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When it comes to the love of sports, few states have the passion to match Texas. Along with larger states like California and sports-centric states like Florida, locals have well over a dozen professional teams to choose from when it comes to pledging their allegiance. From the NFL to the USFL, from the NBA to the WNBA, Texan teams are some of the most influential in their respective leagues.

Locals are also likely to engage with their teams in dozens of ways. For example, attending live games is very popular. In fact, Texas is home to three of the US’s largest stadiums, including Kyle Field, the Cotton Bowl, and Texas Memorial Stadium. Aside from the Cotton Bowl, both locations can fit over 100,000 screaming spectators.

Texans are also more likely to back their teams with a few wagers. Across the US, interest in sports betting has kicked off since a national ban was lifted back in 2018. Even newcomers can easily shop around for bonus deals on Oddschecker.com before selecting a sportsbook. Within a few clicks, fans can start placing their wagers straight from a smartphone or laptop.

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But what about the smaller leagues that call the state home?

Texas isn’t only home to major franchises like the Rockets and the Cowboys. It’s also a foundational location for startup leagues that are still setting up shop. Let’s take a closer look at which leagues local sports fans are helping launch in 2024.

 

Major League Cricket (MLC)

After five years of rigorous planning and setbacks, the MLC launched its inaugural season in July 2023. The short three-week season was partially hosted at Grand Prairie Stadium in Grand Prairie, Texas. This city is the hometown of the Texas Super Kings, one of six teams to compete in the MLC’s first season.

Though the finals were contested by MI New York and the Seattle Orcas, the championship match was held in Grand Prairie at the former home of the AirHogs. In fact, the AirHogs’ former stadium has been permanently converted into a cricket field—which isn’t common in the US. This puts Texas in a unique position to continue supporting the MLC and similar cricket ventures—so long as night games are permitted to beat the heat.

 

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Major League Rugby (MLR)

 Just like the MLC, Major League Rugby is looking to become one of the US’s staple major league sports. Back in 2017, the MLR was founded in Dallas, where it is still headquartered today. This league covers US and Canadian markets and is part of the global World Rugby organization. Back in 2018, the league started with seven teams but will see twelve compete in the upcoming 2024 season.

Two of these twelve teams call Texas home. The Houston SaberCats have competed since the league first launched. Though they’ve only advanced to the postseason twice, they’ve built a solid fanbase in Houston. Meanwhile, the Dallas Jackals joined in 2022. The Jackals are based in Arlington where they compete at Choctaw Stadium in front of tens of thousands of spectators. Unfortunately, they left their first season having lost every game, but have since managed to improve.

 

eSports

Unlike traditional sports, eSports aren’t quite as easy to categorize by team. That’s because each team competes in multiple leagues and multiple games. Let’s zero in on OpTic Gaming, one of the most beloved eSports teams in the world that’s based in Frisco. This team was launched all the way back in 2006 before eSports became a global affair. At the time, the team was a small crew that focused on Call of Duty competitions.

Today, OpTic Gaming is one of the most competitive and popular eSports crews in the world. The organization has teams that compete in five games, including OpTic Texas (which competes in the CDL or Call of Duty League) and Dallas Fuel (which competes in the Overwatch League). Along with these two elite teams, OpTic also competes in Apex Legends, Halo, and Rocket League competitions.

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