NYC - The Official Guide

NYC Sports 101 staff
Updated 11/02/2020

New York is the world’s best sports city by a mile. We have professional teams in every game you could want to see, along with some of the most famous arenas and stadiums. Want to get in on the action, but don’t know the first thing about our teams? No worries—we’ve got the cheat sheet to get you started and make you sound like an expert (or at least enough to get by). Many events in New York City have been canceled or postponed, and sporting events that are being held prohibit fans. We have updated this page with as much information as was available at the beginning of November 2020, but for the very latest—including whether spectators will be allowed to attend games—we recommend calling the venue directly.

Citifield Dusk Citi Field. Photo: Jen Davis


Major league teams:

New York Mets
Where they play: Citi Field, Queens
When they play: The Mets’ Major League Baseball regular season runs from late March/early April through late September/early October.
What’s their deal? New York’s National League team, founded in 1962, is traditionally considered an underdog, especially compared to the Yankees (see below). The Mets were World Series champs in 1969 and 1986, and National League champions in 1973, 2000 and 2015.
Why go? Cozy ballpark, food at Shake Shack, knowledgeable fans and a gigantic mechanical apple that rises when the Mets hit a home run
Random historical great: The late Tom Seaver, Hall of Fame pitcher
Random current star: Jacob deGrom, who won back-to-back Cy Young Awards in 2018 and ’19 as the best pitcher in the National League

New York Yankees
Where they play: Yankee Stadium, the Bronx
When they play: The Yankees’ Major League Baseball regular season runs from late March/early April through late September/early October.
What’s their deal? The 27-time World Series champions are synonymous with Hall of Famers like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Reggie Jackson and many others. They play in a new Yankee Stadium that looks a lot like the old one.
Why go? To see Monument Park (where they keep plaques for those great players) and the team museum, and to hear the so-called Bleacher Creatures vocally support their heroes.
Random historical great: See above; take your pick.
Random current star: Slugging outfielder Aaron Judge, who’s massive any way you look at it: he has big home-run power, he stands 6’7” and he wears number 99—the highest one you can put on your jersey.

New York Knicks, Courtesy, New York Knicks


New York Knicks
Where they play: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan
When they play: The Knicks’ National Basketball Association regular season schedule usually runs from October through April, but due to the delayed nature of the 2019–20 season, the 2020–21 season may begin as late as mid-January 2021. 
What’s their deal? An original NBA team and obsession for generations of fans, they are kings of the New York Post back page.
Why go? Madison Square Garden gets loud when a game is close or the Knicks are doing well. You also might see some celebrities.
Random historical great: Patrick Ewing, Hall of Fame center
Random current star: Perhaps the most promising player on the Knicks young roster is RJ Barrett, who was a first-team All-American at Duke.
Tickets: once the schedule is set, though check out to get updates

Brooklyn Nets
Where they play: Barclays Center, Brooklyn
When they play: The Nets' National Basketball Association regular season schedule runs from October through April.
What’s their deal? The team moved from Long Island to New Jersey and finally to Brooklyn, where they became the borough’s first big-league team since the 1950s. Jay-Z designed their logo. Their gear is a common sight on Brooklyn streets. Their court is…gray! It’s all very 21st century.
Why go? To see the spaceship-like arena and its distinctive floor, to eat from the Brooklyn-based concessionaires and, much of the time, for the most affordable NBA ticket in the City.
Random historical great: Julius “Dr. J” Erving, who elevated the slam dunk to an art form
Random current star: Perennial All-Star forward Kevin Durant, who—along with Kyrie Irving—gives the team plenty of star power
Tickets: once the schedule is set, though check out for updates

New York Liberty New York Liberty. Courtesy, Getty Images

New York Liberty
Where they play: Barclays Center, Brooklyn
When they play: The Liberty’s Women’s National Basketball Association regular season runs from May through September. 
What’s their deal? New York City’s WNBA franchise has been a member since the league’s inception in 1996. The team is especially popular with families, and a good choice for those who need their basketball fix during the summer.
Why go? Good seats are cheap by pro basketball standards, and these are the best female players in the world.
Random historical great: Becky Hammon, a six-time All-Star who went on to become the first female full-time assistant coach in the history of the NBA
Random current star: Post player Amanda Zahui B, who led the team in rebounds and blocks during the 2020 season

New York Rangers New York Rangers. Courtesy, MSG. Photo: Scott Levy


New York Rangers
Where they play: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan
When they play: The Rangers’ National Hockey League regular season usually runs from October through April, but due to the delayed nature of the 2019–20 season, the 2020–21 season will most likely begin in January 2021.
What’s their deal? One of the NHL’s original six franchises, the “Broadway Blueshirts” are the favorite team of a very loud, devoted fan base.
Why go? Because you’re unlikely to experience many atmospheres rowdier than a Rangers game at Madison Square Garden. Though the arena has gone upscale after recent renovations, the diehards still shout their lungs out—doubly so when local rivals the Islanders (see below) visit the borough.
Random historical great: Mark Messier, who will never again have to buy a drink in New York City after helping to end the team’s 54-year Stanley Cup drought in 1994
Random current star: Russian winger Artemi Panarin, the team’s reigning MVP and leading point scorer. He’s got a great nickname (“Breadman,” thanks to the similarity of his last name to a certain bakery chain), a long-term contract and a good story of a career arc—from undrafted player to all-star.

