Philadelphia/New York Compare
New York vs. Philadelphia:
Who Claims the Top Spot in Sports?
If you’re a sports fan, the East Coast is a great place to live. Many cities in the East boast great sports teams, but no one can beat Philadelphia and New York for the variety and quality of sports entertainment. The question, then, is who can claim the top spot for sports entertainment on the East Coast — Philadelphia or New York? In order to decide victor of this metropolitan heavyweight fight, we must look at several factors that contribute to a city’s sports greatness.
Let’s look first at Philadelphia. In the introduction to his history of Philadelphia sports, Rich Wescott claims that “nothing defines the City of Philadelphia more than its passion for sports” (ix). This passion can be seen in the variety of professional sports played in and around the city. The city boasts professional teams in Major League Baseball (the Phillies), the NBA (the 76 ers), the NFL (the Eagles), the NHL (the Flyers), Major League Soccer (the Union), Women’s Professional Soccer (the Independence), and the National Lacrosse League (the Wings). They even have a professional women’s football team.
Philadelphia has some impressive sports venues as well. Lincoln Financial Field, where the Eagles play, is the only stadium in the world to have solar panels (Ianello 4). It is also a second home to some of the most loyal fans in the country. There is a fifty-year waiting list for season tickets. Citizens Bank Park, home of the Phillies, is also a regular draw for fans. It has sold out its seats for over 100 consecutive games (Ibid).
Philadelphia has produced some superior talent in its professional sports history. Wescott points out that “the Philadelphia area was the birthplace of the best tennis player (Bill Tilden), the best basketball player (Wilt Chamberlain), and the best rower (John B. Kelly, Sr. ) of all time” (xi). Among Philadelphia teams, six have won the World Series, four NBA championships, four NFL titles, and two Stanley Cups (Ibid).
While Philadelphia is impressive on all these levels, New York City certainly gives it a run for its money. It has even more professional teams than Philadelphia, with two NBA teams (the Knicks and the Nets), two MLB teams (the Mets and the Yankees), two NFL teams (the Giants and the Jets), and two NHL teams (the Rangers and the Islanders). It also has a competitive Major League Soccer team, the New York Red Bulls.
New York sports venues do not sell as well as or as consistently as the Philadelphia venues, but they are legendary nonetheless. Before their new stadium was built, the Yankees played in one of most famous sports venues in the world — the old Yankee Stadium. Mark Vancil even compared the cultural and historical status of the old Yankee Stadium to the Coliseum in Rome (15). Madison Square Garden, home of the Knicks and the Rangers, has also been host to a number of concerts and other cultural events.
Where New York blows Philadelphia away is in the records of its teams and players. The New York Yankees is the winningest sports franchise in history, and its players were some of the most revered: Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle all wore pinstripes. Walt Frazer and Patrick Ewing were members of the Knicks, and were among the best basketball players of all time.
While Philadelphia is a fantastic city for sports, and has some of the best fans in the country, I think the variety of teams, the impressiveness of the venues, and the legendary success of its teams makes New York City the winner of the top city for sports in the East. No sports fan could go wrong in either city, though, and people in the Northeast are lucky to have such spectacular choice in sports entertainment.
Ianello, Joe. “5 Reasons Philadelphia Owns New York.” Bleacherreport. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/593264-5-reasons-why-philadelphia-owns-new-york#page/6
Vencil, Mark, and Alfred Santasiere. Yankees Stadium: The Official Retrospective. New York: Pocket Books, 2008.
Wescott, Rich. A Century of Philadelphia Sports. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001.
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