Sports Lovers’ Guide To Nashville

With a top-rate hockey team and a successful MLS bid, Nashville is gaining a serious reputation as a sports town. From basketball to football to roller derby, here’s how to plan a sports-filled week in Music City!

Professional Sports

photo courtesy Tennessee Titans

History

Originally established as the Houston Oilers in 1959, Tennessee’s NFL team has been around since 1999.

For their first two years in the state, they were known as the Oilers. You’ll have better luck finding white lightning than striking black gold around here, so the team was then renamed to the “Titans,” a fitting nod to Greek mythology and Nashville’s nickname “The Athens of the South.”

The team boasts nine division championships, 22 playoff appearances, and 15 Pro Football Hall of Fame members.

The Titans made the NFL Playoffs in 2017 for the first time in nine years, and fans are hoping that with new uniforms, the Titans will see continued success during their 2018 campaign.

Want To See Them Play?

If you’re around Nashville in the last week of July or the first two weeks of August, the Titans host their pre-season training camp at various spots around town with practices free and open to the public. However, if you’re looking for more friends to join — 69,143 to be exact — head on over to Nissan Stadium and join the sea of blue and white on football Sunday! For schedule and tickets, visit the Titan’s website at titansonline.com/tickets/.

Details:

Tennessee Titans, NFL Football

Season:
August—December/January

Venue:
Nissan Stadium

Website: titansonline.com

photo courtesy Nashville Predators

History

Beginning as a franchise expansion team in 1998, the Predators have called Bridgestone Arena home since their inaugural season and hold practices at Ford Ice Center.

Having established itself as a powerhouse NHL team, the Preds have won a conference championship, a Presidents’ Trophy, and a divisional championship.

Over the course of 19 seasons between 1998 and 2018, they have advanced to the Stanley Cup playoffs 11 times.

Want To See Them Play?

Before you purchase a ticket, it’s important to understand Preds culture. Predators fans are known for being loud, proud, and animated to create an intimidating atmosphere to visiting teams. Chanting, horn-blaring, and throwing catfish on the ice are all part of the game in Smashville. If you think you can handle the rowdy sea of gold, head over to NHL.com for tickets and game schedules.

Details:

Nashville Predators, NHL Hockey

Season:
October—April

Venue:
Bridgestone Arena

Website:
nhl.com

History

Founded in 1978, the Nashville Sounds are the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics organization.

With 14 post-season appearances from 1978 to 2018, the team has won 10 divisional titles, two conference titles, and three league championships, the most recent if which was in 2005.

Want To See Them Play?

A 10,000-seat stadium that opened in 2015, First Tennessee Park honors the perfect union between baseball and music.

Unique features of the park include a scoreboard shaped like a guitar, a breathtaking view of the Nashville skyline, and guitar pick-shaped signs. Concessions offer the best of Nashville cuisine including hot chicken and barbecue, alongside traditional ballpark staples.

If you are looking to shake up the nine-inning routine, you can head over to The Band Box in right field. Here you will find even more food options like smoked chicken nachos, salads, and corn fritters as well as games like mini golf, cornhole, ping-pong, and more.

If a family-friendly atmosphere or a day at the ballpark is what you’re looking for, head over to MiLB.com for tickets and schedules!

Details:

Nashville Sounds, Minor League Baseball

Season:
April—August

Venue:
First Tennessee Park

Website:
MiLB.com

History

Founded in 2013, Nashville Soccer Club made its debut on the professional soccer stage in 2018 and splits its playing time between Nissan Stadium and First Tennessee Park.

Like the Predators, Nashville SC is a Music City born-and-raised franchise, which is reflected in the team’s motto, “Our Town, Our Club.”

The Nashville MLS team’s first season will be in 2020, so if you want to get behind an up-and-coming franchise, Nashville SC is the team for you!

Want To See Them Play?

As the team looks to foster a sense of community in the franchise’s early stages, all are encouraged to join Nashville SC’s free fan club. You can also purchase single-game or season tickets at nashvillesc.com/tickets, and Nashville SC provides weekly opportunities to win tickets throughout the season. To learn more about the franchise and see the team’s schedule, visit nashvillesc.com.

