Professional Sports Teams in Pennsylvania – February 2024

Arsenii Anderson
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Pennsylvania is a state big on sports. With two baseball teams entering the major leagues, it’s apparent that the Keystone State is fond of baseball. Despite the sport’s popularity, the state boasts various other teams representing multiple sports.

And when there’s success, there’s always competition. The most heated rivalries are between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers, both a part of the National Hockey League. For those who aim to make informed decisions when betting, it’s crucial to research the teams featured on legal sports betting websites, which often also serve as Pennsylvania online casino websites.

Here are short overviews of Pennsylvania sports teams and a look into the team’s performances.

PA Professional Sports Teams

Pennsylvania is home to various professional sports teams across major leagues and beyond. From football to hockey, the Keystone State proudly supports clubs competing at the highest levels. We’ve compiled a breakdown of all the professional sports teams in Pennsylvania, organized by their respective sport.

🏈 Pennsylvania Football Teams

Pennsylvania boasts a strong legacy of football excellence at the professional level. Representing the NFL’s NFC and AFC, respectively, are the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers, two of the most prominent Pennsylvania professional sports teams in the league.

🏈 Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles Logo
Year Established 1933
League National Football Conference (NFC)
City Philadelphia
Venue Lincoln Financial Field
Notable Achievements Won Super Bowl (2017)
Website https://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/

Ever since the Eagles started in 1933, the team had resided in Philadelphia, which is home to Rivers Casino Philly. The team started after a syndicate bought the former Frankford Yellowjackets franchise. What’s unique in the Eagles’ history is the swap between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in 1941. The two Pennsylvania football teams traded home cities when Alexis Thompson became the Eagles owner.

Pittsburgh and Philadelphia franchises combined for one season in 1943 due to World War II, which caused a human resources shortage. The team was born as the Steagles and the Phil-Phitt. Winning the 2018 Super Bowl championship is rightfully thought to be the teams’s greatest achievement so far.

🏈 Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers logo
Year Established 1933
League American Football Conference (AFC) North Division
City Pittsburgh
Venue Acrisure Stadium
Notable Achievements Won six Super Bowl Championships (1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 2005, 2008)
Website https://www.steelers.com/

The Pittsburgh Steelers is the seventh-oldest franchise among the Pennsylvania NFL teams. Before using the Pittsburgh Steelers name, the team started as the Pirates from 1933 until 1940. They won no championship until 1972 when they brought home the AFC Central Division title.

Although the Steelers seem to progress slowly, the team managed to become the third franchise ever to win five Super Bowls. Their win against the Seattle Seahawks at the Super Bowl XL marked their fifth of the six Super Bowl wins.

⚾ Pennsylvania Baseball Teams

Pennsylvania’s love of baseball is reflected in its professional Pennsylvania sports team at every level of play. Representing the state and National League are the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates, proudly standing as Pennsylvania baseball teams.

⚾ Altoona Curve

Altoona Curve logo
Year Established 1998
League Minor League Baseball
City Altoona
Venue Peoples Natural Gas Field
Notable Achievements Won Eastern League Championship (2010, 2017)
Website https://www.milb.com/altoona

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Arizona Diamondback addition to Major League Baseball in 1998 led to an expansion of Pennsylvania Minor League Baseball teams. Upon creating the two new MLB franchises, a chance for Altoona to be one of the Pennsylvania pro sports teams came. However, the Altoona team will be affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates and not the new MLB expansion teams.

The name ‘Curve’ referred to the baseball term, but it also refers to Altoona’s renowned Horseshoe Curve. The Altoona Curve began its career as one of the PA baseball teams in the Western Division of the Eastern League in 1999.

⚾ Erie SeaWolves

Erie SeaWolves logo
Year Established 1995
League Minor League Baseball
City Erie
Venue UPMC Park
Notable Achievements Won Eastern League Championship (2023)
Website https://www.milb.com/erie

Started as a Short-Season A team for the New York-Penn League, the SeaWolves moved to the AA Eastern League after four years of their careers. The franchise joined as one of the professional baseball teams in Pennsylvania in the 1995 season in affiliation with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The reason behind the team name refers to the synonym of the word ‘Pirate,’ which is a sea wolf. The team was close to Lake Erie, making the name made even more sense. You can also find some famous Erie land-based casinos in the area.

The SeaWolves had finished second and first in the division in 2001, 2004, and 2007. Moreover, they actually won their first Eastern League Championship on September 26, 2023.

