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Tennessee has two major league professional sports teams, the National Football League's Titans, who relocated to Nashville from Houston before the 1997 season, and the NHL's Nashville Predators, who began play in 1999. Minor league baseball teams play throughout the state including Chattanooga, Memphis, Elizabethton, Johnson City, Kingsport, Lynchburg, and Nashville.

Tennessee's colleges and universities provide the major fall and winter sports. The University of Tennessee Volunteers and Vanderbilt University Commodores, in the Southeastern Conference, compete nationally in football, basketball, and baseball. Austin Peay and Tennessee Technological universities belong to the Ohio Valley Conference. The University of Tennessee won the Sugar Bowl in 1943, 1971, 1986, and 1991, the Fiesta Bowl in 1999, and the Florida Citrus Bowl in 1996 and 1997. The Volunteers were named national champions in 1951 and then again in 1999. The University of Tennessee's women's basketball team, the Lady Vols, won NCAA titles in 1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, and 1998. They have won more games than any other NCAA basketball team in the country. Other annual sporting events include the Iroquois steeplechase in Nashville in May and two NASCAR races at the Bristol Motor Speedway, one in March and one in August. Basketball Hall of Fame member Oscar Robertson and track and field legend Wilma Rudolph were both born and raised in Tennessee.