Details:

Nashville Soccer Club, United Soccer League

Season:
March—October

Venue:
First Tennessee Park and Nissan Stadium

Website: nashvillesc.com

College Sports

photo courtesy Vanderbilt University

Athletic Events You Can’t Miss

In the highly competitive Southeastern Conference, Vanderbilt has been able to make a name for itself in sports such as women’s bowling (2007, 2018 National Champions), baseball (2014 College World Series Champions), and women’s tennis (2015 National Champions).

When visiting Nashville, make a point to explore Vanderbilt University’s campus and cap off your visit with a baseball game. The Vandy baseball team has seen 17 NCAA tournament appearances since its founding and hasn’t missed a single post-season appearance since 2005.

Be there as the team hits the diamond in the spring at Hawkins Field.

Sports Offered:

Men’s Sports:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Tennis

Women’s Sports:

  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field

Details:

Vanderbilt University

Division:
NCAA Division I — Southeastern Conference

Mascot:
Commodores

Venues:

  • Currey Tennis Center
  • Centennial Sportsplex
  • Hawkins Field
  • Vanderbilt Legends Club of Tennessee Historic Memorial Gymnasium
  • Smyrna Bowling Center
  • Vanderbilt Stadium
  • Vanderbilt Soccer/Lacrosse Complex
  • Vanderbilt Track

Website: vucommodores.com

photo courtesy Belmont University

Athletic Events You Can’t Miss

Making its seventh NCAA Division I appearance in 2015 and finishing with only nine losses during the 2017-18 season, the Belmont Bruins men’s basketball team is a fun one to watch. During the regular season, the Bruins play at Curb Event Center and fans have the option to purchase season or single-game tickets.

Sports Offered:

Men’s Sports:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field

Women’s Sports:

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • Volleyball

Details:

Belmont University

Division:
NCAA Division I — Ohio Valley Conference

Mascot:
Bruins

Venues:

  • Curb Event Center
  • E.S. Rose Park
  • Centennial Sportsplex
  • The Little Course
  • Hermitage Golf Course
  • Westhaven Golf Course

Website: belmontbruins.com

Alternative Sports

Want More of a Unique Fan Experience? When you’re not watching popular American sports like football, baseball, or soccer, fill the time with something unexpected.

History

Founded in 1997 and continuing to be a grass-roots organization today, the ’Roos strive to bridge the gap between the United States and Australia through Australian football and netball.

The team plays at Elmington Park and admission is free.

If you’re looking to go pro, the team is always accepting new players.

Check out nashvillekangaroos.org to join or learn more.

Details:

The Nashville Kangaroos

Sport:
Australian Football & Netball

Season:
May—October

Venue: Elmington Park

Website: nashvillekangaroos.org

History

With a team name like “Music City Brawl Stars” and player monikers like “Polly Pushy Pants” and “Bashley Bones,” do you really need any other reason to check out this organization?

Founded in 2006, the Nashville Rollergirls is a women’s flat-track roller derby league with not one, but two teams you can see compete in an action-packed venue.

With roller derby making a resurgence, this is one sport you don’t want to miss out on.

To see the NRG schedule, join the team, or if you just want to learn more about the sport, check them out at nashvillerollergirls.com!

Details:

Nashville Rollergirls

Sport:
Roller Derby

Season:
May—October

Website: nashvillerollergirls.com

Annual Sporting Events

Yearly Sporting Events Held in Music City

Music City Bowl

Sport: College Football
Month: December

The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl is an annual college football bowl game held in Nissan Stadium at the end of December. It pits an SEC team against an ACC or Big Ten team based on end-of-season rankings. Being an annual holiday tradition here in Music City, there are plenty of events leading up to the game for both the hard-core and casual fans to enjoy including the Broadway Fan Zone, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken Eating World Championships, a battle of the bands competition, pep rallies, and pre- and post-game concerts.

To learn more about the annual event please visit musiccitybowl.com.

