Seattle may not have the storied sports traditions of older cities like New York and Chicago, but make no mistake: this is a passionate sports town. Championships have sometimes been rare (two of the pro franchises to win them are no longer even here), and other times Seattle leads the way (go Hawks!), but you will not more enthusiastic and knowledgeable sports fans than those in the Seattle/Tacoma area.
Baseball. Founded 1977.
After two decades in the sterile, cavernous Kingdome, the Mariners now play in one of the most beautiful ballparks in the country, Safeco Field. The team has included a number of high-profile players over the years, including Ken Griffey Jr. and Ichiro, and yet as of 2016, the team has never gone to the World Series. That doesn't matter locally, though, as Mariners fans are faithful either way! Season: April to October.
Football. Founded 1976.
Attracting a somewhat more blue-collar fan base than the Mariners, the Seahawks play in an equally beautiful stadium, CenturyLink Field. Owned by local boy made good, billionaire Paul Allen, the Seahawks boast the loudest fans in the NFL--especially impressive since they play outdoors. Though the Hawks have also struggled in some years, the team has made it to the Superbowl three times in 2005, 2013 and 2014. They won in 2013 and inspired one of the largest celebrations Seattle has ever seen.
Season: September to January.
Seattle Sounders FC
Soccer. Founded 2007.
The Sounders are the newest Major League Soccer franchise and a surprising success. Soccer was at one time a notoriously tough sell in the United States, but Seattle embraced the Sounders with uncommon enthusiasm, breaking Major League Soccer attendance records and repeatedly selling out CenturyLink Field. Season: March to November.
Women's basketball. Founded 2000.
The Storm are a perennial powerhouse in the WNBA, winning the Finals in 2004 and making the playoffs regularly. Though always contending with attendance issues endemic to women's pro sports, the Storm attracted a local ownership group, who purchased the team from the Sonics ownership when their male counterparts left town in 2008. Season: May to September.
Minor-league baseball. Founded 1960.
The Rainiers are the AAA farm team for the Mariners and offer a great opportunity to see top-flight baseball in a very intimate setting (Cheney Stadium seats only 6,500). The Rainiers have seen their share of stars over the years, including Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGwire, Juan Marichal and Jose Conseco. Rainiers games can be a lot of fun, are very family-friendly and feature fireworks on Friday home games. Season: April to October.
Rat City Rollergirls
Roller derby. Founded 2004.
The Rollergirls are actually one of Seattle's most successful franchises, with a traveling all-star team and a four-team local league. Racking up trophies and strong attendance has graduated the Rollergirls from converted hangars at Magnuson Park to the Key Arena and Kent's ShoWare Center. See also: Everett's Jet City Rollers and Olympia's Oly Rollers. Season: January to June.
Hockey. Founded 1977.
This junior hockey team is (along with their Everett rivals) is the closest you can get to pro hockey in the Seattle/Tacoma area. The team plays in Kent's new ShoWare Center. Season: September to March.
Hockey. Founded 2004.
The newer of the junior hockey teams, the Silvertips are a north-county rival to the Thunderbirds. They play in Everett's Xfinity Arena. Season: September to March.
Lingerie football. Founded 2009.
While it's uncertain if the Lingerie Football League will ever escape novelty status, a trip to a Mist game will convince you that these women aren't just playing for show. They play a bruising 34-minute game in which most players play both sides of the ball. The team plays at the ShoWare Center in Kent. Season: September to January.
Basketball. Founded 1967. Departed 2008.
Having won the NBA Finals in 1979 and dominating their division throughout the 1990s, the Sonics were Seattle's winningest pro team. After a spat with the city, owner Howard Schultz sold the team to an Oklahoma ownership group who promptly (surprise!) moved the team to Oklahoma City. The NBA has made vague promises of an expansion team in Seattle, but no one is holding their breath.
Updated by Kristin Kendle.