A Major Sports State
The Lone Star State is big on sports. That might not be a surprise when it comes to football, but in addition to Texas’ two professional football teams and countless college teams, the state is also home to multiple pro baseball and basketball franchises and more powerhouse collegiate sports programs than we could list. This means there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy your favorite sports in venues across the state.
Ready for a home run? The 2017 World Series Champions, the Houston Astros, have their home opener April 5th, 2019, against the Oakland Athletics. While fans wait anxiously and hope their team can redeem itself after not making it to the World Series in 2018, they can take a tour of Minute Maid Park. The tour guides you through historic Union Station, the broadcasting booth, press box and even a luxury suite, as well as the dugout and bullpen when available. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, they’ll even have specialty tours that will take you inside the clubhouse.
In Arlington, Texas Ranger fans can enjoy a game during the regular season or take a tour of Globe Life Park when the team is on the road. The entertainment, restaurant and retail portion of the complex was just finished this year, and an entirely new Rangers ballpark is scheduled for 2020. Baseball fans also have opportunities to enjoy major league-affiliated minor league teams, two American Association of Independent Professional Baseball teams, an Atlantic League team and a Pecos League team. With all these teams in all these cities, there’s no excuse not to catch a game. You can sit back with a beer (or soda) and a dog in Frisco, Round Rock, Corpus Christi, Midland, El Paso, San Antonio, Grand Prairie, Cleburne, Sugar Land and Alpine.
If basketball is more your thing, you’re in luck as Texas has three NBA teams — the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs – plus three G League Teams (Texas Legends, Austin Spurs and Rio Grande Valley Vipers). Texas is also home to the Dallas Wings of the WNBA. You’ll definitely want to check out a few games during the NBA regular season from mid-October to April and also catch a tour during the off-season. It’s a great way to escape the heat, and you can step foot right on the stadium floor and check out other viewing angles and luxury suites. Check with the facilities themselves for details and reservations. Of the NBA’s G League Teams, the Texas Legends play at the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco, the Austin Spurs shoot hoops at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers play at the Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg. The WNBA regular season runs roughly from May to September with the Wings playing at College Park Center at the University of Texas at Arlington.
And then of course, the football. Shows like Friday Night Lights weren’t exaggerating this state’s love of the game, from high school and college to the pros.
Texas fans are split between the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans. The NFL season runs from September through January, providing ample opportunities to catch a home game. Cowboys’ fans have two additional opportunities to interact with their favorite team, or at least the facilities in which they spend their time. The Dallas Cowboys World Corporate Headquarters at The Star in Frisco allows fans to go on tours of the facility, including the indoor athletic field and Super Bowl memorabilia display. At AT&T Stadium in Arlington, tours include walking onto the field, where fans can take pictures on the massive star at the 50-yard line or throw a ball around and reenact some of the Cowboys’ big-time plays. Texans fans can take a similar tour of NRG Stadium in Houston, minus the opportunity to run around on the field (we know, bummer).
And don’t forget about college football. If you’re in College Station or Austin on game day, you can expect to see fans of all levels around town. And you don’t have to be a dedicated Aggies or Longhorns fan to jump in on the cheering action. Just make sure you know the difference between “hook ‘em” and “gig ‘em” if you want to fit in with the crowd.