kids encyclopedia robot

Sports in Philadelphia facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Citizens Bank Park 2021
Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies, the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional American sports, dating back to 1883.
Walter Bahr Joe Biden at Lincoln Financial Field for Philadelphia Union match (cropped)
Vice President Joe Biden attending a Philadelphia Union (MLS) match, 2010

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been home to many teams and events in professional, semi-professional, amateur, college, and high-school sports. Sports are a huge part of the culture of the city and the Greater Philadelphia area. Philadelphia sports fans are considered to be some of the most knowledgeable fans in sports, and are known for their extreme passion for all of their teams. Philadelphia fans, particularly Eagles fans, are also known for their reputation of being the "Meanest Fans in America".

Philadelphia is one of thirteen cities that hosts teams in the "Big Four" major sports leagues in North America, and Philadelphia is one of just four cities in which one team from every league plays within city limits. These major sports teams are the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball, the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League, the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association and the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League. Each team has played in Philadelphia since at least the 1960s, and each team has won at least two championships. Since 2010, the Greater Philadelphia area has been the home of the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer, making the Philadelphia market one of nine cities that hosts a team in the five major sports leagues. Prior to the 1970s, Philadelphia was home to several other notable professional franchises, including the Philadelphia Athletics, the Frankford Yellow Jackets, the Philadelphia Warriors, the Philadelphia Quakers, and the Philadelphia Field Club.

The Greater Philadelphia area hosts several college sports teams. The Philadelphia Big 5 is an informal association of basketball schools consisting of La Salle University, the University of Pennsylvania, Saint Joseph's University, Temple University, and Villanova University. Those five schools, along with Drexel University, Delaware State University, and the University of Delaware, all represent the Greater Philadelphia area in NCAA Division I, while several other area schools field teams in other divisions of the NCAA. Temple fields the lone Division I FBS football team in the region, though many Philadelphia fans root for other programs, such as the Pennsylvania State University Nittany Lions.

In addition to the major professional and college sports, numerous semi-pro, amateur, community, and high school teams play in Philadelphia. The city hosts numerous sporting events, such as the Penn Relays and the Collegiate Rugby Championship, and Philadelphia has been the most frequent host of the annual Army-Navy football game. Philadelphia has also been the home of several renowned athletes and sports figures. Philly furthermore has played a historically significant role in the development of cricket and extreme wrestling in the United States.

Major professional championships and awards

Major professional championships

Championships won by Philadelphia teams in the five major leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS):

Philadelphia's failure to win a championship between 1983 and 2008 was often jokingly attributed to the "Curse of Billy Penn." In 2010, Philadelphia sports fans picked both of the Phillies' World Series wins as the two greatest moments in Philadelphia sports, with the 2008 win picked as the single best moment.



The following Philadelphia players won the regular season most valuable player award of the NFL (AP), MLB, NHL, NBA, or MLS. Note that the MLB confers an MVP award to one player in the American League and one player in the National League.

Other awards

Player League Award Year
Harry Byrd AL Rookie of the Year 1952
Jack Sanford NL Rookie of the Year 1957
Woody Sauldsberry NBA Rookie of the Year 1958
Buck Shaw NFL Coach of the Year 1960
Wilt Chamberlain NBA Rookie of the Year 1960
Dick Allen NL Rookie of the Year 1964
Dolph Schayes NBA Coach of the Year 1966
Steve Carlton NL Cy Young 1972
Fred Shero NHL Jack Adams Award 1974
Bernie Parent NHL Vezina Trophy 1974
Bernie Parent NHL Conn Smythe Trophy 1974
Bernie Parent NHL Vezina Trophy 1975
Bernie Parent NHL Conn Smythe Trophy 1975
Reggie Leach NHL Conn Smythe Trophy 1976
Steve Carlton NL Cy Young 1977
Pat Quinn NHL Jack Adams Award 1980
Steve Carlton NL Cy Young 1980
Mike Schmidt NL World Series MVP 1980
Steve Carlton NL Cy Young 1982
Bobby Jones NBA Sixth Man of the Year 1983
Moses Malone NBA NBA Finals MVP 1983
John Denny NL Cy Young 1983
Mike Keenan NHL Jack Adams Award 1985
Pelle Lindbergh NHL Vezina Trophy 1985
Reggie White NFL Defensive Player of the Year 1987
Ron Hextall NHL Vezina Trophy 1987
Ron Hextall NHL Conn Smythe Trophy 1987
Steve Bedrosian NL Cy Young 1987
Ray Rhodes NFL Coach of the Year 1995
Dana Barros NBA Most Improved Player 1995
Allen Iverson NBA Rookie of the Year 1997
Scott Rolen NL Rookie of the Year 1997
Bill Barber NHL Jack Adams Award 2001
Aaron McKie NBA Sixth Man of the Year 2001
Dikembe Mutombo NBA Defensive Player of the Year 2001
Larry Brown NBA Coach of the Year 2001
Larry Bowa NL Manager of the Year 2001
Andy Reid NFL Coach of the Year 2002
Ryan Howard NL Rookie of the Year 2005
Ryan Howard NL Hank Aaron Award 2006
Brad Lidge NL Reliever of the Year 2008
Cole Hamels NL World Series MVP 2008
Roy Halladay NL Cy Young 2010
Michael Carter-Williams NBA Rookie of the Year 2014
Andre Blake MLS Goalkeeper of the Year 2016


