Houston will become the hottest sporting venue in the country this year. The city is hosting world-class sporting events that range from Olympic qualifying soccer matches and the NCAA Final Four to rodeos and Super Bowl LI.
The action begins in February 2016 when Houston will host both the America Rugby Championship and CONCACAF Women’s soccer Olympic finals matches at BBVA Compass Stadium downtown. The rugby match brings fifth ranked Argentina to town to take on Team USA (February 6, 2016). Just days later, watch the World Cup Champion U.S. Women’s National Soccer team compete against eight other internationally ranked countries for two coveted spots in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.
March is all about the Rodeo in Houston. The 2016 Livestock Show and Rodeo kicks off it’s month long tenure of championship rodeo action along with performances by some of the world’s biggest recording artists - attracting over 2 million spectators each year. On March 6, Major League Soccer will host its 2016 season kickoff at BBVA Compass Stadium with a match between the Houston Dynamo and New England Revolution. The South Western Athletic Conference college basketball championship takes place at the Toyota Center from March 8-12. The 10-team tournament adds to the excitement and anticipation of March Madness in Houston. The PGA's prestigious Shell Houston Open takes place just outside of downtown and leads in the Masters Tournament the following week.
On April 2 and 4, Houston will host the NCAA Men’s Final Four Basketball Championship at NRG Stadium. One of the most eagerly anticipated sporting events of the year, the Final Four will shine the national spotlight on the Bayou City as four college teams face off for the title of best in the NCAA. Beyond the games, there will be a high energy Fan Fest and NCAA Experience held Downtown.
Baseball season in Houston begins April 11 as the Astros take on their bitter rivals the World Series Champion Kansas City Royals. The Royals edged the Astros out of a World Series run last fall in a heartbreaking Game 5 loss in Kansas City. Festivities will also include the Opening Day Street Festival downtown before the game.
The 2016 Copa America soccer championship will be held in Houston and nine other U.S. cities June 3-26 2016. This marks the first time the event has been staged outside South America and will be the most prestigious soccer tournament hosted in the U.S. since the World Cup in 1994. Houston’s NRG Stadium will be one of 10 U.S. venues which have been selected to host matches during the historic Copa America Centenario. 16 teams including Team USA will vie for the coveted title which acts as a preface to the 2018 World Cup in St. Petersburg, Russia.
September through December
Fall marks the beginning of football mania in Houston. The Texans and area college teams begin their regular seasons in September. Kick off the 2016 College Football Season with a showdown between the Peach Bowl Champion Houston Cougars and Big 12 Champion Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday, September 3rd at NRG Stadium. The nationally televised Advocare Texas Kickoff is one of only four neutral-site kickoff games in the country and attracts over 65,000 fans per year. Houston once again steps into the limelight as host of the Advocare Texas Bowl at the end of December 2016. The matchup pits the SEC and Big 12 conference champions against one another for an epic title match.
The 2016 Men's College Cup Soccer Championship takes place December 9-11 at BBVA Compass Stadium. East downtown will be humming as the cup promises the excitement of the top 4 Division I teams competing for the national title.
Super Bowl LI
The biggest game in sports returns to Houston’s NRG Stadium February 5, 2017. Preparations are already under way to provide visitors and Houstonians with an exciting week of activities and public events leading up to Super Bowl LI. The Super Bowl is the most watched television program in the United States annually with over 100 million viewers on average. The game also attracts large audiences worldwide.
This is the third Super Bowl for Houston. The city last hosted the big game at NRG Stadium in 2004. The hub for many Super Bowl activities will be Discovery Green, the 12-acre downtown park that fronts the George R. Brown Convention Center.
The city of Houston as well as many local businesses and nonprofits are busy adding new hotels, infrastructure, and renovations to ensure the city looks its best for a year in the spotlight. Both of Houston’s international airports have undergone extensive renovations and terminal additions to accommodate area growth and the expected influx of travel to Houston in 2016 and 2017. By the time the big game rolls around, Houston will have added 8 new hotels with nearly 3,000 rooms in addition to the over 5,000 rooms already available. The 20-block Houston Convention District adds to the list with major renovations completely redesigning the face of downtown. The project will be completed in time to host the Super Bowl fan festival at the George R. Brown Convention Center in February 2017.