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Despite having over nine million people, North Carolina’s population being spread out over three major metropolitan areas precluded attracting any major professional sports league teams until 1974, when the New York Stars of the World Football League was relocated to Charlotte in the middle of the season and renamed the Charlotte Hornets (although the team was referred to as the Charlotte Stars for the first game in Charlotte).

The National Football League (NFL) is represented by the Carolina Panthers, who began play in 1995, and call Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium home. In 2004, the NBA returned to the state with the Charlotte Bobcats who play their home games in Time Warner Cable Arena.

The Carolina RailHawks are a men’s professional soccer team in the United Soccer Leagues, and their home field is the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.

The American Indoor Football Association (AIFA) is represented by the Fayetteville Guard who plays at Crown Coliseum. North Carolina was home to the Charlotte Rage and the Carolina Cobras of the Arena Football League.

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