Sports are an important part of the culture of the United States. Four of the nation's five most popular team sports were developed in North America: American football, basketball, baseball and ice hockey, whereas soccer was developed in England. The four Major leagues in the United States are the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Hockey League (NHL); all enjoy massive media exposure and are considered the preeminent competitions in their respective sports in the world. Three of those leagues have teams that represent Canadian cities, and all four are among the most lucrative sports leagues in the world. The top professional soccer league in the United States, Major League Soccer, has not yet reached the popularity levels of the top four sports leagues, although average attendance has been increasing and in fact has matched or surpassed those of the NBA and the NHL.
Professional teams in all major sports operate as franchises within a league. All major sports leagues use the same type of schedule with a playoff tournament after the regular season ends. In addition to the major league-level organizations, several sports also have professional minor leagues, active in smaller cities across the country.
The Carolina–Clemson rivalry, also referred to as the The Battle of the Palmetto State or The Palmetto Bowl, is an American college rivalry between the sports teams of the University of South Carolina and of Clemson University: the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Clemson Tigers. Both institutions are public universities supported by the state of South Carolina, and their campuses are separated by only 132 miles. USC and Clemson have been bitter rivals since the 1880s, and a heated rivalry continues to this day for a variety of reasons, including the historic tensions regarding their respective charters and the passions surrounding their athletic programs.
Both universities are members of premier collegiate athletic conferences: South Carolina is in the Southeastern Conference (SEC); Clemson is in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).