Sports in South Carolina

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Although there are no major league professional franchises based in South Carolina, the state does have numerous minor league teams. Several "Carolina" major league pro teams representing both North Carolina and South Carolina are based in neighboring North Carolina, the Carolina Panthers, the professional American football team of the National Football League based in Charlotte, North Carolina, has training facilities in South Carolina. College teams also represent their particular South Carolina institution and the state is a prime destination for golf and water sports as well.

S. Carolina Gamecocks football game at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia

Table[edit]

The following table shows the sports teams in South Carolina that average over 8,000 fans per home game:

Team Competition Location Venue (capacity) Attendance
Clemson Tigers football NCAA FBS - ACC Clemson Memorial Stadium (81,500) 80,773[1]
South Carolina Gamecocks football NCAA FBS - SEC Columbia Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250) 78,586[1]
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers football NCAA FBS - Sun Belt Conway Brooks Stadium (15,000)[a] 14,959[1]
South Carolina Gamecocks men's basketball NCAA D-I - SEC Columbia Colonial Life Arena (18,000) 13,395[2]
South Carolina Gamecocks women's basketball NCAA D-I - SEC Columbia Colonial Life Arena (18,000) 12,277[3]
South Carolina State Bulldogs football NCAA FCS - MEAC Orangeburg Oliver C. Dawson Stadium (22,000) 11,883[1]
The Citadel Bulldogs football NCAA FCS - SoCon Charleston Johnson Hagood Stadium (11,500)[b] 8,994[1]
  1. ^ Capacity as of the 2017 season; stadium will be expanded to 20,000 for 2018 and beyond.
  2. ^ Capacity as of the 2017 season; stadium will be expanded to 14,500 for 2019 and beyond.
Clemson Tigers football game at Memorial Stadium (Death Valley) in Clemson

College sports[edit]

College sports — particularly college football — are very big in South Carolina, the University of South Carolina's Gamecocks and Clemson University's Tigers regularly draw more than 80,000 spectators at the schools' home football games, placing them among the top twenty schools in average attendance.[4] Their rivalry is called the Battle of the Palmetto State. Clemson's football team won the National Championship in 1981 and 2016. Both South Carolina's and Clemson's baseball teams are consistently ranked, the Gamecocks won the national title in 2010 and 2011. The South Carolina men's and women's basketball teams both made the Final Four of their respective tournaments in 2017, with the women winning the national title.

Clemson and South Carolina are the two most prominent of the state's 11 NCAA Division I members, they are the only two schools that are members of the so-called Power Five conferences, the most prominent leagues in the top level of American college football, the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

The Tigers additionally have an ice hockey team that competes at club level in the South Division of the Atlantic Coastal Conference.

Clemson is a charter member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and South Carolina is in the Southeastern Conference, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers are currently transitioning from Division I's second football level, the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), to FBS. Coastal, whose baseball team won the College World Series in 2016, joined the Sun Belt Conference for non-football sports the day after it won the CWS, and joined Sun Belt football in 2017. Six other schools that play Division I football are full members of FCS conferences. The Citadel Bulldogs, Furman Paladins, and Wofford Terriers are all in the Southern Conference; the Charleston Southern Buccaneers and Presbyterian Blue Hose are members of the Big South Conference; and the South Carolina State Bulldogs compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Finally, two schools are full members of Division I conferences but do not sponsor football, the Charleston Cougars compete in the Colonial Athletic Association, and the Winthrop Eagles compete in the Big South.

Major league[edit]

South Carolina has no major professional franchise of the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLS, or MLB located in the state; however the NFL's Carolina Panthers (based in Charlotte, North Carolina), the NBA's Charlotte Hornets (based in Charlotte, North Carolina), and the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes (based in Raleigh, North Carolina) represent both North and South Carolina. In addition, the Panthers played their first season in Clemson, and maintain training facilities at Wofford College in Spartanburg.

