Sports Teams in Des Moines

Des Moines has a history of hosting professional and collegiate sports teams. From the Iowa Cubs to the Drake Bulldogs, here’s a look at the teams that call Des Moines home.

Professional Sports Teams in Des Moines

While there are no major league teams from any of the big 4 leagues (the NFL, NBA, NHL, or MLB) in Des Moines, most of these sports are still represented in Des Moines through minor league affiliates to teams in these leagues.

The Iowa Cubs, playing baseball in Principal Park in downtown Des Moines since 1992, represent the Chicago Cubs at the AAA level in Minor League Baseball. In recent years, MLB All-Stars such as Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber have played in Des Moines.

The Iowa Wolves, the G-League basketball team representing the Minnesota Timberwolves, have played in downtown Des Moines at the Wells Fargo Arena. The Iowa Wolves are one of the most historically accomplished teams in the minor leagues of basketball, having won 4 G-League championships.

The Iowa Wild also play their hockey at the Wells Fargo Arena. Representing the Minnesota Wild in the AHL, they have been playing in Des Moines since 2013.

College Sports Teams in Des Moines

The only university in Des Moines represented in Division 1 of the NCAA is the Drake University Bulldogs. The Bulldogs have a historic and renowned sports program, with 18 teams across a variety of sports.

The most popular sports at the University right now are both men’s and women’s basketball. Both teams capped off their 2023 seasons by winning their Missouri Valley Conference Tournaments and playing in March Madness.

Drake also boasts a stellar track program, highlighted by the esteemed Drake Relays hosted at Drake Stadium every April. Track and field athletes from all around the state, country, and world come to compete in these events at all levels of competition.

Will Des Moines Ever Get a Professional Sports Team?

While there are currently no plans to bring any major professional sports teams to Des Moines, the city’s reputation as one of the fastest growing markets in the midwest (according to the Des Moines Register) could make it an attractive destination for teams in the future.

There are smaller markets with a sports team than Des Moines. Green Bay, the residence of the Green Bay Packers in the NFL, has a population of just over 100,000 people, yet they are still able to fill up the 81,000-seat Lambeau Field each week. Though Des Moines wouldn’t need to build a stadium that big, it’s fun to think that Des Moines could rival such a historical franchise in attendance if given the chance.