A Sports Fan’s Guide to Central New York

Professional sports have been a Central New York pastime since the turn of the 20th century, when baseball ruled our cities and towns. But, there’s an equally thick history of hockey in the area with teams dating back to the late 1920s.

Today’s fan can take in an assortment of action nearly year-round in excellent venues that have been enjoyed by generations. It’s a one-of-a-kind sports experience that fans shouldn’t pass up on their next visit to Central New York.

Binghamton Rumble Ponies

Binghamton’s modern baseball roots stretch back to the Triplets of the 1920s. They fielded a team, the Bingoes, as long ago as 1887. Since 1992, the city has been home to the AA minor league franchise of Major League Baseball’s New York Mets. First known as the Binghamton Mets, the team became the Rumble Ponies as a tribute to the city’s famous collection of antique carousels in 2016. The Rumble Ponies carry on the time-honored tradition of Binghamton baseball in Mirabito Stadium, a 6,000-seat venue that opened in 1992 as Binghamton Municipal Stadium. With regular promotions, numerous fireworks nights and future MLB stars on the field, the cozy ballpark is a fantastic place to catch a game from April through mid-September.

Utica Comets

The American Hockey League (AHL) has been a part of the Utica professional sports scene since 2013, when the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks installed its minor-league franchise there. The hockey history in Utica actually goes all the way back to 1927 when a team nicknamed the Comets came to town and played for 50 years. The city was ecstatic to have action on the ice return after having a string of short-lived minor league teams from 1977 and into the 2000s. The Comets sold out an AHL-record 200 consecutive home games prior to the pandemic in 2020. Today’s affiliate of the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils play at historic Adirondack Bank Center, the AUD as it is known locally. The nearly 4,000-seat venue in downtown Utica opened in 1960 with construction and amenities that influenced much larger places like Madison Square Garden. The season runs from mid-October through mid-April.

Binghamton Black Bears

Hockey fans in Binghamton have cheered on numerous franchises since 1973, when the Broome Dusters arrived and grew in popularity to the extent that The Hockey News proclaimed the city “Hockey Town USA”. The sport has been a thing here ever since with minor league affiliates of the National Hockey League’s Hartford Whalers, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators and the New Jersey Devils. Today, you can catch the Black Bears of the Federal Prospects Hockey League on the ice at Visions Federal Credit Union Veterans Memorial Arena in the heart of downtown Binghamton from mid-October through mid-April.

Amsterdam Mohawks

The Mohawks have been bringing competitive collegiate baseball to Amsterdam since 2003. The popular team plays at historic Shuttleworth Park, which opened in 1914 and still houses the grandstand from that era among about 3,000 seats. The baseball legacy there stretches back to 1939, when the Amsterdam Rugmakers played at Shuttleworth through 1951. Today, the Mohawks play ball in June and July.

Oneonta Outlaws

Located just 30 minutes from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, it’s no surprise that Oneonta has long been a baseball town. Though there hasn’t been MLB-affiliated minor league baseball there for many years, the city has a storied history in the now-defunct New York-Penn League. Affiliates of the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers dominated that league, winning 12 championships over 40 years – the most of any New York-Penn League franchise – before the Oneonta Tigers left town in 2009. Since then, historic Damaschke Field (originally constructed in 1905) has hosted off-season college baseball players in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. The Oneonta Outlaws play in June and July.


Utica Blue Sox

The minor-league Utica Braves became the Blue Sox in 1944 and, despite participating in several leagues and at various levels of pro and collegiate baseball, the name has more or less stuck ever since. Like fellow Central New York teams in Amsterdam and Oneonta, today’s Blue Sox compete in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League with a short season that runs in June and July at Donovan Stadium.

So whether a sports fan, a history buff, or both, you won’t want to miss a game in Central New York, where storied pasts meet modern competition.