Outside The Goal: Sports Alternatives to the Major Leagues

There’s more to sports than major league baseball, football, basketball and hockey.

The Chicago area offers up a plethora of sports teams and activities beyond the Blackhawks, Bulls, Bear, Cubs and White Sox.

If you’re looking to watch or do something different, we’ve got a bunch of great suggestions:

Football: Arena football is an adrenaline-pumping, fist-thumping good time. The Chicago Rush is a fantastic summertime alternative to the Chicago Bears, and with games at Allstate Arena, super convenient!

Season: April – July
Tickets: $10 – $60
Location: Allstate Arena, Rosemont

Minor league baseball: “Small town” baseball has hit the big time in Chicago, with actor Kevin Costner bringing the latest team to the North Shore‚ the Lake County Fielders. Want to know where and when to go? Read all about our minor league baseball offerings here.

Soccer: It’s the world’s most popular sport, and going to a Chicago Fire or Red Stars game at Toyota Park is an experience you won’t soon forget. Rowdy (but friendly!) fans cheering on the home team, flag waving and not a bad seat in the house.

Season: Late March – October (The Red Stars’ schedule runs April – September)
Tickets: Chicago Fire—$20 – $50; Red Stars—$15 – $30
Location: 7000 S. Harlem Ave., Bridgeview

Softball: Sure, Chicago has all kinds of baseball, but the Chicago Bandits can claim one of the most recent World Championships, having won the title in 2008. This professional women’s softball team makes its home at Judson University’s stadium in Elgin.

Season: June – August
Tickets: $8.75 – $16.75
Location: Elgin

Hockey: Hockey is hot—and the Chicago Wolves are a sure bet when it comes to finding a ticket on the fly. Plus, it’s great hockey. The Wolves are 4-time American Hockey League champions!

Location: Allstate Arena, Rosemont

Women’s Basketball: Basketball is not just a man’s world—the WNBA and the Chicago Sky have come a long way in establishing professional women’s basketball as a top-tier entertainment option. These family-friendly games are great for all fans of the sport, but especially young girls in need of sports role models.

Season: April – August
Tickets: $15 – $225
Location: Allstate Arena, Rosemont

Roller Derby: The Windy City Rollers are a rock ’em, sock ’em team of girls on wheels. While the pre-game and intermission entertainment definitely leans toward the campy, matches are very family friendly—and adults can still imbibe.

Season: Varies; home league season begins in early spring, travel season gets underway in the summer
Tickets: $10 – $20
Location: UIC Pavilion

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