Philadelphia has rivalries with three of the four other major cities in the "Northeast megalopolis", particularly New York City, as well as a long history with an instate rival, Pittsburgh. Philadelphia teams also compete with teams from New York City and Pittsburgh for fans in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In addition to regional rivalries, teams from Philadelphia have a number of other rivalries with teams from other cities.

New York City

See also: Sports in New York City
Rangers vs Flyers 2007 1
The Flyers and the Rangers take a face-off

As the two largest cities in the United States for much of the nation's history, New York and Philadelphia have a historical rivalry that has continued in the world of sports. There are intra-division rivalries among teams from New York City and Philadelphia in each of the five major leagues, as seen in the rivalries between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East, the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East, the New York Knicks and the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA's Atlantic Division, the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers in the National Hockey League's Metropolitan Division, and the Philadelphia Union and the New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference. The Flyers also have an intense rivalry with the New Jersey Devils (who play in the New York metropolitan area) and were major rivals with the New York Islanders in the 1970s and 1980s. The Brooklyn Nets and the 76ers are also divisional rivals, as both teams play in the Atlantic Division. The Phillies and Yankees play each other very rarely, but the teams met in the 1950 World Series and the 2009 World Series. The New York Jets and the Eagles have only played each other nine times, with the Eagles winning every game.


See also: Sports in Pittsburgh

Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are the two major cities of Pennsylvania and the only two cities in the state with major professional sports franchises, and the teams of the two cities have had strong rivalries in the NHL, MLB, and NFL. Perhaps the strongest current rivalry is between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins, both of which play in the Metropolitan Division of the NHL. The rivalry is generally considered to be one of the fiercest in the NHL.

Although not major rivals since the 1994 MLB divisional realignment, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Phillies had historically been heated rivals in the National League, and frequently competed for the National League East division title. The Phillies and Pirates still play regularly, but are no longer in the same division. The Pirates earned their name from a 19th-century incident with the Philadelphia Athletics; after the Pirates signed second baseman Lou Bierbauer, the Athletics protested that Pittsburgh's actions were "piratical."

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Eagles both came into the NFL during the 1933 season. Between 1945 and 1970, the Eagles and Steelers played each other every year, and the two teams met in a one-game playoff in 1947. However, the Steelers moved to the American Football Conference as part of the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger, and the Eagles and Steelers only play each other every four years.

There is also a spirited rivalry between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia at both the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State University, as there are many students from both cities at both state-related schools.

Other rivalries

Philadelphia and Boston have historically had strong rivalries in the NBA and NHL. The 76ers have a long rivalry with the Boston Celtics and both currently compete in the Atlantic Division. The two franchises have met each other in the NBA playoffs more than any other pair of franchises. Sixers guard Andrew Toney earned the appellation "The Boston Strangler" for his clutch play against the Boston Celtics in the 1980s. The Flyers have met the Boston Bruins seven times in the NHL playoffs, including a stretch where they met four out of five years. The Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox are interleague rivals, and the two franchises met in the 1915 World Series. The Eagles and the New England Patriots rarely play, but the teams met in the 2005 Super Bowl. The Union and the New England Revolution both play in the MLS's Eastern Conference.

Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. have teams in the same division in the NFL, NHL, MLB, and MLS. The Eagles and the Washington Redskins have a long history, having (almost always) competed in the same division since 1933. The Flyers and the Washington Capitals both play in the Metropolitan Division; the rivals have met four times in the NHL playoffs. The Washington Nationals franchise (including their predecessor, the Montreal Expos) and the Phillies have competed in the NL East since 1969. The Union have developed an intraconference rivalry with D.C. United. The Washington Wizards and the 76ers also both play in the NBA's Eastern Conference, and the two teams met in the NBA playoffs four times in the 1970s and 1980s, including the 1978 Eastern Conference Finals.

Philadelphia teams have rivalries with teams from outside of the Northeast. There is a passionate NFC East rivalry between the Eagles and the Cowboys, with a number of stories and memorable events surrounding the rivalry. The 76ers enjoy an interconference rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers. The two teams met in the NBA Finals in 1980, 1982, 1983, and 2001. The Phillies have developed a rivalry with the Atlanta Braves. The teams met in the 1993 NLCS, and the two franchises are the most frequent winners of the NL East.

Other professional teams


Ron Jaworski, former Eagles quarterback and owner of the Soul

The Philadelphia Soul are an Arena Football League franchise founded in 2004. The team plays in the Wells Fargo Center. The Philadelphia Soul won ArenaBowl XXII in 2008 before the league formally disbanded in 2009. The Soul returned in 2010 after the Arena Football League restarted its operations as a new entity. The Soul have won three conference championships and three division championships.

Philadelphia hosts some women's football teams as well. The city's first women's tackle football team was the Philadelphia Liberty Belles, which played in the National Women's Football Association and the Independent Women's Football League from 2001–2004. A second incarnation of the Liberty Belles was founded in 2009, and plays in the Women's Football Alliance. The Philadelphia Firebirds, established in 2003, play in the Independent Women's Football League. The Philadelphia Passion play in the Legends Football League.

Other football teams in the city have folded. In 1902 the owners of the three MLB teams in Pennsylvania founded the National Football League (a league unrelated to the modern NFL). The league consisted of the Phillies, Athletics, and the Pittsburgh Stars, and lasted only one year. Many of the players from the Philadelphia teams played for the "New York Philadelphians" during the 1902 World Series of Football. Other early football clubs include the Union Club of Phoenixville, Conshohocken Athletic Club, Union Quakers of Philadelphia, and Holmesburg Athletic Club. The Clifton Heights Orange & Black competed from 1921–1932, and played in the short-lived Eastern League of Professional Football. The Philadelphia Bulldogs played in the Continental Football League from 1965−1966. They won the 1966 championship. The Pottstown Firebirds competed in the Atlantic Coast Football League from 1968–1970; the franchise was an affiliate of the Philadelphia Eagles.


Although the Phillies are the only active professional baseball team in Philadelphia, three other teams play in the Delaware Valley. The Reading Fightin Phils are the Double-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. The club was established in 1967, and plays in the Eastern League. Notable alumni of the Fightin Phils include Mike Schmidt, Ryne Sandberg, and Jimmy Rollins. The Camden Riversharks play in nearby Camden, New Jersey. The Riversharks were founded in 2001, and play in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. The Wilmington Blue Rocks are a Kansas City Royals affiliate that play in Wilmington, Delaware. Three other Phillies affiliates play in Pennsylvania or New Jersey: the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs play in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws play in Lakewood Township, New Jersey, and the Class A Williamsport Crosscutters play in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Another minor league team, the Trenton Thunder, have played in Trenton, New Jersey since 1994; the team is currently the Double-A affiliate of the Yankees.

1874 Philadelphia Athletics baseball
The 1874 Philadelphia Athletics. This incarnation of the Athletics (unrelated to the modern Oakland Athletics) was the first major league baseball team in the city

During the 19th century, Philadelphia was home to numerous franchises that played in various leagues that did not last into the 20th century. Many of these leagues are considered to be "major leagues" by baseball historians and record keepers. Three different franchises, none directly related to each other or the current Oakland Athletics franchise, played in Philadelphia during the 19th century. The original Philadelphia Athletics (also known as Athletic of Philadelphia) were formed in 1860, and played in the National Association and the National League. Another Athletics franchise played in the American Association from 1882–1890, while a third Athletics franchise (also known as the Quakers) played one season in the Players' League and one season in the American Association. The Philadelphia White Stockings and the Philadelphia Centennials played in the National Association during the 1870s. Joe Borden of the White Stockings pitched the first no-hitter in professional history. The Philadelphia Keystones and the Wilmington Quicksteps both played parts of the Union Association's lone season in 1884.