⚾ Harrisburg Senators

Harrisburg Senators logo
Year Established 1987
League Minor League Baseball
City Harrisburg
Venue FNB Field
Notable Achievements Won Eastern League Championship (1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999)
Website https://www.milb.com/harrisburg

The Harrisburg Senators joined the Eastern League in 1987. Still, they started as the Pittsburgh Pirates farm club. They were in association with the Montreal Expos from 1991 until 2004. The run with Montreal Expos was a successful one, and the team maintained their affiliation when the Montreal Expos relocated in 2005 to Washington, DC.

Harrisburg Senators’ home stadium had changed name multiple times. It started as the Island Park in 1900 until 1952 and then closed down. It reopened in 1987 as the Riverside Stadium until 2004, the Commerce Bank Park until 2009, and the Metro Bank Park until 2015.

⚾ Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Lehigh Valley IronPigs logo
Year Established 2008
League International League
City Allentown
Venue Coca-Cola Park
Notable Achievements Won North Division title (2018)
Website https://www.milb.com/lehigh-valley

As an affiliate of the Montreal Expos, the Ottawa Lynx joined the International League in 1993. The team won the International League Championship in 1995, but that was the last significant mark the Lynx had made in history. The two parties’ affiliation ended after the 2002 season.

Due to the lack of connection with a Canadian MLB parent club, the city seemed to lose interest in professional baseball. The Lynx changed ownership in 2006 and spent the 2007 season affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies. The Lynx was relocated to Allentown, Pennsylvania, after the 2007 season, becoming the IronPigs in 2008.

⚾ Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies Logo
Year Established 1883
League National League East Division
City Philadelphia
Venue Citizens Bank Park
Notable Achievements
  • Won The Worlds Series Championship (2008)
  • Won NL Pennants (2008, 2009, 2022)
  • Won East Division titles (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
Website https://www.mlb.com/phillies

As one of the oldest Major League Baseball PA sports teams, the Philadelphia Phillies has been a part of the National League since its establishment in 1883. However, the Philadelphia Phillies’ road to stardom was a bumpy one.

It was particularly hard for the Phillies in the first decade of the 20th century. The team had to part with their three most prominent players. They rebounded only after they signed Grover Cleveland Alexander, who became one of the greatest pitchers in the history of baseball.

⚾ Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates Logo
Year Established 1881
League National League Central Division
City Pittsburgh
Venue PNC Park
Notable Achievements Won World Series Championship (1909, 1925, 1960, 1971, 1979)
Website https://www.mlb.com/pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates started as a part of the American Association in 1881 using the name Pittsburgh Allegheny. The team entered the National League in 1887 and then became a member of the National League East from 1969 to 1993.

The Pirates struggled to bring home titles in the 1880s and 1890s. Yet, the team remained among the best sports teams in Pennsylvania in baseball not long after. They won three National League titles from 1901 to 1903. They also won their first World Series in 1909.

⚾ Reading Fightin Phils

Reading Phils logo
Year Established 2012
League Minor League Baseball
City Reading
Venue FirstEnergy Stadium
Website https://www.milb.com/reading

The Reading Fightin Phils received the team name in 2012, but their history extends back to 1897. Before becoming the Reading Fightin Phils, the team was called the Reading Phillies. They were the longest team affiliate among all 118 Minor League teams, as they were first affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1967.

The Reading Phillies have also made a name for themselves by winning countless titles. The Philadelphia Phillies then bought the Reading Phillies in 2008.

⚾ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RaildRiders

SWB RailRiders logo
Year Established 2013
League International League
City Moosic
Venue PNC Field
Notable Achievements Won the Governor’s Cup (2016)
Website https://www.milb.com/scranton-wb

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders received their nickname when they returned from the 2012 season. The stadium was mid-renovation, so the entire season was played on the road. The Yankees wanted the team to play the season in the Staten Island farm team’s ballpark. However, the New York Mets disapproved of the idea.

The team–still called the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees played the campaign as the Empire State Yankees. As they returned, they decided to take the name that can tribute Scranton. The name Railroad came from how Scranton was a major railroad hub.

🏀 Pennsylvania Basketball Teams

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is home to several basketball franchises and one professional NBA team. The most well-known among them would be the Philadelphia 76ers, who have called the city home since 1963. With a rich history and many NBA titles, the Sixers stand tall as Pennsylvania’s most decorated basketball team. Basketball is also considered by many as one of the easiest sports to bet on, so definitely give this team a try next season.

