Courtesy, New York Yankees
New York is the world’s best sports city by a mile. We have professional teams in every game you could want to see, along with a full roster of famous arenas and stadiums. Want to get in on the action but don’t know the first thing about our teams? No worries—our cheat sheet will get you started and make you sound like an expert (or at least enough to blend in).
Photo: Jen Davis
Major league teams:
When they play: The Mets’ Major League Baseball regular season runs from late March/early April through late September/early October.
What’s their deal? New York’s National League team, founded in 1962, long held underdog status, especially compared to the Yankees (see below), though that has changed in recent years with new ownership. The Mets were World Series champs in 1969 and 1986, and National League champions in 1973, 2000 and 2015.
Why go? Cozy ballpark, knowledgeable fans, the chance to see how owner Steve Cohen is spending his billions, a gigantic mechanical apple that rises when the Mets hit a home run and the hope of hearing “” blare when closer Edwin Diaz comes into the game (note: Diaz injured himself in the 2023 preseason and is expected to be out for most or all of the year)
Random historical great: The late Tom Seaver, Hall of Fame pitcher
Random current star: Francisco Lindor, a dynamic shortstop signed to the largest and longest deal in team history
Courtesy, New York Yankees
When they play: The Yankees’ Major League Baseball regular season runs from late March/early April through late September/early October
What’s their deal? The 27-time World Series champions are synonymous with Hall of Famers like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Reggie Jackson and many others. They play in hallowed Yankee Stadium, which replaced the original “House That Ruth Built” in 2009 (it looks a lot like the old one).
Why go? To see Monument Park (where they keep plaques for those great players) and the team museum, and to hear the so-called Bleacher Creatures vocally support their heroes—and perhaps give the famous “.”
Random historical great: See above; take your pick.
Random current star: Slugging outfielder Aaron Judge, who in 2022 set the American League record for most home runs in a season. He stands 6’7” and wears number 99—the highest one you can put on your jersey.
When they play: The Knicks’ National Basketball Association regular schedule runs from October through April.
What’s their deal? An original NBA team and an obsession for generations of fans, they are kings of the New York Post back page.
Why go? Madison Square Garden gets loud when a game is close or the Knicks are doing well. You also might see some celebrities.
Random historical great: Patrick Ewing, Hall of Fame center
Random current star: Recent free agent signee Jalen Brunson has exceeded expectations, steadying the point guard position and improving the play of those around him.
When they play: The Nets' National Basketball Association regular season schedule runs from October through April.
What’s their deal? The team moved from Long Island to New Jersey and finally to Brooklyn, where in 2013 they became the borough’s first big-league team since the 1950s. Jay-Z designed their logo. Their gear is a common sight on Brooklyn streets. Their court is…gray! It’s all very 21st-century.
Why go? To see the spaceship-like arena and its distinctive floor, to eat from the Brooklyn-based concessionaires and, much of the time, for the most affordable NBA ticket in the City.
Random historical great: Julius “Dr. J” Erving, who was with the Nets in their ABA days and elevated the slam dunk to an art form
Random current star: Spencer Dinwiddie, a shooting guard during the team’s admirable rise from scrubs to respectability; he got traded when they became a “superteam” and came back in February 2023 via trade as the big names departed.
New York Liberty. Courtesy, Getty Images
When they play: The Liberty’s Women’s National Basketball Association regular season runs from May through September.
What’s their deal? New York City’s WNBA franchise has been a member since the league’s inception in 1996. The team is especially popular with families and a good choice for those who need their basketball fix during the summer. Learn more about the team and a few of its players .
Why go? Good seats are cheap by pro basketball standards, and these are the best female players in the world.
Random historical great: Becky Hammon, a six-time All-Star who went on to become the first female full-time assistant coach in the history of the NBA
Random current star: Breanna Stewart, a former league MVP and scoring leader who signed with the team during the 2022–23 off-season
Courtesy, New York Yankees
When they play: The Rangers’ National Hockey League regular season runs from October through April.
What’s their deal? One of the NHL’s original six franchises, the “Broadway Blueshirts” are the favorite team of a very loud, devoted fan base.
Why go? Because you’re unlikely to experience an atmosphere rowdier than a Rangers game at Madison Square Garden. Though the arena has gone upscale after recent renovations, the diehards still shout their lungs out—doubly so when local rivals the Islanders visit.
Random historical great: Mark Messier, who will never again have to buy a drink in New York City after helping to end the team’s 54-year Stanley Cup drought in 1994
Random current star: Goalie Igor Shesterkin, the team’s reigning MVP and one of the top shot-stoppers in the league
New York Giants (left) and New York Jets. Photo: Evan Pinkus
When they play: The Giants’ National Football League regular season runs from September through December
What’s their deal? Eight-time champions of the NFL (four times in the Super Bowl era), Big Blue is one of the league’s oldest teams.