Before the integration of Major League Baseball following World War II, Philadelphia was the home of numerous Negro League teams. The Philadelphia Pythians played from 1867–1887, and were one of the top early black baseball clubs. Shortly after the end of the Civil War, the Pythians tried to join the National League but were denied membership. The Philadelphia Giants were a Negro League team that played from 1902–1911. The Hilldale Club played as an independent and in several leagues from 1910–1932. Hilldale won the Negro World Series in 1925. The Philadelphia Tigers played in the Eastern Colored League in 1928. Two franchises played in the second incarnation of the Negro National League: the Philadelphia Stars played from 1934 to 1948, while the Bacharach Giants played in the league in 1934. The Stars won the Negro League National Championship in 1934.

Ice hockey

Phantoms last season at the Spectrum
The Philadelphia Phantoms play against the Portland Pirates in their final season at the Spectrum. The Phantoms now play in Allentown as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Both of the Flyers's minor league affiliates play in Eastern Pennsylvania. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms are the top minor league affiliate of the Flyers. The Phantoms have played in Allentown, Pennsylvania since 2014. From 1996 to 2009, the Phantoms played in the Spectrum and were known as the Philadelphia Phantoms. The franchise won the Calder Cup in 1998 and 2005. The Reading Royals are the ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers. The franchise was founded in 1991 as the Columbus Chill, but moved to Reading in 2001. The Royals won the league championship for the first time in 2013. The Flyers have had other affiliates in Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The Trenton Titans of Trenton, New Jersey played in the ECHL from 1999–2013, and served as the affiliate of the Flyers before they were bought by the New Jersey Devils. The Hershey Bears of Hershey, Pennsylvania are the oldest continuously-operating professional hockey franchise outside of the NHL's Original Six. The Bears served as the AHL affiliate of the Flyers for parts of the 1980s and 1990s.

Philadelphia has had several minor league hockey teams play in the city and the surrounding area. The Philadelphia Arrows were the first hockey franchise in city history, playing in the Canadian-American Hockey League from 1927–1935. The franchise changed its name to the Philadelphia Ramblers before the 1935–36 season and joined the American Hockey League, where it won the 1936 league championship (the year before the league introduced the Calder Cup). The team acted as the primary affiliate of the New York Rangers from 1935–1941. The Philadelphia Falcons played in the Eastern Hockey League from 1942–1946, before jumping to the American Hockey League and playing as the Philadelphia Rockets from 1946–1949. Another franchise named the Ramblers played in the EHL from 1955–1964; the Ramblers moved to Cherry Hill, New Jersey and played as the Jersey Devils from 1964–1973. A previous EHL Cherry Hill team named the Jersey Larks had played one season in 1960–1961. The Philadelphia Firebirds were a minor-league hockey team that played in the Philadelphia Civic Center from 1974–1979. They played in the North American Hockey League from 1974–1977, winning the league championship in 1976. When the NAHL folded in 1977, they joined the American Hockey League. The team moved to Syracuse in 1979, but folded in 1980. Another short-lived team which played in the Centrum (the renamed Cherry Hill Arena) was the Jersey Aces, which started the 1979-80 Northeastern Hockey League season in Cherry Hill but moved mid-season, playing the final 18 games of its season in Hampton, VA where it continued operating until 1981.


The Delaware 87ers are the NBA Development League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers. The franchise began in playing in Newark in 2013 after previously being known as the Utah Flash.

The Philadelphia area had three teams that played in the American Basketball League; the league was the product of an early attempt at forming a top-level national professional basketball league. The Philadelphia Warriors played in the ABL in the 1920s. The Philadelphia Sphas played from 1917–1949, winning seven ABL championships. With the rise of the NBA, the ABL ceased to be a major league, and the Sphas became the touring opponent of the Harlem Globetrotters. The Sphas were renamed the Washington Generals in 1952. Wilmington also had a team in the ABL: the Wilmington Bombers played in the league in the 1940s.

