Tallahassee, Florida, USA – From our professional teams to our thrilling events, Florida sporting events always hit it out of the park. Don’t get caught on the sidelines this season and get the whole family in the game. Florida offers a plethora of sports for everyone to enjoy. With anything from auto racing to basketball, make this year’s vacation a slam-dunk.
For more than 90 years, Florida has been the home of The East-West Shrine Game. Widely known as the nation’s first of its kind, this annual event features a college football all-star game in support of Shriners Hospitals for Children held at the Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg. Admire America’s football finest while showing your support for a very worthy cause.
Florida is home of three National Football League (NFL) teams, making it the second-largest football state. Seasonal games are held at their respective home fields for all to experience and enjoy. Florida’s NFL line-up includes:
- Miami Dolphins : Home Field – Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Home Field – Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Home Field – EverBank Field, Jacksonville
College football has a large presence in Florida as well as professional. Home to two Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) teams, one Southeastern Conference (SEC) team, and two American Athletic Conference (AAC) teams, Florida’s top collegiate football teams include:
- Florida State Seminoles (ACC): Home Field – Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee
- Miami Hurricanes (ACC): Home Field – Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens
- Florida Gators (SEC): Home Field – Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville
- South Florida Bulls (AAC): Home Field – Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
- UCF Knights (NCAA): Home Field – Bright House Networks Stadium, Orlando
Florida is the proud host of 8 NCAA Football Bowl Games each year. These bowl games are located in different locations throughout the Sunshine State for you to visit and enjoy. The bowl games we annually host include:
- Capital One Orange Bowl– Held at: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens
- Outback Bowl – Held at: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
- TaxSlayer Bowl – Held at: EverBank Field, Jacksonville
- Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl – Held at: Camping World Stadium, Orlando
- Russell Athletic Bowl – Held at: Camping World Stadium, Orlando
- Miami Beach Bowl – Held at: Marlins Park, Miami
- Boca Raton Bowl – Held at: FAU Stadium, Boca Raton
- St. Petersburg Bowl – Held at: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg
Home to not one, but two Major League Baseball teams, Florida offers a baseball experience in the Southern and Central parts of the state. Florida’s MLB teams include:
- Miami Marlins: Home Field – Marlins Park, Miami
- Tampa Bay Rays: Home Field – Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg
Traditionally, Florida is home to many MLB teams during their spring training season, this is widely known as the Florida Grapefruit League. Nearly all the greats – Ruth, Hornsby, Mays and Clemente to name a few have practiced and played the fields of St. Petersburg, Bradenton and destinations south and north in the state. Teams that participate in this famous league include: Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Saint Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals.
Some interesting facts highlighting Florida’s Spring Training Games are:
- 2013 marked 125 Years of Major League Baseball Spring Training in Florida.
- Over 25 million fans from all over the world have attended Florida Spring Training Games since 2000.
- In 2015 alone, over 1.5 million fans visited Florida for Spring Training Games.
- 2015 holds the record for per game attendance in Florida’s history with 6,900 fans per game at 14 locations statewide.
Minor League Baseball is also in full effect here in Florida, hosting 13 teams total around the state. Florida’s MiLB teams include:
- Daytona Tortugas: Home Field – Jackie Robinson Ballpark, Daytona Beach
- Pensacola Blue Wahoos: Home Field – Blue Wahoos Stadium, Pensacola
- Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp: Home Field – The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, Jacksonville
- Dunedin Blue Jays: Home Field – Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, Dunedin
- Clearwater Threshers: Home Field –Bright House Field, Clearwater
- Tampa Yankees: Home Field – George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa
- Lakeland Flying Tigers: Home Field – Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland
- Florida Fire Frogs: Home Field – Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee
- Bradenton Marauders: Home Field – McKechnie Field, Bradenton
- St. Lucie Mets: Home Field – Tradition Field, Port St. Lucie
- Charlotte Stone Crabs: Home Field – Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte
- Fort Myers Miracle: Home Field – Hammond Stadium, Fort Myers
- Jupiter Hammerheads: Home Field – Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter
Although it is not very cold here, you can bet that Florida is still in on the ice hockey scene. Featuring two amazing arenas and events for everyone and anyone to take part in, Florida has all of your ice hockey needs no matter what the temperature outside.
Florida is home to two National Hockey League teams. These include:
- Florida Panthers: Home Area – BB&T Center, Sunrise
- Tampa Bay Lightning: Home Arena – Amalie Arena, Tampa
An Annual Bolts Family Carnival is held by the Lightning Foundation each year. All proceeds go toward the Lightning Foundation, which distributes funds and services to hundreds of local non-profits. This carnival is held right inside the Amalie Arena Big Top complete with carnival-style games, unique photo opportunities (Stanley Cup, Zamboni, Penalty Box, Etc.), face painting and more.
Central Florida is home to both of our local soccer teams. Score big with a ticket to an exhilarating and action packed game for either team during their season. Opening in 2017, Orlando City will be moving their home field to the newly constructed 25,500 seat stadium. Be one of the first to check it out.
Although Florida has three professional soccer teams, they each belong to three separate leagues. Florida’s Major League Soccer team is:
Another Florida soccer team, belonging to the United Soccer League, is:
Florida’s National Women’s Soccer League team is:
- Orlando Pride: Home Field – Camping World Stadium, Orlando
Florida’s world renowned National Basketball Association teams garner a large following all around the country. Whether you’re in Orlando or Miami, these two teams will get the crowd going wild during any season game.
