If you’ve ever been to Nebraska, you know how seriously the people take their Nebraska Cornhuskers football team. In fact, on game day, the stadium becomes the third-largest city in the state through attendance. But what other sports teams are popular in the “The Cornhusker State?”
Interestingly, Nebraska doesn’t have any large pro teams. But there are plenty of other popular sports teams for fans of the state to enjoy. (Click to read about the most popular sports teams in America.)
To compile this list, 24/7 Tempo referenced various sources, including Huskers. Without further ado, we’ll look at which teams have the highest attendance and why they’re beloved by fans.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cornhuskers Football
As mentioned, the people of Nebraska love their Cornhuskers football team. On game day, Memorial Stadium, where home games are held, has record attendance anywhere from 85,000 to 90,000. During games, fans in attendance are often dubbed the “sea of red.” Additionally, the team has seen more than 300 consecutive sellouts that date back to 1962, an NCAA record. The Huskers football team is also the only NCAA football team in the state.
Before and during game time, families can enjoy several different game day traditions. The Cornhusker marching band offers an open rehearsal on campus an hour before kickoff. Fans also love the Huskers infamous “Tunnel Walk” where players high-five fans as they make their way from the locker room to the field.
Outside of Memorial Stadium and Tom Osborne Field, the city of Lincoln comes alive on game day, too. From tailgating to enjoying the environment of the nearby Railyard, there’s plenty for fans to enjoy even if they don’t attend the game.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cornhuskers Volleyball
Aside from the Cornhuskers football team, Nebraskans love the University of Nebraska-Lincoln volleyball team. The team has made several NCAA championship appearances, gaining 5 championship titles and finishing as runner-up in their most recent 2023 match-up.
Most games are played at the Devaney Center in Lincoln. Here, about 13,500 fans can attend each game. Additionally, the team has also experienced over 300 consecutive sell-out matches. However, the team took attendance to another level on August 30, 2023. The Cornhuskers played a match in Memorial Stadium that broke the world record for a women’s sporting event. Attendance reached 92,003 people that night, beating a women’s soccer match in Barcelona, Spain.
Creighton Bluejays Men’s Basketball
The Creighton Bluejays men’s basketball team is the only other Division 1 NCAA men’s basketball team in the state (aside from the Cornhusker men’s basketball team). Located in Omaha, this team operates under Creighton University as part of the Big East conference. The Bluejays also have a phenomenal track record, often earning post-season play. In fact, the most recent season (2022-23) ended after losing to San Diego State in the Elite Eight.
Fans also enjoy watching the Bluejays play in their state-of-the-art facility located in downtown Omaha, the CHI Health Center. This facility is the largest in the city and often sees over 17,000 fans at each home game.
Omaha Storm Chasers
Just down the road from Lincoln, the Omaha Storm Chasers baseball team plays at Werner Park in Papillion. The Storm Chasers are a MiLB (Minor League Baseball) team and a Triple-A Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. As a partner with the Royals, players from the Stormchasers can be called up to play for the Major League team. In 2023, 10 players moved up to the Royals roster.
Werner Park is a relatively new stadium that was built in 2011. It can seat more than 9,000 attendees between stadium seats, suites, a boardroom, and its Prairie Flower Casino Club. Additionally, Storm Chaser games are fun for the whole family. Werner Park includes a small entertainment area for children, complete with inflatables and a Carousel.
Also in Lincoln, you’ll find the Lincoln Saltdogs baseball team. The Saltdogs are part of the American Association of Professional Baseball League, which became a partner league to the MLB in 2020. They play at Haymarket Park, a field they share with the Nebraska Cornhusker baseball team.
Haymarket Park opened in 2001 and can seat up to 8,500 attendees. There’s also additional room to host company picnics and birthday parties. Like the Storm Chasers, the Saltdogs games are known for being fun for the whole family as well. Another reason why they’re one of the most popular teams in the state.
While Nebraska may not be widely known for hockey, Lincoln is home to the Lincoln Stars. This hockey team is part of the United States Football League (USFL), a minor league that partners with the NHL. The Stars got their start in 1996 and are now a part of the only Tier 1 junior hockey league in the country.
Additionally, all home games are played at what’s called the “Ice Box” which is located on the previous Nebraska State Fairgrounds. The facility was designed to accommodate the Stars before their first season began and additional seating was added in 1998. It can now seat over 5,000 attendees and is home to many different community events aside from being the home of the Stars.
Lincoln’s not the only home to a hockey team in Nebraska. In Omaha, you’ll find the Lancers, also a member of the USHL league. Getting their start more than 30 years ago, the Lancers are an established USHL team. In fact, the team has earned 5 Anderson Cup Championships and 7 Clark Cups. Many players are drafted from this league to the NHL as well.
When the Lancers are playing at home, you’ll find them at the Liberty First Credit Union Arena, also known as the Ralston Arena because of its location in Ralston, a suburb of Omaha. This arena is a smaller event space, seating up to 4,200 people. It’s also used for concerts and other local events when the Lancers aren’t playing.
As the only professional soccer team in the state, Omaha Union is part of the USL League One Division III league. The league began in 2017 and all games now air on ESPN+.
Omaha Union is a relatively new team, debuting their first season in 2020. They went on to win the USL League One championship in 2021 and continue to grow in popularity throughout the state. Additionally, the team places a high focus on inclusion and community. Their motto is “One Meets All” and they’ve also retired the #1, giving that number back to the city.
Currently, Omaha Union shares Werner Park with the Salt Dogs, but plans in January of 2024 to build a dedicated stadium in downtown Omaha.
While most of the teams discussed here are located in either the Omaha or Lincoln area, Tri-City Storm is a USHL hockey team located in Kearney. The team began in 1999 after the owner of the Omaha Lancers saw the need for an additional team in another part of the state. The name “Tri-City” symbolizes three larger communities in central Nebraska: Kearney, Grand Island, and Hastings.
The Storm won the Clark Cup Championship in 2016 and now plays at the Viaero Center in Kearney. This arena is relativity new, having opened in 2000 as the Tri-City Arena designed specifically as a place for the ice hockey team. The seating capacity at the arena is just over 4,000.
Beginning in 2000, the Omaha Beef is the only current indoor football team in the state. They’re part of the National Arena League (NAL) which is made up of 8 teams across the country. The team has bounced around through many indoor leagues but begins with the NAL in their 2024 season with their first game in March.
While other indoor football teams have come and gone in Nebraska, the Omaha Beef remains a constant finishing their 2023 season undefeated. Additionally, the team is led by former Husker quarterback Tommy Armstrong, Jr. The Beef shared the Liberty First Credit Union Arena with the Lancers and saw an average of 3,700 attendance per game last season. (Read about the teams that have lost all their Super Bowls.)