Iroquois Steeplechase

Sport: Horse Racing
Month: May

The Iroquois Steeplechase, held in Percy Warner Park, is “Music City’s annual celebration of time-honored traditions, Tennessee hospitality, and Southern fashions” through tailgating, hat contests, the Parade of Hounds, and of course, horse racing. There are seven races throughout the day on the 3-mile turf track, and the annual spring racing tradition has been a family-fun atmosphere for nearly eight decades. If you need even more of a reason to spend a day at the track, proceeds from this event benefit the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

So, whether you’re interested in the racing, the activities and traditions, or just want to give back to the community, check out more at iroquoissteeplechase.org.

City of Hope

Sport: Softball
Month: June

The City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game is held in conjunction with CMA Fest every summer in Nashville. With a goal to “strike out cancer,” fans can enjoy a day at First Tennessee Park watching their favorite celebrities play a game of softball and support cancer research and treatment programs. Celebrity participants have included athletes, singers, and reality TV stars alike.

To learn more about the event please visit visitmusiccity.com/visitors/events/celebritysoftballgame. If you’re looking for more information on City of Hope or want to support their cause, please visit cityofhope.org.

John A. Merritt Classic

Sport: College Football
Month: September

Named after one of Tennessee’s most successful coaches, the John Merritt Classic is an annual football game for the Tennessee State Tigers that raises money for scholarships and other student-related needs. The weekend includes activities for everyone: tailgates, happy hours, band showcases, and more. Bring the whole family for the game, stay for the fun, and leave with pride knowing you supported students in need.

To learn more or buy tickets for the next John A. Merritt Classic, visit merrittclassic.com.

St. Jude Rock ’N’ Roll

Sport: Running
Month: April

With options including the marathon, half marathon, 5K, 1 Mile Dash, and a Kid’s Rock run, the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll event brings together people from all walks of life. Lifetime runners, dog walkers, para-athletes, stroller pushers, and those who just want to explore Nashville all find a way to participate in this yearly fundraiser supporting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The races themselves include more than 20 live bands that perform along the course, but there are plenty of other events to join in on during race weekend, too, such as a post-race celebration concert.

If you’re interested in supporting the St. Jude Heroes program, want to sign up for a race, or are interested in volunteering at the yearly event, please visit runrocknroll.com/Nashville.

Special Event: 2019 NFL Draft

Sport: NFL Football
April 25—27,2019

With the addition of a professional soccer team and recent success of the Predators and Titans franchises, Nashville’s hometown teams have seen a boom in popularity among sports fans worldwide. Combining this with Music City’s reputation for fun, food, and Southern hospitality, the bid to host what is one of the sports world’s most televised event — The NFL Draft — has been a long time coming for Nashville. From April 25 to April 27, 2019, the NFL Draft will be hosted across multiple venues in downtown Nashville.

Registration times have not yet been announced for the 2019 draft, but if you are interested in being a part of the event, fans can register for standby tickets using the NFL Draft - Fan Mobile Pass app. Please note that the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon is scheduled the same weekend, so book your hotel room early!

Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame

501 Broadway, Nashville, TN

While Nashville has recently been dubbed as a Southern “hockey town” and the love for SEC football in The Volunteer State is rabid, Tennessee has put itself on the map for exceptional coaches and athletes — collegiate, professional, and Olympic — in a wide array of sports ranging from golf to swimming. To best understand their legacy and impact, a visit to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame (TSHF) is a must-do for any fan.

There are close to 500 TSHF inductees including names such as Pat Summit, Reggie White, Wilma Rudolph, and the museum showcases accomplishments of inductees through galleries and interactive exhibits. Try on Titans and Predators gear, stand on Olympic Track & Field platforms, practice swimming the butterfly stroke, and of course, take plenty of pictures at this hands-on museum.

With ticket prices from $2 to $3, bring your whole family to Bridgestone Arena and take a look around. Bridgestone Arena is located at 501 Broadway and the TSHF is located on the bottom floor. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check out their website at https://tshf.net.


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