The Philadelphia area has hosted numerous other defunct basketball teams. Two franchises named the Bullets played in Camden and Cherry Hill in the 1960s and 1970s. The Philadelphia Kings played in the Continental Basketball Association in the league's 1980–1981 season. The Philadelphia Aces played in the United States Basketball League from 1987–1990. The Philadelphia Spirit played in the United States Basketball League from 1991–1992. The Philadelphia Rage moved from Richmond, Virginia in 1997 and played a year and a half in the American Basketball League before the league folded during the 1998 season. The Philadelphia Fusion, formerly the Jersey Squires, was an American Basketball Association team that folded in February 2005.


Bethlehem Steel F.C. 1917-1918
The 1917–18 Bethlehem Steel F.C., winner of the prestigious US Open Cup

Philadelphia has been the home of numerous defunct professional soccer teams. The Philadelphia Phillies and other baseball clubs established the American League of Professional Football, the first professional soccer league in the United States. The league only played for one season in 1894. Arthur Irwin, the manager of the Phillies baseball team, served as the league president. Other early Philadelphia-area soccer clubs include Philadelphia Hibernian, Centennial F.C., Philadelphia Merchant Ship, Disston A.A., Victor F.C.. Numerous teams competed in the defunct second American Soccer League, including the Philadelphia Ukrainians, Uhrik Truckers, Philadelphia Nationals and the Philadelphia Spartans. The Philadelphia Ukrainians won the US Open Cup four times, while the Uhrik Truckers won the trophy once. Walter Bahr, a Philadelphia native and the captain of the 1950 U.S. national team that defeated England, played for the Ukrainians and the Nationals. The Philadelphia Fever were an indoor team that played in the original Major Indoor Soccer League from 1978 to 1982. The Philadelphia KiXX were an indoor team that played from 1995–2010 in the National Indoor Soccer League and the Major Indoor Soccer League. The KiXX won the championship in 2002 and 2007, but disbanded in 2010. Philadelphia has also been home to defunct women's soccer teams.

Philadelphia has had two defunct women's teams that played at the top level of the United States soccer pyramid. The Philadelphia Charge played in the Women's United Soccer Association from 2000–2003, while the Philadelphia Independence played the 2010 and 2011 seasons in Women's Professional Soccer, reaching (and losing in) the championship game each year before the league folded in 2012. Philadelphia has not yet had a team play in the National Women's Soccer League, which is currently the top women's league in the United States.


Box Lacrosse
The Philadelphia Wings versus the Minnesota Swarm. The Wings relocated from Philadelphia in 2014 to become the New England Black Wolves.

Philadelphia does not currently host any professional lacrosse teams, but two franchises used to play in the area. The Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League played at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia. The Wings won the NLL title six times, in 1989, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1998, and 2001. They were the longest-tenured team in one location in the NLL, but relocated after the 2014 season to become the New England Black Wolves. The Philadelphia Barrage were a Major League Lacrosse franchise that played in Philadelphia from 2004–2008. The team won the league championship in three out of the five years they played in Philadelphia, but the franchise folded after the 2008 season.

Semi-pro, amateur, and community teams

Rugby league

Rugby league is an increasingly popular sport in the Philadelphia area. The Philadelphia Fight play in the USA Rugby League. The club has won three USARL championships. The Aston Bulls, Bucks County Sharks, and Delaware Valley Mantarays played in the AMNRL before the league folded in 2013. The Sharks joined the Fight in USARL upon the folding of AMNRL. In 2015, Delaware Black Foxes joined USARL as an expansion team. Aston, Pennsylvania is considered as the birthplace of rugby league in America.

Rugby union

Rugby union is also an increasingly popular sport in the Philadelphia area. Schuylkill River Exiles Rugby Football Club are a Division 1 men's rugby club based in Philadelphia. The team plays matches on public fields in Fairmount Park, and are members of USA Rugby and the Mid-Atlantic Rugby Football Union. The club was founded in 1995. Media Rugby Football Club is a Division 1 rugby club that was founded in 1978. Media Rugby is a member of USA Rugby and the Mid-Atlantic Rugby Football Union. The Philadelphia Whitemarsh RFC is a division 3 rugby union team in Philadelphia. The team was formed in 1985 after the merging of the Philadelphia and Whitemarsh clubs. The Hibernian RFC formed in 1976 by former Blackthorn RFC plays right outside of Philadelphia, in Bucks County. The Northeast Philadelphia Rugby team, also known as the Fish, is a division 3 team in Philadelphia that was formed in 2011.