New York Islanders
Where they play: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, and Nassau Coliseum, Long Island
When they play: The Islanders’ National Hockey League regular season usually runs from October through April, but due to the delayed nature of the 2019–20 season, the 2020–21 season will most likely begin in January 2021.
What’s their deal? Born on political Long Island (hence the name), the Isles currently split their games between there and Brooklyn, which is geographically on Long Island. The team won four consecutive Stanley Cups in the 1980s.
Why go? For their fans—yes, we said the same about the Rangers, but hockey fans in general are a hearty lot—and a talented young team.
Random historical great: Goalie Billy Smith, who played with the team from 1972 through 1989, including every one of their championships
Random current star: Center Mathew Barzal followed up his Rookie of the Year debut with appearances in the 2019 and 2020 All-Star Games; he was the Islanders’ leading point-scorer the last two seasons.

New York Football Giants ball New York Giants (left) and New York Jets. Photo: Evan Pinkus

American Football

New York Giants
Where they play: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
When they play: The Giants’ National Football League regular season runs from September through December.
What’s their deal? Eight-time champions of the NFL (four times in the Super Bowl era), Big Blue is one of the league’s longest-established teams.
Why go? An American football game, in general, is one of the more involved sports rituals anywhere. It starts early with tailgating—eating, drinking and hanging out in the parking lot. If you’re coming from overseas, well, this is definitely an American experience.
Random historical great: The late Frank Gifford, MVP running back turned popular broadcaster
Random current star: Cornerback James Bradberry may not have the name recognition of offensive players such as running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones, but he is a linchpin for an overachieving defense.

New York Jets
Where they play: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
When they play: The Jets’ National Football League season runs from September through December.
What’s their deal? Back when they were in the upstart American Football League, Gang Green pulled off one of the biggest upsets in sports history and defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.
Why go? Again, NFL football is one of the great American sports traditions. Plus, you might see a guy in a firefighter helmet yelling “J-E-T-S, Jets! Jets! Jets!”
Random historical great: Joe Namath—“Broadway Joe”—the flamboyant quarterback who put the team on the map
Random current star: Tackle Mekhi Becton, a first-round draft pick in 2020, is already among the team’s top performers as they build for the future.

Red Bulls action New York Red Bulls. Photo: Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports


New York Red Bulls
Where they play: Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ
When they play: The Red Bulls’ Major League Soccer regular season runs from March to early October.
What’s their deal? The New York City area’s first Major League Soccer team, formerly known as the MetroStars, was founded in 1996.
Why go? The young Red Bulls team has vocal fans. The supporters’ section—the “South Ward,” behind the southside goal—is rowdy, and the metal stands in Red Bull Arena echo with stomping feet when the game gets tense. The arena is ranked by those in the know as one of the best soccer-specific stadiums in the United States. In 2020, the team made it to the playoffs for an 11th straight season.
Random historical great: Bradley Wright-Phillips, who is sixth on the MLS all-time goals scored list
Random current star: Daniel Royer, the team’s leading goal scorer in 2019 and 2020

New York City FC
Where they play: Yankee Stadium, the Bronx
When they play: New York City FC's Major League Soccer regular season runs from March to early October.
What’s their deal? Founded in 2015, they’re the new Major League Soccer team in town.
Why go? For one, the novelty of seeing professional soccer at Yankee Stadium. For another, the passion of the fans in the Third Rail.
Random historical great: David Villa, who was on the first NYCFC roster, is among the best Spanish players ever. He scored an astounding 77 goals during his four seasons with New York.
Random current star: Anton Tinnerholm, a right back from Sweden, is more than a stout defender; he is among the team leaders in both goals and assists in 2020.

Sky Blue FC
Where they play:  Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ
When they play: The National Women’s Soccer League season runs from April through October.
What’s their deal? Sky Blue FC has been a presence in the area for a long time—debuting back in 2009 and winning a championship in its first season—but the team is bound to attract more attention now that it’s moved to Red Bull Arena.
Why go? It’s a chance to see some great talent—both Sky Blue FC and visiting teams include players from the dominant United States Women’s National Team.
Random historical great: Christie Pearce, Sky Blue’s player-manager in 2009 and a team member from 2013 through 2017, represented the United States in five World Cups and four Olympic Games.
Random current star: Veteran USWNT midfielder Carli Lloyd, among the stars of the team’s most recent championship run, plays her club season right here in the NYC area—though missed 2020 with a knee injury.

US Open court US Open. Photo: Laura Miller

Big Events

US Open Tennis
More than 700,000 people attend the US Open annually, and millions watch on TV, both to see great tennis and to be part of a sport that has produced icons like the Williams sisters, Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova. Make sure to get your tickets early if you want good seats for prime matches. The event takes place in Queens’ USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center from late August into September.

NYC Marathon NYC Marathon. Photo: Julienne Schaer

TCS NYC Marathon
This race, held in early November, is the participatory sporting event to end all participatory sporting events—during which around 50,000 competitors endure a punishing 26.2-mile journey through all five boroughs. Amateurs run alongside professional stars as millions of fans cheer them every step of the way. Marathoners compete not only on two legs but also on prostheses and wheels. The 2020 version took place virtually, allowing runners from around the world to participate from their hometowns; for details of the way the event usually unfolds, check out our viewers’ guide.

Minor league, college and other teams:
College Basketball
Since the beginning of college basketball’s time as a major spectator sport, New York City has played host to the best teams. The National Invitation Tournament and many other post- and regular-season tournaments take place here every year, Division I teams make their homes in every borough and the NCAA Tournament has been known to drop by Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center. For up-to-date schedules on plans for 2021, check those arenas’ websites.

Staten Island Yankees, Brooklyn Cyclones Photo: David La Spina

Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees (minor league baseball)
The Mets and Yankees are New York’s best-known pro baseball teams, but two others play within city limits: the Brooklyn Cyclones (affiliated with the Mets) and the Staten Island Yankees (take a guess), short-season Single-A minor league clubs. They both play during the summertime in small, charming ballparks where tickets are cheap and you can see future stars up close (many former Cyclones and SI Yanks have gone on to big-league prominence).


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