THE AVENUE JUNE 17, 2011
with Carey Anne Nadeau
With the Bruins’ defeat of riot-prone Canucks (who’d have thought?) Wednesday night in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Boston area has now laid claim to a championship in each major American sports league (NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB) within the last seven years. The New England Patriots won their last Super Bowl in 2005; the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2007; and the Boston Celtics won the NBA title in 2008.
Our analysis confirms that, indeed, Boston is the first metro area to achieve the distinction of having held all four major sports titles within such a short amount of time since the first NBA championship was held in 1947. Only three others have come close over the years:
- Los Angeles held three different titles within two seven-year periods from 2001-08, although notably, two came from Orange County (MLB-Angels, NBA-Lakers, NHL-Ducks)
- The San Francisco Bay Area held three different titles across four successive seven-year periods from 1971-80, thanks solely to its “second city” of Oakland (MLB-Athletics, NFL-Raiders, NBA-Warriors)
- And on three occasions, the New York metro area held three different sports titles over successive seven-year periods, including 1964-75 (MLB-Mets, NFL-Jets, NBA-Knicks), 1981-89 (MLB-Mets, NFL-Giants, NHL-Islanders), and 1990-97 (MLB-Yankees, NFL-Giants, NHL-Rangers/Devils). It never reached four, however, despite possessing at least two teams in each of the major sports leagues
Of course, not every region has had the luxury of being home to teams from all four major sports leagues at the same time—including, currently, Los Angeles (no NFL team) and San Francisco (no NHL team—the Sharks play in the San Jose metro). Only 12 do today, although 17 have at some point during the last few decades.
Several of those four-sport metro areas, however, including Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia, never managed to win more than two different titles within seven years. In fact, only 32 metro areas have teams that have raised a major-sports championship trophy since 1947. San Diego ranks as the largest metro area (12th in the nation) that has at least one team, but has never tasted victory (not counting the Chargers’ AFL championship in 1963).
All of which is to say that Boston is operating in rarified sports air right now. Or, as they like to say in the Hub when they win, dirty water.
(thanks to Megha Bansal for research assistance)