OT: City vs. State Names for Pro Teams

Submitted by Peter Nesbitt on April 27th, 2015 at 6:45 PM

I'm relatively new to Denver after living in Michigan for most of my life, and have been thinking about why Denver has two sports teams with Colorado in their name (Rockies, and Avs) and two with Denver in their name (Nuggets and Broncos). I thought this was odd, because I grew up being a fan of only teams with Detroit in their name.

So, I did a little research, and came up with a list of the sports teams from the big 4 sports that DON'T have their city/metropolitan area in their name, plus what the closest major city is:

State Names:

  • Arizona—Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Coyotes (Phoenix)
  • Colorado—Rockies, Avalanche (Denver)
  • Florida—Panthers (Miami)
  • Indiana—Pacers (Indianapolis)
  • Minnesota—Twins, Vikings, Wild, Timberwolves (Minneapolis)
  • New Jersey—Devils (Newark or NYC)
  • Tennessee—Titans (Nashville)
  • Texas—Rangers (Dallas)
  • Utah—Jazz (SLC)

Region Names:

  • New England—Patriots (Boston)
  • Carolina—Panthers (Charlotte), Hurricanes (Raleigh)
  • Golden State—Warriors (Oakland)

I'd prefer if cities were consistent--it doesn't make any sense to me when cities have multiple teams and some go by the city and some by the state/region. In my opinion, the only city that has multiple cities and successfully uses their state name is Minneapolis.

Do you think the trend toward city names will continue—who might be next? Would you prefer all/more city names?

Comments

ST3

April 27th, 2015 at 6:52 PM ^

I will not root for a pro team that has a non-city name. I just won't do it. (Unless their QB is a Michigan grad, but I'll stop rooting for them the minute he retires.)

Ray

April 27th, 2015 at 7:25 PM ^

Non-city pro names have always bugged me.  The only one I grudgingly cut a little slack for is the Twins, which I tolerate since the name is a clever reference to the Twin Cities and therefore doesn't refer to the state, per se.  They were the first pro team I can think of with a state name though (1961), so I guess if I were consistent I'd loathe that name too.

I do not know why I have this pet peeve, and I do not have a lot to back up this undoubtedly irrational bigotry.  I just think real teams represent cities.  Exhibits A, B and C are named Tigers, Red Wings and Lions. 

stephenrjking

April 27th, 2015 at 11:59 PM ^

The twin-cities issue also matters since you wind up stiffing a big chunk of your market if you pick just one. Minneapolis is kind of the "big brother" of the relationship but the two are inextricable and basically equal. Up here we just refer to them as "the cities," rarely even differentiating. The state name is a smart way of appealing to everyone, which is logical when you have fans all over the state.

Ironically the Detroit teams have always used the city name but are statewide institutions that represent far more than the city. I would guess at least 80% of fans at the Joe, for example, are from outside city limits. They are the "home" teams for cities like Grand Rapids, which is rather large on its own. Only history (and good aesthetics) keeps the identity of "Detroit."

And I'm fine with that. An old English "M" just doesn't look the same on a hat.

Peter Nesbitt

April 27th, 2015 at 7:07 PM ^

Current teams changing names:

Florida>Miami Marlins

California>LA>Anaheim>LA Angels of Anaheim

 

New teams (since 2001)

Memphis Grizzlies

New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder

Winnipeg Jets (not so new)

Washington Nationals

Houston Texans

 

The only change I can find that goes the other direction since 2000 is Phoenix>Arizona Coyotes, and i don't see any team since the Minnesota Wild in 2000 that began with a state name.

Maybe not a "trend," per se, but it's something.

Number 7

April 28th, 2015 at 9:59 AM ^

call themselves "New York,"  play in New Jersey.

I used to be that many more stadiums were in the burbs, but there has been a revival in moving them back downtown (as in from the Silverdome to Ford Field).  Have there ever been any other major sports teams that played in a different state from the one suggested by their name, though?

Jon06

April 27th, 2015 at 11:06 PM ^

That's more teams than I thought you were going to come back with.

I'm not sure the new teams are much more than a coincidence, though. Are those names departures from what teams in the cities were previously called when they'd existed before? Not in the case of New Orleans (Saints, Zephyrs) or Houston (Oilers, Rockets) at least, and I doubt if the others are any different. (Also, Washington DC doesn't count, since it's not in a state.)

Incidentally, didn't the California Angels start changing their name like 20 years ago? I feel like I was a kid.

CWoodIsMyBoiii

April 27th, 2015 at 6:55 PM ^

Not a big hockey guy, but I'm pretty sure they're called the Phoneix Coyotes, not the Arizona Coyotes.  

As far as the topic, being a youngster in northern Michigan, I always sort of wished the pro teams in Michigan were "Michigan" teams just so that I would be included.  But as I grew up, despite not being from the Detroit area, I now have a sense of pride in the city of Detroit and the teams that call the city home.  Let's go wings and tigers tonight!

WolvinLA2

April 27th, 2015 at 7:03 PM ^

As someone who grew up in GR, I agree with this.  I always cheered for the Detroit teams, and still do, but I never felt the need to rep Detroit, since I was from 3 hours away.  This is why I think the state name is a good idea because it's more inclusive.  If you're the only team in the state, why not include everyone?  You might get more of the SW MI folks to cheer for the "Michigan" teams instead of Chicago, for example.

