a sport where it’s not uncommon for a team to go 50 or 60 years without winning a world series. The Miami Marlins play in a futuristic stadium just two years old. It has a retractable roof, spectacular view of downtown, a swimming pool and a 200 gallon fish tank behind home plate. In my opinion there is no better place to watch any team of any sport than at the Miami Marlins stadium. The current team has some of the best young talent in the league. Starting pitcher Jose Fernandez won rookie of the year last year and their right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is one of the most promising young sluggers in the game.
Now to round up the big three local sports franchises by taking a look at the Miami Dolphins. The fins are Miami’s oldest team and they have a storied history. They are the only team in the history of the National Football League to go undefeated. Plus, they drafted one of, if not the best quarterback to ever grace a football field. Of course, I’m talking about Dan Marino. Dan at one time held six different NFL passing records including the record for most touchdown passes and yards thrown in a season. Dolphins stadium (Sunlife Stadium) is where both the Dolphins and the University of Miami Hurricanes play their home games. Currently, their owner (Stephen Ross) is planning to make major upgrades to the stadium, which will entail installing a much needed roof.
The Magic City clearly supports plenty of sports teams and sporting events. Miami also has a rich sports history. That post is for another day! However, just the fact that Miami successfully supports this many sports teams and sporting events says a lot about the many great sports fans within the Magic City.