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Ultimate Guide to Michigan Sports Teams

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Michigan Sports: Your Favorite Sports Teams

Ready to dig into some top Michigan sports teams?

With some of the most beloved and iconic professional sports teams in the nation, it’s true that Michigan is a sports state.

From top to bottom, coast to coast, there are professional and college teams with rabid fan bases who love their teams. That’s especially true in Michigan. 

Ever heard of the Detroit Tigers? How about the Detroit Lions or the Michigan State Spartans? There is a team in Michigan for just about everyone, whether it’s a  professional sports team, a college team or the minor leagues. 

About Michigan Sports 

Detroit alone hosts a representative from all four major North American leagues.

Michigan also has seven National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I colleges that compete at the highest levels annually, including the Eastern Michigan Eagles, the Central Michigan Chippewas, the Detroit Mercy Titans, the Michigan Wolverines, the MSU Spartans, the Oakland Golden Grizzlies, and the Western Michigan Broncos. 

Michigan has something for every sport fan and great venues to take them all in. 

Now let’s dive into the Ultimate Guide to Sports in Michigan!

Michigan Sports Teams: Professional Football in Michigan

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Photo by Jeff Nguyen/Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions

 The only option for major pro football in this wonderful state is the Detroit Lions, who play in the National Football League.

While the Lions are one of the most infamous teams in NFL history, it is for all the wrong reasons. While the team has only won one playoff game in the NFL, they are always fun to watch. Once the inhabitants of the Pontiac Silverdome, the Lions now play their games at the indoor Ford Field. Ford Field is a great venue to take in a game with great views and atmosphere.

Ford Field hosted the Super Bowl in 2006. If you take in a Lions game, be prepared for anything: they ARE the Lions, and anything could happen. 

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Basketball Teams in Michigan

The Detroit Pistons

Detroit’s National Basketball Association team is the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons are a storied franchise, one of the most beloved major league teams in Michigan.

The franchise boasts three NBA titles, including a rare back-to-back championship run. The Pistons moved to their new home in 2017 at Little Caesars Arena in the heart of downtown Detroit. LCA opened in 2017, and is a state-of-the-art venue for watching sports. 

The Pistons also own an NBA 2K basketball league team that plays the video game NBA 2K, in a competitive league that the NBA runs. The team has been known to host events in the city, so if you’re an Esports Fan, make sure you check them out. 

Motor City Cruise

The NBA G League affiliate of the Detroit Pistons, the Motor City Cruise plays their games on the campus of Wayne State at the Wayne State Fieldhouse. This is a fun option for those looking to see professional basketball in the city without breaking the bank.

Players often move quite regularly between the NBA and G League rosters, so the chances are good that you will see NBA quality basketball players. 

Grand Rapids Gold

The Gold is the NBA G League affiliate of the Denver Nuggets. If you’re looking for pro basketball on the west side of the state this is the team for you. Playing at Van Andel Arena, the Gold offer you an opportunity to take high-level basketball in West Michigan.

With many players in the league on contacts that allow for a call-up up to the NBA team, it’s not crazy to think you could go to a game on Friday and see the same players suiting up in the NBA on Monday. 

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Best Michigan Sports Teams: Michigan Baseball Teams

Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers are the oldest team in Detroit professional sports, operating as the Tigers since April of 1901.

This major league baseball teams has won four World Series titles in that span. The Tigers play at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit, after a move from the iconic Tigers Stadium.  

Comerica Park is a great venue to take in a game with tons of history on display in the park, so make sure you get there early and check it out!  

Lansing Lugnuts

The Lugnuts are the Single-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. The Lugnuts play their home games at Jackson Field in Lansing Michigan located just down the road from the capital (it’s a cool view).

The Lugnuts have had plenty of major league talent come through their team in the last few years, including a couple of legit Major League Baseball superstars. If you get a chance to stop by Jackson Field, you never know who you might be able to say you saw before they were a star.

Great Lakes Loons

The Great Lakes Loons are a Single-A affiliate, this time of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Great Lakes Loons play at the Dow Diamond in Midland, MI.

Ultimate Guide to Michigan Minor league Baseball

West Michigan White Caps

Want to see what the future of the Detroit Tigers holds? Look no further than West Michigan. The White Caps are the Single-A affiliate of the Tigers.

They play their home games at Lake Michigan Credit Union (LMCU) Ballpark in Comstock Michigan, near Grand Rapids. The White Caps are the home to many hopeful future Tigers, for many of them this is their first taste of professional baseball.

United Shore Professional Baseball League

Now in their 7th season, the United Shore Professional Baseball League is a semi-professional baseball league based in Utica, Michigan.

The four teams in the League all share Jimmy John’s field, a great little ballpark that is awesome for a cheaper night out with the family. The four teams play in the USPBL and compete against each other for the league title. It’s a fun concept, with players having made it to the MLB from the league.  

For more info on all the Minor League Baseball Michigan has to offer please check out our Guide to Minor League Baseball.

