Pro Sports Teams: City Names vs. State Names

Watching the MLB play-offs on TV, brought to mind this petty issue. For me, I prefer that NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB franchises identify themselves using a city (or at least a small and metropolitan area like Tampa Bay) rather than a state. Granted, I am willing to accept state names used as a compromise in markets where there are two or more large cities (e.g., the Minnesota Twins are much less of a mouthful than the Minneapolis-St. Paul Twins). Otherwise, I think the major city in a market should be used. After all, is there a good reason why, in baseball, it has to be the Florida Marlins rather than the Miami Marlins (unless they move the team to Orlando or Jacksonville in which case they wouldn’t have to change the team’s logo)? Teams named after cities have firm identities; pro teams named after states lack firm identities. I think that’s one reason why the California Angels were smart to become the Anaheim Angels a few years ago.

How about the New England Patriots? You could move them into a number of states and keep selling the old merchandise.


How about the Golden State Warriors? Geeze, that could be anywhere in the state, provided you know what state is the “Golden State.”

Btw, they play all there home games in Oakland, California.

Beyond Wayne Huizenga’s enormous ego, there is no reason that I can think of. Or maybe he’s from Fort Lauderdale.

It could be worse. In Japan they’d be the Disney Angels.

But I like a little variety in the naming. City should be a default but state and region could be used if there’s a reason. Heck I might even enjoy a good river name like the Suwanee Geese. I’d say sounding good is the most important. How about “The Great Plains Drifters”? That still sounds good.

Well here in the National Rugby League, we have just had a grand final featuring a team based around a whole country - the New Zealand Warriors.


Purely marketing. They were hoping to establish themselves amongst a state-wide fan base as “Florida’s team” to a big enough degree to forestall potential in-state competitors…not that the gambit worked.

It works the other way as well. The Disney company wants to establish the city of Anaheim as something other than an LA suburb…that’s why they made sure the Mighty Ducks had the “Anaheim” name as well. Make Anaheim a destination in its own right, and people will (theoretically) come to and stay at Disneyland rather than other southern California attractions.

I’ve forgotten. Were they the ENRON Rangers or the ENRON Astros?

**TV Time[/v]: Astros. GWB used to own a share of the Rangers.

I always found it amusing when two in-state team played but one of them was the state name. Like “Tampa Bay vs. Florida”.

The Japanese baseball naming thing is odd, too. I thought the Nippon Ham Fighters were actually called the Ham Fighters, but alas they are merely owned by Nippon Ham. I bet they have cool hats, though.

I’m not positive, and I don’t have a cite, but there was an explanation when the Phoenix Cardinals changed their name to “Arizona” Cardinals. Supposedly, it has something to do with the TV coverage.

Maybe someone else can explain it better, but since they’re “Arizona” I guess that would mean the entire state would get the “local” Arizona game instead of a San Diego game? Just a guess.

That almost happened. A few years ago, the Patriots were planning on moving to a new stadium in Hartford, Connecticut. However, the deal fell through and the Pats decided to stay in Foxboro, Mass.

As for the Golden State Warriors, given it’s been years since that team did anything, I don’t think any city in California wants to be directly identified with them.

The Green Bay Packer’s fan base consists of the entire state, plus the UP of Michigan, plus a large selection of people who USED to live in the state (not that everyone in WI is GB fan). So altho GB is is the smallest TV market for a NFL team, I think that fact isn’t telling the whole story.


The Packers also have a lot of fans who never lived in Wisconsin.

Like me, for instance.

Well, the Angels used to be the Los Angeles Angels. They changed their name to the California Angels after the 1964 season (a season before they left Dodger Stadium). It could be that it was done in an effort to distance/distinguish themselves from the Dodgers.

Zev Steinhardt

Why not let the Dodgers go back to Brooklyn? Then they could be the Los Angeles Angels again, even though it’s a stupidly redundant name.

I had some time to kill so I searched through the 4 major sports for the strange locations in names:

MLB - Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, Florida Marlins, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies
NFL - Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals
NHL - New Jersey Devils, Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild
NBA - Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz

NFL - New England Patriots, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NHL - Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning
NBA - Golden State Warriors

Slightly Misleading Names:
NFL - Washington Redskins (play in VA), New York Giants & New York Jets (play in NJ), Chicago Bears (playing in Champaign this year)
NBA - Washington Wizards (play in DC, not Washington state
NHL - Washington Capitals (play in DC, not Washington state)

The New England Patriots were the Boston Patriots until 1970 (IIRC). Played games at Fenway, among other, stadiums.

Tampa Bay is a city, not a region.

The Redskins play in MD, thank you very much. Jack Kent Cooke looked at Northern Virginia as a site for a stadium, but they bitched and screeched so much, he said “F 'em” and built the stadium in MD.

How are the Washington names misleading? Are they supposed to call themselves the District of Columbias???

Please.:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Tampa Bay is an area, not a city. Tampa is a city. It’s sort of a twin cities situation like Minneapolis-St. Paul. But it’s a bunch of major/semi-major cities: Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota and Bradenton. Metropolitan area.

Side note: Back when they first played the Tampa Bay Bucs travelled for an away game to Green Bay. The scoreboard just read: Tampa. So when the Packers travelled to play in the Bay area, they just put “Green” on the scoreboard. It never happened again.

Frank #2: Why Bucs and Lightning for Tampa Bay, but not the Devil Rays? The Devil Rays is the most appropriate Tampa Bay team, as their home games are played in St. Petersburg, not in Tampa.

Unfortunately, this name has the same problem as “ATM Machine.” As we all know, “The Los Angeles Angels” translated is the obnoxious “The The Angels Angels.”

I’m, for one, glad that they changed the name.

Also, I think that Washington, DC should just change its name to “Columbia.” It’s more aesthetic, I think.