There are several women's rugby union teams in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. Philadelphia Women's Rugby and Keystone Women's Rugby (in King of Prussia) compete in USA Rugby Division I. Brandywine Women's Rugby (in West Chester) and Doylestown Women's Rugby compete in Division II. Northeast Philadelphia Women's Rugby, associated with the Irish, joined the EPRU in 2011.


Cricket has a long history of play in Philadelphia, and Philadelphia was one of the last bastions of cricket in the United States. Philadelphia was the center of the "golden age" of American cricket in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Philadelphian cricket team represented Philadelphia in first class cricket from 1878–1913, and played against some of the top teams in the world. Players on the team include George Patterson, John Lester, and Bart King, perhaps the greatest American cricket player.

The Philadelphia Cricket Club was founded in 1854. Greats such as Bart King, Percy Clark, and Christie Morris played for the team in its prime. Though it was disbanded in 1924, it was revived in 1998. Other cricket clubs in Germantown, Merion, Belmont flourished during the late 19th and early 20th century.

Since 1993, the city has been home to the annual Philadelphia International Cricket Festival, held during the first weekend in May, benefiting the Inglis Foundation. Each year, twelve teams, including five from the area and seven from across the United States or guest international sides, are invited to participate in the festival.


The Philadelphia area has a long history of successful amateur soccer teams. The National Amateur Cup has been won several times by Philadelphia teams; winners include Fleisher Yarn, Philadelphia German-Americans, Philadelphia Inter, and Philadelphia United German-Hungarians. The latter club helped found the United Soccer League of Pennsylvania. The Lighthouse Boys Club is a successful club whose history stretches back to the 19th century. Junior Lone Star FC is an amateur soccer team that plays in the National Premier Soccer League. The club is based in Southwest Philadelphia, and was founded in 2001 by West African immigrants, mainly from Liberia. Buxmont Torch FC of Perkasie, Pennsylvania also plays in the NPSL. Reading United A.C., founded in 1996, plays in the Premier Development League. The club has served as an affiliate of the Union since 2009. The Ocean City Nor'easters, founded in 1996, also play in the Premier Development League. The Philadelphia Fever and Philadelphia Liberty FC play in the Women's Premier Soccer League.

Other sports

There are a number of Junior hockey teams in the area. The Flyers sponsor three teams: the Philadelphia Flyers Junior Hockey Club, Philadelphia Little Flyers, and Philadelphia Junior Flyers. The Philadelphia Revolution also play in the area. The Philadelphia Flyers Junior Hockey Club plays in the USPHL, while the other teams play in the EHL.

Penn Jersey Roller Derby is a Philadelphia-based co-ed roller derby league, founded in 2005. They were one of the founding leagues of the Old School Derby Association. The Philly Rollergirls are another Philadelphia-based women's roller derby league, founded in 2005. The Philly Rollergirls are a member of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association, and have been host to the WFTDA East Coast Derby Extravaganza tournament since 2007. The Diamond State Roller Girls is a roller derby league based in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Professional Inline Hockey Association has had several franchises in Philadelphia and the surrounding area, including the Philadelphia Growl. The Philadelphia Phoenix play ultimate in the American Ultimate Disc League, while the Philadelphia Spinners are a Major League Ultimate franchise. The Philadelphia Justice are a professional dodgeball team that has played in the National Dodgeball League since 2011. The United States Australian Football League is represented by the Philadelphia Hawks, since 1998.

Due to a long history of Irish immigration, the Philadelphia area has hosted Gaelic games for over a hundred years. The Philadelphia Division GAA Board is the governing body of Gaelic games in Philadelphia.

Individual sports

Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania. Franklin Field hosts the annual Penn Relays.

Philadelphia's Franklin Field hosts the annual Penn Relays, the largest early-season track and field meet in the United States. One of the busiest streets in the city, Broad Street, is closed to traffic for the annual Broad Street Run, a 10-mile race contested since 1980. The Philadelphia Marathon, founded in 1954, is an annual marathon held on the third Sunday of November. The city also hosts the Philadelphia Distance Run. Philadelphia has also hosted several one-off events or events without a fixed venue, including UFC 101 and UFC 133. The Wells Fargo Center, Liacouras Center, The Borgata, and other venues in the area host various events. 2300 Arena hosts boxing, mixed martial arts, and professional wrestling events.


