In 2001, Memphis  realized the dream of many in the Mid-South when the Vancouver Grizzlies announced they would be moving south. The NBA team played its first two seasons in Memphis at the Pyramid  before the massive $250 million FedEx Forum opened for the 2004–2005 season. The arena is one of the largest in the NBA, and hosts frequent concerts and performances by major artists.
The Grizzlies have yet to achieve any major titles, and attendance has been lagging. Ticket prices range from under $20 to several hundred dollars. For ticket information, contact the FedEx Forum box office (191 Beale St., 901/205-2640, Monday–Friday 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m., www.fedex.com ). The NBA season runs from October to April.
The University of Memphis Tigers surprised many in 2008 by making it all the way to the NCAA Championship. The team’s remarkable 38–2 season brought new energy and excitement to the University’s basketball program.
You can watch Tigers basketball from November to April at FedEx Forum. Tickets are available from the FedEx Forum box office, or contact University of Memphis Athletics (www.gotigersgo.com ) for more information.
From April to October, the Memphis Redbirds (901/721-6000, www.memphisredbirds.com , $6–20) play AAA ball at beautiful AutoZone Park in downtown Memphis . The stadium is bounded by Union Avenue, Madison Avenue, and 3rd Street, and is convenient to dozens of downtown hotels and restaurants. The Redbirds are an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Cheap tickets ($6) buy you a seat on the grassy berm, or you can pay a little more for seats in the stadium or boxes.
The Redbirds are owned by a nonprofit organization that also operates a number of community and youth programs in the city.
The Memphis Motorsports Park (550 Victory Ln., 901/358-7223, www.memphismotorsports.com ) is located a short drive from downtown Memphis in Millington, northeast of the city center. The park includes a 0.75-mile NASCAR oval, a 0.25-mile drag racing strip, and a 1.77-mile road course. It hosts some 200 race events every year, including a stop in the annual Busch Series races.
Millington is located about 30 minutes’ drive north of Memphis .
The Riverkings (662/342-1735, $10–21) play minor-league ice hockey at the DeSoto Civic Center at 4650 Venture Drive in Southaven, Mississippi, about 20 miles south of Memphis .