Atlanta is truly a sports town. It has definitely had its ups and downs when it comes to winning, and there are not a lot of championships over the years. Atlanta is the home of several major professional sports teams and a number of high profile colleges.
Bobby Dodd Stadium by Mistercontributer via wikimedia commons
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets play their football in Bobby Dodd Stadium, which is the oldest on-campus stadium still in use in Division I football. Georgia Tech has won four Division I-A football championships. The Yellow Jackets play basketball in the new McCamish Pavilion. Georgia Tech played number 2 Connecticut for the national title in 2004, but lost 82-73. Tech participates in a total of 17 intercollegiate sports.
The Georgia State Panthers basketball team just participated in the NCAA Championships beating number 3 Baylor before losing in the next round to number 6 Xavier. The Panthers currently play their football in the Georgia Dome. The Panthers field varsity teams in 16 sports.
Atlanta’s predominately black colleges also field intercollegiate sports teams. Clark Atlanta has six sports teams each for men and women. Morehouse College participates in seven sports and is an all-male private college. Spelman College dropped all sports programs in 2013.
Currently the Atlanta Hawks professional basketball team is having a very good season. They have clinched the Eastern Conference and are headed for the playoffs. The Hawks moved to Atlanta from St. Louis in 1968. They won their only NBA Championship while in St. Louis. The Hawks play their home games in Phillips Arena.
Apr 4, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Shelvin Mack (8) shoots the ball against the Brooklyn Nets in the fourth quarter at Philips Arena. The Hawks defeated the Nets 131-99. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta also has a women’s professional basketball team that also plays its home games in Phillips Arena. This team is known as The Dream and has made the playoffs five of the six years they have been in Atlanta.
On April 15, 1964, then Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr fulfilled a campaign promise when he and other dignitaries broke ground for a new professional stadium for the Braves who would be moving from Milwaukee to Atlanta. In 1966, the Atlanta Braves and the NFL expansion Atlanta Falcons both began play in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. The Falcons moved to the Georgia Dome in 1992 and the Braves moved to Turner Field in 1997.
Georgia Dome by Ken Lund via wikimedia commons
Turner Field had been Olympic Stadium for the 1996 Olympics which were held in Atlanta. After the Olympics the stadium was transformed into a baseball stadium for the Braves.
Now both the Braves and the Falcons are looking to the future for new stadiums. The Falcons are building the New Atlanta Stadium with its retractable roof and plan to start play there for the 2017 season. The Braves also look to 2017 as the new stadium they are building in Cobb County will be ready for their 2017 season.
The Braves had a very successful run beginning in 1991 and won the Baseball World Series in 1995. The Falcons have played in the NFl’s Super Bowl on one occasion losing to the Denver Broncos by a score of 34-19.
Atlanta will be joining Major League Soccer in 2017. The yet unnamed team will play their games in the New Atlanta Stadium. In 1968 the Atlanta Chiefs won the championship of the now defunct North American Soccer League.
Atlanta has had a rough time with its hockey teams. The Atlanta Flames played in the National Hockey League from 1972 to 1980. The Flames did not draw enough fan support and were sold and relocated to Alberta as the Calgary Flames. The Atlanta Thrashers began play in the National Hockey League for the 1999-2000 season. The Thrashers were sold to a Canadian group in 2011 and were moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba where they became the Winnipeg Jets.
Atlanta Flames by Rick Dikeman via wikimedia commons
Since the Thrashers move to Winnipeg, Atlanta has had the Gwinnet Gladiators minor league hockey team as its only ice hockey representative.
The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is a part of the College Football Playoff and will be a semifinal host on December 31, 2016. Atlanta also hosts the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game to open each college football season. The 2015 Chick-fil-A Kickoff game will feature Louisville versus Auburn on September 5, 2015 at the Georgia Dome.
There is a look at Atlanta as a sports town. I hope you will join me along with thousands of sports fans as we look forward to another year in Atlanta Sports.