Spectator sports in Columbia  essentially begins and ends with University of South Carolina athletics (www.gamecocksonline.cstv.com ). As part of the Southeastern Conference, the Gamecocks play football at Williams-Brice Stadium (1127 George Rogers Blvd., 803/254-2950), basketball at the Colonial Center (801 Lincoln St., 803/576-9200), and baseball at a new field on Williams Street. Good luck getting tickets, especially for home football games.
Regardless of how the ’Cocks are doing on the gridiron, their games are always attended by fiercely passionate, sold-out crowds.
But there is serviceable professional minor league ball courtesy of the Columbia Blowfish (301 Assembly St., 803/254-3474, www.blowfishbaseball.com ), a New York Mets affiliate who play home games in the circa 1940s Capital City Stadium (“The Cap”) as part of the Coastal Plain League. A team called the “Bombers,” in tribute to General Doolittle and his WWII raiders, played here until leaving town for Greenville in 2005 (they’re now called The Drive.) In their inaugural season in 2006, the new Blowfish led the league in attendance.
Hockey in the middle of South Carolina? Yup. The Columbia Inferno (701 Assembly St., 803/256-7825, www.columbiainferno.com ), a Toronto Maple Leaf affiliate, skate October–March in the Carolina Coliseum as part of the East Coast Hockey League.