Sports in North Carolina is ingrained in North Carolina culture with the state producing teams that pride themselves in competing at every level. The different sporting organizations that NC teams participate in include the National Basket Association (NBA), the National Hockey League (NHL), the National Football League (NFL), minor league baseball and others along with various well known champion college sports teams.

NC Professional Football

In professional football North Carolina boasts of being home to the Carolina Panthers of the NFL. They hold their home games in the Bank of America Stadium with a capacity of 74 500 people situated in Uptown Charlotte. They also participated in the Super Bowl XXXVIII on February 1, 2004.

NC Professional Hockey

In hockey, the Raleigh based Carolina Hurricanes represent the State in the National Hockey League. In 2006 they won the Stanley Cup which showed their bravery and hard work. PNC Arena is their home. They are also the first major professional sports team to win for North Carolina their sport’s highest championship. The Hurricanes moved to the state in 1997 from Hartford, Connecticut.

NC Professional Basketball

In professional basketball North Carolina has the Charlotte Bobcats that participate in the NBA. They are based in Charlotte and were added in 2004 the same time the city lost to New Orleans the Hornets. Home games to the Bobcats are played in Time Warner Cable Arena. The majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats is Michael Jordan who played basketball for UNC while in college under head coach Dean Smith and Jordan later played professional basketball with the Chicago Bulls.

NC Minor League Baseball

The minor league baseball team organizations in the state are the Durham Bulls and the Carolina Mudcats. The Durham Bulls are a Triple-A minor league baseball team that are affiliated with the Tampa Bay Rays major league baseball team. The Bulls Play in Durham, NC at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, also known as the DBAP. The team became famous in 1988 after the release of the movie Bull Durham.
The Carolina Mudcats are another minor league baseball team in NC based in Zebulon. They are the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Cleveland Indians major league baseball team. The Mudcats play their games at Five County Stadium in Wake County.


North Carolina State has been made famous by Pinehurst Resort a world class golf resort which hosts many major golf championships. It has hosted the PGA Championship, the US Open Championship and the Ryder Cup Matches. It is expected to make history in 2014 when it becomes the first course to host both women’s and men’s US Open in the same year. Every year many professional tours come to the State. Among those are the EGolf Porfessional Tour based in Charlotte; the PGA Tour Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte; and the Greater Greensboro Open in Greensboro. The Nationwide Tour takes place in Raleigh each year for the Carolina Classic.

NC College Sports

In college sports, 18 schools from North Carolina compete at Division level. Greensboro is the headquarters of the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference). Among college sports, basketball remains the most popular because of the Tobacco Road rivalries (an informal nickname given to a short stretch that passes through tobacco producing areas of North Carolina). There are several different rivalries within the state. NC State and UNC are bitter rivalries; UNC and ECU are rivalries; Duke University and UNC; and NC State and ECU.

The term tobacco road is often used when talking about NC college sports. The term referrers to the rival NC ACC universities that are located so close to one another. The roads and highways that lead to and from the four universities are lined with tobacco fields common to North Carolina. The four universities so closely located to one another are the Duke Blue Devils from Duke University in Durham; NC State Wolfpack from NC State University; UNC Tarheels from the University of North Carolina; and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons from Wake Forest University in Winston Salem. The closeness has created a rivalry among students, alumni and fans that is one of the most competitive reivalries in college sports.

North Carolina is home to some of the most well known and successful college teams in the USA and the world. NC college basketball is some of the best with the success and multiple championships held by many ACC basketball teams from Duke, UNC and NC State and Wake Forest. Duke leads with the most ACC Championships, followed by UNC with 17 ACC championships, NC State with 10 ACC Championships, and Wake Forest with 4 ACC Basketball Championships.

The ACC Men’s Basketball Teams have also won several NCAA Championships over the years. Duke was the NCAA Champions in 1991, 1992, 2001 and 2010. UNC was the NCAA Champions in 1982,1993,2005 and 2009.. NC State won the NCAA Championship in 1974 and 1983.

Famous NC college/university basketball players that went on the play in the NBA include:Phil Ford (UNC), Michael Jordan (UNC); Dereck Whittenburg (NC State); JJ Redick (DUKE); Tyler Hansbrough (UNC); Christian Laettner (DUKE); and David Thompson (NC State).

Major colleges in North Carolina field teams in college football making it very popular. Past ACC football championships have been won by Duke 7 times, NC State 7 times, UNC 5 times, and Wake Forest twice. Many NC college football teams have had successful seasons resulting in numerous bowl games. The last NC based college football team to win the ACC Championship was Wake Forest University. Wake Forest won the ACC football championships in 2006 allowing them to participate in the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida in January 2007.



North Carolina is a large part of the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing, better known as NASCAR. The state is home to 80% of the NASCAR racing teams. NASCAR has three different racing series: the Sprint Cup, the Nationwide, and the Camping World Truck series. In the 1980 and 1990’s NASCAR teams raced at several North Carolina racetracks including the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Rockingham Speedway, and North Wilkesboro Speedway. Many of NASCAR’s most famous drivers are from NC including the late Dale Earnhardt (Kannapolis); the Petty family of drivers-Lee Petty, Richard Petty (Level Cross), and Kyle Petty; Junior Johnson (Ronda); and Ned Jarrett (Newton). The NASCAR Hall of Fame is located in Charlotte, NC. The Hall of Fame is dedicated to drivers, crew chiefs, owners and others within the sport who have shown great skill and achievement in their area of NASCAR sports.

Importance of NC Sports on the State

The importance of sports in North Carolina is undeniable. NC sports has a lot to offer any sports enthusiast. Any time of year there is always a sporting event or activity to attend. No matter if a person was born in NC, moved to NC, or attended a college/university in NC, anyone can become a diehard NC sports fan!
Both professional and college sports serve as a powerful community building institution in North Carolina and across the world. A wealth of sports talent has come from the North Carolina and gone on to extremely successful careers in the professional sporting organizations. North Carolina has a lot to be proud of in these indivduals. NC college sports in has help develop talents that would otherwise have gone untapped.
NC sports bring millions of dollars in income to the state from all the different venues found across the state. From the college sports to the professional, golf to motor sports, and minor leagues to major leagues North Carolina offers it all. Find a favorite team and sport and get out there and have fun!


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