Mexico’s most popular sport is football (known as soccer in the United States). It is commonly believed that Football was introduced in Mexico by Cornish miners at the end of the 19th century. By 1902 leagues began to develop. Football became a professional sport in 1943. Since the “Era Professional” started, Mexico’s top clubs have been Guadalajara with 11 championships, América with 10 and Toluca and Cruz Azul with 8. Many players reputations have been raised to the level of "soccer gods" including Antonio Carbajal and Hugo Sanchez. México City is the only Latin American city to host the Olympic Games in 1968. The country has also hosted the FIFA World Cup twice, in 1970 and 1986. Professional matches are played Estadio Azteca or Estadio Olímpico.
To see a bit of man v. animal there are bullfights at Plaza México most Sunday afternoons from November to March and Charreadas (Mexican rodeos) at Rancho del Charro in Chapultepec Park most Sundays at noon. The charreada developed to keep the traditions of the charro (charrería) alive. The advent of the Mexican cinema brought greater popularity, especially musicals which combined rancheras with the charro image, akin to the Western and "singing cowboy" genres in the United States.
Professional wrestling is known as "Lucha libre" in Spanish and is a major draw. Mexican wrestling is characterized by rapid sequences of holds and moves, as well as spectacular high-flying moves with colorful masks. Lucha libre performers are known as luchadores (singular luchador).
Car racing is very popular in Mexico. International championships of Formula 1, NASCAR, Champ Car, A1 Grand Prix, and others have been held here. Mexico also has its own NASCAR-sanctioned stock car series, the NASCAR Corona Series.
Some popular sports from the USA have also gained a following in Mexico. The most important professional basketball league is the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional and covers the whole Mexican territory. Soles de Mexicali are the current champions. Ice Hockey is also played in México City. American football is played at the major universities and can be followed at ONEFA. There is also a strong following of the NFL in Mexico with the Cowboys, Steelers, Dolphins and Raiders being the most popular teams.
Opportunities for everyday people to be active also abound. Ice Skating at the Pista de Hielo San Jerónimo is popular. Golf courses in the city tend to be very private, but there are ways to get on a few of the courses. México City also boasts some very nice tennis facilities. Horse Racing can be enjoyed at the Hipódromo de las Américas Horse Track. To try riding on your own, many places offer horseback riding like in Chapultepec Park.
Estadio Azteca Stadium is the official home stadium of the Mexican National Football team and the Mexican team Club América. Aztec Stadium was the primary venue for the 1968 Summer Olympics and is the only stadium ever to host two FIFA World Cup final matches, in 1970 and 1986. It also hosted the 1986 quarter-final between Argentina and England in which Diego Maradona scored both the "Hand of God goal" and the "Goal of the Century". The stadium also hosted the "Game of the Century", when Italy defeated Germany with scores of 4-3 in extra time. With a capacity of 105,000 it is the fifth largest stadium in the world.
Estadio Olímpico Universitario is located in Ciudad Universitaria in México City. Built in 1952, the stadium was once the largest stadium in Mexico at a capacity of 63,186. Since the late 1950s it was used for football matches, some American football matches and athletics contests. The stadium also helped host the 1968 Olympic Games.
Estadio Jalisco(Jalisco Stadium) is a stadium used primarily for football events. It is the third largest Mexican football stadium and is located in the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco, 400 kilometres north-west of México City. It has a maximum capacity of 72,600 and is the home ground of Club Deportivo Guadalajara and CF Atlas, one of the oldest and most prominent football teams in the Primera División de México (Mexican First League Division). The stadium has hosted the 1970 and 1986 FIFA World Cup.
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is the large race track is next to the "Palacio de los Deportes" (Sports Palace). Built in 1962, it was México City's F1 racing track until 1992 when the Mexico Grand Prix was canceled. Ayrton Sena and Alain Prost won the prix in this track in the late 80's and early 90's. This 4.4Km long race track still holds the NASCAR race every year and in 2007 it was one of the stops for the A1 - Grand Prix racing challenge.
National Auditorium (Auditorio Nacional) is one of the main concert and performance centers in México City, the stadium is also used as a sports venue. Constructed in 1952, it was used for volleyball and basketball matches of the 1954 Central American and Caribbean Games and has held performances of the San Francisco Ballet and New York Philharmonic in 1958. The auditorium was the venue for the gymnastics events at the 1968 Summer Olympics. Since the 1970s it was used primarily for international music, song, dance and film festivals, fairs and exhibitions. In 1990 the auditorium went through some reconstruction which brought it to the current design. It hosted the 1993 and 2007 Miss Universe pageant. In May 2007, the American magazine Pollstar ranked the National Auditorium as the best concert venue in the world.