Joe Frazier 2010
Joe Frazier, heavyweight boxing champion who lived in Philadelphia

Philadelphia has a rich history in boxing, with the sport having gained popularity in the 1850s. The 2300 Arena is a prominent venue, and was named 2006 Venue of the Year by ESPN2 boxing program Wednesday Night Fights. The Blue Horizon was also a popular venue before it closed in 2010.

Philadelphia has been the home of several prominent boxers. Though born in Beaufort, South Carolina, former world heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist Joe Frazier lived in Philadelphia. Frazier owned and managed a Philadelphia boxing gym before his death in 2011. Philadelphia native Bernard Hopkins is a former world middleweight and light-heavyweight champion. Hopkins is perhaps best known for his incredible longevity, as he has remained active in the light heavyweight division well past his 40th birthday. Other prominent boxers from the Philadelphia area include Danny García, Bryant Jennings, Jesse Hart, Tyrell Biggs, Tommy Loughran, Jimmy Young, Randall "Tex" Cobb, Meldrick Taylor, Tyrone Crawley, Steve Cunningham, Buster Drayton, Joey Giardello, Eric Harding, Matthew Saad Muhammad, Harold Johnson, and David Reid. Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston also lived in Philadelphia during their boxing careers.


Smarty jones
Smarty Jones at the Philadelphia Park Racetrack. Jones won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2004.

Philadelphia does not currently host any professional automobile racing, but Philadelphia is in close proximity to Dover International Speedway and Pocono Raceway. Defunct racing facilities in the area include Trenton Speedway, Langhorne Speedway, Nazareth Speedway, and Flemington Speedway. Midget car racing was popular during the 1930s and '40s; the two major tracks were Yellow Jacket Speedway, which closed in 1950, and National Speedway, which closed during World War II as a result of fuel rationing. Races were sanctioned by the American Automobile Association. In 2005, the Champ Car World Series negotiated with the city to organize a race, but no agreement was reached. Philadelphia has produced multiple winners of the Indianapolis 500, including Pete DePaolo, Kelly Petillo, and Bill Holland. Other notable drivers from Philadelphia include Skip Barber, Al Holbert, Spencer Wishart, and Kirk Shelmerdine. Mario Andretti and other members of the Andretti family live in nearby Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Horse racing became popular in Philadelphia in the mid-1700s, and successful horses continue to be bred in the Philadelphia area. William Penn, the founder of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, reportedly raced his horses down the streets of Philadelphia. Man o' War, owned by Philadelphia-area businessman Samuel D. Riddle was named the horse of the century by The Blood-Horse magazine. Riddle also owned Triple Crown-winning horse War Admiral. In 2004, Smarty Jones, who was bred in the Philadelphia area, won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Other horses with ties to the area include Afleet Alex, Barbaro, Hard Spun, and Lil E. Tee. Parx Casino and Racing hosts numerous horse races, including the Pennsylvania Derby, the Cotillion Handicap, and the Greenwood Cup Stakes. The Atlantic City Race Course also hosts horse racing.

Bill Tilden in color
Tennis player Bill Tilden. Tilden is widely considered to be one of the best tennis players of the first half of the 20th century.

The Manayunk area of the city is home to the annual Philadelphia International Championship bike race. The main feature of the race is the "Manayunk Wall", an inclined street including all of Levering Avenue and a few blocks of Lyceum Avenue. The race may have helped promote a local economic revival, and cycling is a prominent theme of many of the shops and restaurants in the area. The women's Liberty Classic is held at the same time and over the same course.

Other sports

Golf has a long history in Philadelphia; the Golf Association of Philadelphia is the oldest regional golf association in the United States. Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania has hosted several PGA and USGA events, including the 1962 PGA Championship and the 2010 and 2011 AT&T National. Merion Golf Club has hosted five U.S. Opens, most recently in 2013. The Philadelphia PGA Championship and the Philadelphia Open Championship are both hosted in the Philadelphia area. Golfers from the Philadelphia area include Jim Furyk, Dorothy Germain Porter, Jay Sigel, and John McDermott.

Tennis is also a popular sport in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Freedoms have been a member of World TeamTennis since 2001. The Advanta Championships of Philadelphia were held in Philadelphia from 1971–2005, while the Pennsylvania Lawn Tennis Championship was held in Haverford from 1894–1974; it was briefly part of the Grand Prix tennis circuit. Tennis players from the Philadelphia area include Dick Williams, Bill Tilden, Ora Washington, and Vic Seixas. Tilden was the first American to win The Championships, Wimbledon and was one of the most prominent sports figures of the first half of the 20th century.