WolvinLA2

April 27th, 2015 at 6:59 PM ^

For some of them, the answer to this is simple - they represent more than one "city" so rather than picking one of them, they pick the whole state/area.  Should the Twins be the Minneapolis Twins or the St. Paul Twins?  This is one where using the state makes a lot of sense.  New Jersey is similar since NJ doesn't really have just one big city, it's all just a mash of NY (or Philly) suburbs and then a collection of smaller cities.  Why pick one?  Just do the whole state. For others, it just sounds better (Colorado Rockies sounds better than Denver Rockies, same with Texas Rangers).  

You also missed one - Tamba Bay isn't a city, it is a region that includes two large cities (Tampa and St. Petersburg, and their surrounding suburbs).  This one is similar to Minneapolis/St. Paul in that there are two large cities.  Unlike the Twin Cities, they can't claim the whole state, so they claim the Tampa Bay area.  

rob f

April 27th, 2015 at 7:27 PM ^

the Michigan Panthers

Michigan Panthers helmet

 

too, but admittedly it was more because of their skinny little star wide receiver

Anthony Carter Autographed 8x10 Michigan football 

The #1 jersey at Michigan has become something of an enigma the last ... 

 

than because of the team itself.  And that despite the fact that in 1983 the Panthers won the only professional football championship in the lifetime of most football fans in this state.   Go Panthers!

Michigan Panthers & OaKLAND INVADERS

(I still do like their logo, even though it didn't look quite as cool on their helmets)

Qmatic

April 27th, 2015 at 7:01 PM ^

I know it will never happen, but if any of the 4 Detroit teams became a 'Michigan Team' (i.e. Michigan Pistons) I would no longer call myself a fan. The Michigan title is reserved for the maize and blue only.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

WolvinLA2

April 27th, 2015 at 7:06 PM ^

Yes, it would be dumb to change it for existing teams.  But if Michigan didn't have one of the major teams, I would be in favor of them going with Michigan instead of Detroit.  Again, this might have to do with the fact that I'm not from SE Michigan, so I've never identified with Detroit.

DealerCamel

April 27th, 2015 at 7:09 PM ^

I was writing a football story in 3rd grade and didn't know how many teams there were in the NCAA, so I did some quick maths.  Because Michigan and Michigan State were obviously the only two programs in Michigan worth considering, I figured every other state must be the same - one flagship school and one with "state" added to it.  Then I remembered that some, like Virginia Tech, didn't fit into that mold, so I added some random number to the total and came up with 116, which ironically was the exact number of schools playing Division 1-A football in 2000.

It took a very long time to shake my belief in my foolproof system after that.

Michigan Hocke…

April 27th, 2015 at 7:20 PM ^

I can help out with the Coyotes situation. The new owner changed it to Arizona because the lack of attendance plus he wanted the whole state to be mentioned not just Phoenix. I know this because I am a huge Coyotes fan and lived close to the area

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

April 27th, 2015 at 10:22 PM ^

The new owner changed it to Arizona because the lack of attendance plus he wanted the whole state to be mentioned not just Phoenix.

It also just so happens the city of Glendale stuck a clause in the arena lease requiring the team to be called the Arizona Coyotes as a condition of basically having financially propped the team up and finding ownership that would keep the team in the area. The rest of the explanation is just the ownership trying to pander to the local fanbase.

http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/eye-on-hockey/21190314/phoenix-coyotes-cou…

justingoblue

April 27th, 2015 at 7:31 PM ^

I wonder if the New York Islanders considered a name change at all.

Two obvious and probably more glaring examples of names not making sense has stuck in the NBA for a long time (Lakers and Jazz) and the Islanders do have some great history, but Brooklyn isn't Long Island in any real sense.

Gulogulo37

April 27th, 2015 at 7:37 PM ^

Well, I do generally think city names are better, but it's also pretty lame when a team is named after a city but actually plays like an hour outside of town. So the Pistons should definitely be the Fort Wayne Pistons. :)

sj

April 27th, 2015 at 8:29 PM ^

I great up a NY Giants fan and people were constantly complaining that they were "New York, but in New Jersey." I always thought this was silly, because they're clearly representing the NY metro region. Teams can be seen as doing it wrong either way.

sadeto

April 27th, 2015 at 9:18 PM ^

It's not " silly" it's true, both teams have now completely abandoned NY when the Jets moved their offices and camp. Ed Koch was completely justified in telling the Super Bowl champs to go march next to the oil tanks in Moonachie, not down Broadway.

sadeto

April 27th, 2015 at 9:20 PM ^

It's not " silly" it's true, both teams have now completely abandoned NY when the Jets moved their offices and camp. Ed Koch was completely justified in telling the Super Bowl champs to go march next to the oil tanks in Moonachie, not down Broadway.

Edit: oops, one post each for the Jints and the Jets.

sadeto

April 27th, 2015 at 9:18 PM ^

It's not " silly" it's true, both teams have now completely abandoned NY when the Jets moved their offices and camp. Ed Koch was completely justified in telling the Super Bowl champs to go march next to the oil tanks in Moonachie, not down Broadway.