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Hockey in Michigan

Detroit Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings are one of the most storied teams in hockey. An Original 6 member, the Wings are the most successful of Detroit’s major four sports teams.

The Red Wings boast 11 Stanley Cups since 1926, the third-most championships in National Hockey League history, and the most by a U.S.-based team. The Wings also play their home games at Little Caesars Arena. Hockey is huge in Detroit, especially if the Wings are in the playoffs.

If you’re lucky enough to attend a Wings playoff game, just watch out for flying octopus heading for the ice. Overzealous fans sometimes fling them on the ice, much to the chagrin of the referees.

Grand Rapids Griffins

The Griffins are the minor league affiliate of the Red Wings and play their home games in Grand Rapids, on the west side of the state. The team plays at Van Andel Arena, which recently received a 135-million-dollar facelift. This is a great way to take in some high-level hockey on the west side of the state.

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Soccer Teams in Michigan

Detroit City FC

Based in Hamtramck, the Detroit FC are known by locals as “Le Rouge.”

The Detroit City FC has quickly come on as a local favorite, with a very loyal and rabid fan following in the city. Playing in the second-highest level of professional soccer in the U.S., Detroit City FC is the perfect experience for a soccer fan.

The Detroit FC plays at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck, right in the middle of Detroit. If you’re looking for high-level soccer in Michigan, this is the team for you to check out. In addition to the men’s squad, they also have a women’s team that competes at Keyworth. 

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Michigan College Football

When it comes to college football, Michigan takes it very seriously. With five Division 1 football programs, Michigan is a great place to be in the fall on a Saturday.

Michigan State University Spartans

The MSU Spartans play in Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. The Spartans are a perennial top 25 team, with a very loyal fan base rooting for the Greean and White. East Lansing is a great place to go see a game, and a perfect spot for a fall tailgate.

Michigan Wolverines

Want to be at the largest sporting event in the world on any given Saturday? Ann Arbor is the spot for you. The Michigan Wolverines Football team plays at the Michigan Stadium, also known as the Big House. Taking in a Wolverine’s game at the Big House, the largets stadium in the U.S., is a Michigan bucket list event for many sports fans.

Mid American Conference – MAC Sports Teams

Looking for a unique football viewing experience?

Check out Eastern, Western or Central for weeknight MACtion. Weeknight MACtion are conference games that the teams play on weeknights in November. While no one else is playing, the MAC is! The MAC is the conference that Western, Central and Eastern univerisities all play in.

Eastern Michigan Eagles Football
Based in Ypsilanti, Michigan, the EMU Eagles play their home games at Rynearson Stadium. 

Central Michigan Chippewas Football
Fire up Chips!, as they like to say in Mount Pleasant. The Central Michigan Chippewas play their home games at Kelly/Shorts Stadium in Mount Pleasant and offer a great experience for those in mid-Michigan.

Western Michigan Broncos Football
The WMU Broncos play in Kalamazoo’s Waldo Stadium. The Broncos have played in bowl games six times since 2015, winning 2 of them. They also won a conference title in 2016. 

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Michigan College Basketball

Michigan is the home of seven Division 1 basketball programs, often filled with top talent for the state. If you’re looking for a good college basketball game in any part of the state, you have many options. 

Oakland University Grizzlies
Led by Coach Greg Kampe in his 37th season, the Oakland University Grizzlies are a perennial contender in the Horizon League. Headquartered in Rochester, Michigan, the Grizzlies play their home games at Athletic Center O’Rena in Auburn Hills, Michigan. 

University of Detroit Mercy Titans
The only Division 1 school to play in Detroit is the Detroit Mercy Titans. The Titans play in Detroit at Calihan Hall on the school’s McNichols campus. The Titans have a rich basketball history: the legendary Dick Vitale once coached here.

Michigan State Spartans
Located in East Lansing, Michigan the Spartans are a name synonymous with high-level college basketball. The Spartans play their home games at the Breslin Center, located on Campus in East Lansing. The Spartans offer some of the highest-level basketball in college and are worth checking out.

University of Michigan Wolverines
Located in Ann Arbor, the Michigan Wolverines are a top national basketball brand. They play their home games in Ann Arbor at the Chrysler Center. If you have the chance, try and take in a MSU vs Michigan game at either venue for some real interstate rivalry.

Central Michigan Chippewas
Located in Mount Pleasant, and playing home games at McGuirk Arena, the Chips are a consistent basketball program. Their most recent NCAA tournament berth was in 2003, where they won a game. 

Western Michigan Broncos
The Broncos play their home games on Campus at the University Arena in Kalamazoo. The Broncos last NCAA tournament appearance was in 2014. 

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About the Author-

Cy Nardone is a Content Creator for us here at MyMichiganBeach. He grew up in Grosse Pointe and attended Grosse Pointe South High School. He went on to attend Wayne State then Michigan State University where he majored in Sports Journalism. Cy is a lifelong Detroit sports fan who loves food. Cy looks forward to expanding our Metro Detroit content and hopes to turn you on to a new spot to adventure or eat.