Rower John B. Kelly Sr., winner of three Olympic Gold Medals

Willie Mosconi, a Philadelphia native, won the World Straight Pool Championship fifteen consecutive times. Mosconi is considered one of the greatest pool players in the history of the game.

The Philadelphia Skating Club and Humane Society is the oldest figure skating club in the United States, and was one of the clubs that founded U.S. Figure Skating.


Philadelphia bid to host the 1920, 1948, 1952 and 1956 Summer Olympics but lost to Antwerp, London, Helsinki, and Melbourne respectively. As part of the 1980 Summer Olympics boycott, Philadelphia hosted the Liberty Bell Classic. Philadelphia has expressed interest in hosting other Olympic Games, including the 2024 Summer Olympics. Many Philadelphians have competed in the Olympics.

High-school and youth sports

Many high school teams play in the Inter-Academic League, the Philadelphia Catholic League, and the Philadelphia Public League. In 2005, the Philadelphia Public League joined the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. In 2014, Mo'ne Davis was named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for her performance in the 2014 Little League World Series as a member of the Taney Dragons.


See also: Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame and Category:Sportspeople from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Dawn Staley at Paradise Jam 2012
Dawn Staley, basketball coach and WNBA All-Star
Paul Arizin 50-62
Paul Arizin, one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History

Numerous notable athletes were born, raised, or attended college in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. Basketball players from Philadelphia and the surrounding area include Dawn Staley, Debbie Black, Geoff Petrie, Kobe Bryant, Earl Monroe, Rasheed Wallace, Richard Hamilton, Kyle Lowry, and Elena Delle Donne. Football players from Philadelphia include Herb Adderley, Emlen Tunnell, John Cappelletti, Leroy Kelly, Marvin Harrison, Joe Klecko, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, Rich Gannon, and Eddie George. Baseball players from Philadelphia include Mike Trout, Goose Goslin, Roy Campanella, Mickey Vernon, Reggie Jackson, Fred Dunlap, Gertrude Dunn, and Mike Piazza. Hockey players from Philadelphia include Hobey Baker and Mike Richter. Soccer players from Philadelphia include Carli Lloyd, Bobby Convey, and Walter Bahr. Athletes from Philadelphia who played for professional Philadelphia teams include Wilt Chamberlain, Paul Arizin, Tom Gola, Guy Rodgers, Del Ennis, Bucko Kilroy, Johnny Callison, Herb Pennock, and Bucky Walters. Notable coaches from Philadelphia include Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, Yankees manager Joe McCarthy, long-time NBA coach Jack Ramsay, Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma, Philadelphia University basketball coach Herb Magee, Mount St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan, La Salle basketball coach Speedy Morris, Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan, and Temple basketball coach John Chaney.

Olympians from the Philadelphia area include gymnast Mohini Bhardwaj, swimmers Maddy Crippen, Brendan Hansen, David Berkoff, Joe Verdeur, Carl Robie, Ellie Daniel, and John Macionis, track and field athletes Carl Lewis, John Taylor, Jean Shiley, Barney Berlinger, Mel Sheppard, Ted Meredith, Horace Ashenfelter, Leroy Burrell, Kim Gallagher, Bill Toomey, Jon Drummond, Alvin Kraenzlein, and Mike Powell, rowers Paul Costello, John B. Kelly Sr., and John B. Kelly Jr., figure skater Tara Lipinski, diver Elizabeth Becker-Pinkston, and sailor Don Cohan.

Other prominent Philadelphia sports figures include Flyers owner Ed Snider, Philadelphia Warriors owner Eddie Gottlieb, Sixers director of statistical information Harvey Pollack, Philadelphia Athletics owner Connie Mack, former NFL commissioner Bert Bell, former Phillies general manager Pat Gillick, former Phillies managers Larry Bowa, Charlie Manuel, and Dallas Green, former Flyers coach Fred Shero, former Sixers coaches Alex Hannum and Billy Cunningham, and former Eagles head coaches Andy Reid, Greasy Neale, and Dick Vermeil. Since 2004, many of the most accomplished Philadelphia athletes and sports figures have been inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.

Images for kids

kids search engine
Sports in Philadelphia Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.