Minor league[edit]

There are numerous minor league teams that are either based in the state, or play much of their schedule within its borders, the Charlotte Knights, a Class AAA minor league baseball team, played at a stadium in Fort Mill, South Carolina, just across the border from Charlotte until the team moved to a new ballpark in Charlotte in 2014. Currently, five teams play in the state, all at the Class A level, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans play in the Class A-Advanced Carolina League, and the Augusta GreenJackets (in North Augusta), Charleston RiverDogs, Columbia Fireflies, and Greenville Drive play in the South Atlantic League.

For a state where natural ice is a rarity, professional ice hockey has been popular in a number of areas of the state since the 1990s. Though four teams competed at one time in South Carolina, the ECHL (formerly called the East Coast Hockey League) currently oversees operations of only two franchises, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits and the South Carolina Stingrays. The Stingrays play in the North Charleston Coliseum, located in North Charleston.

Another minor league franchise is the Charleston Battery, playing in the United Soccer League at the second level of American men's soccer, the team plays in the soccer-specific MUSC Health Stadium, located on Daniel Island in Charleston. The American Basketball Association currently oversees operations of only three semi-pro basketball franchises, the South Carolina Warriors which are based in Myrtle Beach, the Greenville Galaxy which are based in Greenville, and the Palmetto State Rizers which are based in Columbia.

NASCAR racing[edit]

A race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington

NASCAR racing was born in the South, and South Carolina has in the past hosted some very important NASCAR races, at the Darlington Raceway. Darlington Raceway plays host to NASCAR's Labor Day weekend classic, the Southern 500, the Whelen, Xfinity Series, and Cup Series cars all race at Darlington.

Golf[edit]

South Carolina is a popular golf destination, with nearly one hundred golf courses, the Grand Strand region has more public golf courses per capita than any other place in the country.[5] Some have hosted PGA and LGPA events in the past, but most have been designed for the casual golfer. Hilton Head Island & Kiawah Island have several very nice golf courses and host professional events every year. The upstate of South Carolina also has many nice golf courses, most of the nicer courses are private including the Cliff's courses and Cross Creek Plantation (the Cliff's courses host the annual BMW PRO/AM that brings many celebrities and professionals to South Carolina. Cross Creek Plantation located in Seneca, also private hosted a PGA Qualifier in the 90's); in 2007, "The Ocean Course" On Kiawah Island was ranked #1 in Golf Digest magazine's "America's 50 Toughest Golf Courses"[6] and #38 on their "America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses".[7]

Water sports[edit]

Water sports are also an extremely popular activity in South Carolina, with a long coast line, South Carolina has many different beach activities such as surfing, boogie boarding, deep sea fishing, and shrimping. The Pee Dee region of the state offers exceptional fishing, some of the largest catfish ever caught were caught in the Santee Lakes. The Upstate of South Carolina also offers outstanding water activities, especially in Lakes Hartwell, Jocassee, and Keowee. The Midlands region also offers water-based recreation revolving around Lakes Marion and Murray and such rivers as the Congaree, Saluda, Broad, and Edisto.

Roller Sports[edit]

Following the rebirth of roller derby in the early 2000s and the release of the movie Whip It, South Carolina has seen the rise over several roller derby leagues, as of 2014 there are four leagues sanctioned under WFTDA[8] each of which are located in Columbia, Charleston, and Greenville.

Misc. Sports[edit]

While there are no race tracks with betting in South Carolina, there is significant horse training activity, particularly in Aiken and Camden, which hold steeplechase races.

Professional bass fishing tournaments are also found in South Carolina. Lake Hartwell, Lake Wylie, and Lake Murray both host Bassmaster Classic tournaments.

Spartanburg, South Carolina, is also the home of the national evangelical sports program Upward Sports.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "2017 Football Attendance" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved February 19, 2018. 
  2. ^ "2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Attendance" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  3. ^ "2017 NCAA Women's Basketball Attendance" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  4. ^ "2013 NATIONAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL ATTENDANCE" (PDF). ncaa.org. Retrieved 12 April 2018. 
  5. ^ "Myrtle Beach Golf". 
  6. ^ "GolfDigest.com – America's 50 Toughest Golf Courses". 
  7. ^ "GolfDigest.com – America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses". Archived from the original on 2006-07-21. 
  8. ^ http://wftda.com/leagues?find=South+Carolina

External links[edit]