Why go? An American football game, in general, is one of the more involved sports rituals anywhere. It starts early with tailgating—eating, drinking and hanging out in the parking lot. If you’re coming from overseas, well, this is definitely an American experience.
Random historical great: The late Frank Gifford, MVP running back turned popular broadcaster
Random current star: Running back Saquon Barkley is the easy and flashy pick, but tackle Andrew Thomas went from a perceived bust to second-team All-Pro—a reason to root for him.
When they play: The Jets’ National Football League season runs from September through December.
What’s their deal? Back when they were in the upstart American Football League, Gang Green pulled off one of the biggest upsets in sports history and defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.
Why go? Again, NFL football is one of the great American sports traditions. Plus, you might see a guy in a firefighter helmet yelling “J-E-T-S, Jets! Jets! Jets!”
Random historical great: Joe Namath—“Broadway Joe”—the flamboyant quarterback who put the team on the map
Random current star: Relentless defensive lineman Quinnen Williams might just be the best player in the league at his position.
Photo: Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports
When they play: The Red Bulls’ Major League Soccer regular season runs from March to early October.
What’s their deal? The New York City area’s first Major League Soccer team, formerly known as the MetroStars, was founded in 1996.
Why go? The young Red Bulls team has vocal fans. The supporters’ section—the “South Ward,” behind the southside goal—is rowdy, and the metal stands in Red Bull Arena echo with stomping feet when the game gets tense. The arena is ranked by those in the know as one of the best soccer-specific stadiums in the United States. The team has made the playoffs 13 consecutive seasons (albeit losing in the first round of the last four of those).
Random historical great: Bradley Wright-Phillips, who is sixth on the MLS all-time goals-scored list
Random current star: Lewis Morgan, a winger who led team in scoring in 2022
When they play: New York City FC’s Major League Soccer regular season runs from March to early October.
What’s their deal? Founded in 2015, they’re the new Major League Soccer team in town.
Why go? For one, the novelty of seeing professional soccer at Yankee Stadium (a purpose-built stadium is being built for the team in Flushing, Queens, and meant to be ready in 2027). For another, the passion of the fans in the Third Rail.
Random historical great: David Villa, who was on the first NYCFC roster, is among the best Spanish players ever. He scored an astounding 77 goals during his four seasons with New York.
Random current star: Gabriel Pereira, a winger and midfielder from Brazil, made a promising debut in 2022, scoring nine goals.
When they play: The National Women’s Soccer League season runs from April through October.
What’s their deal? Formerly known as Sky Blue FC, Gotham plays in Red Bull Arena and has some well-known minority owners (Kevin Durant, Sue Bird, Eli Manning); however, the team hasn’t won a title or made it past the semifinals since 2009.
Why go? It’s a chance to see some great talent—both Gotham and visiting teams include players from the dominant United States Women’s National Team.
Random historical great: Longtime USWNT midfielder Carli Lloyd played her last few club seasons right here in the NYC area.
Random current star: Margaret Purce, who has moved from fullback to forward and become a dangerous goal scorer; she’s also made appearances for the USWNT
Photo: Laura Miller
Nearly 800,000 people attend the US Open annually, and millions watch on TV, both to see great tennis and to be part of a sport that has produced icons like the Williams sisters, Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova. Make sure to get your tickets early if you want good seats for prime matches. The event takes place in from late August into September.
NYC Marathon. Photo: Julienne Schaer
This race, held in early November, is the participatory sporting event to end all participatory sporting event. Around 50,000 competitors endure a punishing 26.2-mile journey through all five boroughs, beginning in Staten Island and crossing the finish line in Central Park. Amateurs run alongside professional stars as millions of fans cheer them every step of the way. Marathoners compete not only on two legs but also on prostheses and wheels. For details of the way the event usually unfolds, check out our .
Minor league, college and other teams:
Since the beginning of college basketball’s time as a major spectator sport, New York City has played host to the best teams. The National Invitation Tournament and many other post- and regular-season tournaments take place here every year (the Big East Conference Tournament is one of those perennials), Division I teams make their homes in every borough and the NCAA Tournament has been known to drop by and .
Photo: David La Spina
The Mets and Yankees are New York’s best-known pro baseball teams, but two others play within city limits: the (affiliated with the Mets) and the (in the Atlantic League; read about their ). They both play roughly April to early September in small, charming ballparks—the Cyclones in Coney Island, right by the amusement parks, the FerryHawks along the waterfront in St. George—where tickets are cheap. And who knows, you might see a future (or former) star.