With two NBA teams, Florida is the proud home of:
- Miami Heat: Home Court – American Airlines Arena, Miami
- Orlando Magic: Home Court – Amway Center, Orlando
Florida hosts many NASCAR sponsored events as well as many events that are a part of the NASCAR tour. Watch these speed daemons whiz past, inches from your seat at each of the following exciting NASCAR races:
- Daytona 500 – Held at: Daytona International Speedway
- The Unlimited – Held at: Daytona International Speedway
- Can-Am Duel 1 & 2 – Held at: Daytona International Speedway
- Ford EcoBoost 200, 300 & 400 – Held at: Homestead Miami Speedway
- Coke Zero 400 – Held at: Daytona International Speedway
- Speedweeks at Daytona – Held at: Daytona International Speedway
- NEXTera ENERGY Resources 250 – Held at: Daytona International Speedway
NASCAR Event Locations:
Other auto racing events held in Florida include:
- Ferrari Finalli Mondali – Held at: Daytona International Speedway
- Rolex 24 – Held at: Daytona International Speedway
- Classic 12 Hour – Held at: Sebring Raceway
- Verizon Indy Car Series – Held at: Streets of St. Petersburg
- Pirelli World Challenge Championships – Held at: Streets of St. Petersburg
- SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks – Held at: Streets of St. Petersburg
- Bright House Challenge Series – Held at: New Smyrna Speedway
- Annual Governor’s Cup 200 – Held at: New Smyrna Speedway
- Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing – Held at: New Smyrna Speedway
- Annual Snowball Derby – Held at: 5 Flags Speedway
Other Auto Racing Event Locations:
- Sebring Raceway, Sebring
- Streets of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg
- New Smyrna Speedway, New Smyrna Beach
- 5 Flags Speedway, Pensacola
- Andersen Race Park – Palmetto
The United States Tennis Association has found a new home for American Tennis and that is Lake Nona, Orlando. Featuring a state-of the-art facility complete with 102 courts, this location houses the USTA’s Community Tennis and Player Development divisions, as well as the University of Central Florida’s women and men’s tennis teams. Located on 63-acres of land, Lake Nona is setting a new functional standard for the sport.
Held annually in March, the Miami area is host to the Miami Open tennis tournament at the Crandon Park Tennis Center. This event is a 12-day tournament featuring the top 96 men and women tennis players in the world. Florida is proud to be home to this exciting and prestigious tournament.
Deemed the Horse Capital of the World for its more than 700 horse farms covering more than 30,000 acres, Ocala offers equestrian enthusiasts around the world the opportunity to experience some of the best equine competitions. Some of these annual national and international events and competitions include:
- HITS Ocala Winter Circuit: Held at – HITS Post Time Farm, Ocala
- Live Oak International: Held at – Like Oak Plantation, Ocala
- Equiventures: Held at – Florida Horse Park, Ocala Jockey Club and Exmoor Eventing, Ocala
- Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup: Held at – HITS Post Time Farm, Ocala
During the winter season, the Palm Beach area is home of the Winter Equestrian Festival, a 12-week international equestrian spectacular. Hosted at the Palm Beach Equestrian Center in Wellington, this event features the world’s finest horses and riders in both show jumping and dressing.
Also located in Palm Beach, the International Polo Club Palm Beach is home to the world’s highest goal polo during the winter season. Considered to be the finest, most well-equipped polo facility in the United States, the IPC is host to America’s Triple Crown of prestigious polo tournaments: the USPA C.V. Whitney Cup, the Piaget Gold Cup and the Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship.
The Swatch Major Series opens its beach volleyball world tour in Florida at the Fort Lauderdale Major. This event will be held at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park and will feature 32 of the world’s top teams per gender competing for the top spot as the champions of the sand.
Each year in Panama City Beach, Florida hosts one of the most storied North American races, IRONMAN Florida. Athletes are challenged to swim in the Gulf of Mexico, bicycle a flat, one-loop course and run a two-loop course during this event. Florida offers perfect temperatures and a scenic seashore, making this race attract triathletes everywhere.
Florida is home to four Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour tournaments. They are:
- The Honda Classic: Held at PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, (which is also the home of the PGA!)
- The Players Championship: Held at TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach
- Arnold Palmer Invitational: Held at Bay Hill Golf Club and Lodge, Orlando
- Valspar Championship: Held at Innisbrook Resort, Palm Harbor
Additionally, Florida is home to one Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour tournament: the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples.
There are several other tournaments, however. They are:
- Tavistock Cup: Held in Windermere
- Franklin Templeton Shootout: Held at Tiburón Golf Club, Naples
- CA Championship: Held in Miami
- ADT Skills Challenge: Held in Palm Beach
Some famous Florida golf courses are the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, where the Players Championship is held, as well as the PGA National Golf Club’s Champion Course, where the Honda Classic is held.
Of course, there are countless Florida golf resorts. Just a few are:
- The World Golf Village (WGV) in St. Johns County, Florida, which was created by the PGA Tour and holds the World Golf Hall of Fame
- Bay Hill Club and Lodge, Bay Hill, which the late Arnold Palmer owned since 1974
- PGA Village in Port St. Lucie
- Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Florida
For photos, please contact Summer Gonzalez at SGonzalez@VisitFlorida.org.