Dallas is sports-mad, one of only six cities in the U.S. to support teams in all the major professional sports leagues. Tickets to pro sporting events are available from Central Tickets (tel. 817/335-9000), Star Tickets (tel. 972/660-8300), and Ticketmaster (tel. 214/373-8000).
The Texas Rangers (formerly owned by the former president of the U.S., George W. Bush) play from April to October at one of the finest stadiums in the country, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, I-30 at Hwy. 157 (tel. 817/273-5100; www.texasrangers.com), a home field that recalls the glory days of baseball. Of special interest is the fascinating Legends of the Game Baseball Museum, with rare pieces on loan from the Cooperstown Baseball Museum (the only stadium so fortunate).
The Frisco Rough Riders (tel. 972/334-1909; www.ridersbaseball.com), the Texas Rangers feeder team, play minor league at the new stadium at Highway S. 12 between Dallas North Tollway and Parkwood Boulevard.
The Dallas Mavericks (tel. 214/747-MAVS [747-6287] or 665-4797; www.nba.com/mavericks), one of the top teams in the NBA, call the American Airlines Center home. The excellent arena, built by the same architect who created the critically acclaimed Rangers Ballpark in Arlington for the Texas Rangers, opened in July 2001. Single-game tickets (available at Ticketmaster, tel. 214/373-8000) are $20 to $250 and can be a bit hard to come by, as popular as the Mavs are at home. Tours of the arena are available on nonevent days at 10:30am.
The Dallas Cowboys (tel. 972/785-4800; www.dallascowboys.com), five-time Super Bowl Champions and (at least formerly) "America's Team," played at Texas Stadium in Irving, the arena with the famous hole in the roof, for 38 years. In 2009, the Cowboys' new stadium is scheduled to open; it will seat 80,000 and be the largest domed stadium in the country -- and it will still have a hole in the roof, although this time around it will be retractable. Individual game tickets, which cost $59 to $125, aren't easy to come by, so plan ahead if you want to avoid paying high broker's fees. The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, who started a professional trend of scantily clad females bouncing around on the sidelines, still shimmy and cheer them on, big hairdos, cleavage, and all. Check with the Cowboys organization to find out whether and when tours of the new stadium are available. The Dallas Desperados play arena football (AFL) in the spring at American Airlines Stadium in Irving; call tel. 972/785-4900, or visit www.dallasdesperados.com for information.
The PGA Byron Nelson Championship, named for a local legend, has been held in Dallas for the past 3 decades every May. Check out some of the top names in professional golf at the Four Seasons Resort and Club (call tel. 972/717-1200 for tickets).
Dallas may not seem like the most logical place for a professional ice hockey team, but Big D has one of the best, the Dallas Stars (the 2000 Western Conference Champions), and Dallasites are wild about them. The Stars play at the American Airlines Center; the season is September through April. The Stars sell out all of their home games, so plan ahead if you want to see a game (tel. 214/GO-STARS [467-8277]; www.dallasstars.com). Tickets (available at Ticketmaster, tel. 214/373-8000) range from $25 to $300, and family packs (tickets and food) are available.
One of the top rodeos in Texas, and a huge draw for out-of-towners and travelers from abroad, is the Mesquite Championship Rodeo, about 20 miles northeast of downtown at Resistol Arena, 1818 Rodeo Dr. (tel. 800/833-9339 or 972/285-8777; www.mesquiterodeo.com). April to September, you can check out some authentic professional rodeo action -- bull riding, saddle and bareback riding, calf roping, and chuck-wagon races -- on Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm (reserved grandstand seating $14; general admission $10 adults, $7 seniors, $4 children 11 and under). Animal-rights sympathizers might feel a bit squeamish watching some of the roping exercises, which violently snap calves' heads back. There's a petting zoo for kids and a gift shop selling Western duds just like the ones the cowboys and their fans will be sporting. Rodeo season is April through October.
The newest professional team in the area, FC Dallas, plays outdoor soccer (MLS). Conference champions in 2006, FC Dallas moved from the Cotton Bowl to Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, 30 miles north of Dallas, and draws more than 1.5 million fans to its 20,000-capacity stadium. The season lasts from April to October. Tickets cost $9 to $60. Call tel. 888/FCD-GOAL (323-4625) or visit http://web.mlsnet.com/t104 for more information.