🏀 Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia 76ers logo
Year Established 1939
League National Basketball Association (NBA)
City Philadelphia
Venue Wells Fargo Center
Notable Achievements Won the National Basketball Championship (1955, 1967, 1983)
Website https://www.nba.com/sixers/

The Sixers’ story began in 1939. The team was founded in Syracuse, New York, as the Syracuse Nationals or the Nats. The Nats were originally an independent team without affiliation to professional basketball leagues. It wasn’t until 1946 that the team joined the National Basketball League (NBL). The NBL then merged with the Basketball Association of America in 1949, becoming what we know as the NBA now.

In 1963, the Syracuse Nationals relocated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and became the Philadelphia 76ers. This move marked a new chapter in the team’s history, and they quickly became a prominent franchise in the NBA. Over the years, the 76ers have boasted some of the greatest basketball talents, including legends like Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, and Allen Iverson, and have consistently been contenders in the league, striving for championship glory.

🏒 Pennsylvania Hockey Teams

The Keystone State is home to many professional and minor league hockey clubs, including the Hershey Bears, Johnson Tomahawks, Lehigh Valley Phantoms, affiliates of the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins, as well as the Reading Royals and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins that have enriched the sport’s landscape.

🏒 Erie Otters

Erie Otters logo
Year Established 1939
League Ontario Hockey League
City Erie
Venue Erie Insurance Arena
Notable Achievements
  • Won J. Ross Robertson Cup (2016-17)
  • Won Wayne Gretzky Trophy (2016-17)
  • Won Hamilton Spectator Trophy (2016-17)
  • Won Holody Trophy (2016-17)
Website https://ottershockey.com/

Before settling in Erie, the team started as the Niagara Falls as they were located in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The team moved to Erie Insurance Arena when it was time for the 1996-97 season. They didn’t bring the trophy home for three seasons, then finally won the Midwest Division’s Holody Trophy in 1999. The Erie Otters also became the second US team to win the OHL Championship, right after the Detroit Junior Red Wings (now the Plymouth Whalers).

Since their inception, the Erie Otters have become a staple of the Ontario Hockey League, known for their tenacious play and dedicated fan base. The team has produced several NHL talents, with alumni like Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome having donned the Otters jersey before making it to the professional level. The Otters continue to contribute to the community through various outreach programs, solidifying their place not just in the league, but in the heart of Erie as well.

🏒 Hershey Bears

Hershey Bears Logo
Year Established 1932
League American Hockey League
City Hershey
Venue Giant Center
Notable Achievements Won Regular Season East Division (2006-07, 2008-09, 2009-10)
Website https://www.hersheybears.com/

Amateur hockey matches were popularly played in Hershey between college Pennsylvania teams in early 1931. One of the people who was interested in the hockey matches was the renowned chocolate maker and amusement park operator Milton S. Hershey. He and his business partner, John B. Sollenberger, decided to sponsor a team in 1932-1933, and the chosen team was called the Hershey Bears. The team then changed its name to the Hershey Bears in 1936.

The Hershey Bears quickly established themselves as a cornerstone of the American Hockey League, being the longest continuously operating member club of the league still playing in its original city. Throughout their storied history, the Bears have claimed the Calder Cup, the AHL’s championship trophy, more times than any other team, underlining their tradition of success and excellence. The team’s rich legacy is interwoven with the town of Hershey, Pennsylvania, often referred to as “Chocolatetown, USA,” where the community’s support for the Bears is as enduring as the legacy of its founder.

🏒 Johnson Tomahawks

Johnstown Tomahawks Logo
Year Established 1996
League North American Hockey League
City Johnstown
Venue Cambria County War Memorial Arena
Website https://www.johnstowntomahawks.com/

The franchise began its career as the St. Louis Sting. The team then relocated to Springfield, Missouri, in 2001, becoming the Springfield Spirit. They moved again to Wasilla, Alaska, and then the team played as the Wasilla Spirit only to rebrand as the Alaska Avalanche when appearing in the next year’s season. Again, the team moved to Palmer, Alaska, in the 2010-11 season to play at the Palmer Ice Arena.

When the team moved to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 2012, they took over the ECHL’s Johnstown Chiefs’ place and became the Johnstown Tomahawks.

🏒 Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Lehigh Valley Phantoms Logo
Year Established 1996
League American Hockey League
City Allentown
Venue PPL Center
Notable Achievements Won Regular Season (2003-04)
Website https://www.phantomshockey.com/

The plan to build the PPL Center started in 2011 in the downtown area of Allentown, Pennsylvania. A month after demolition began in 2012, a franchise that started as the Philadelphia Phantoms, the Adirondack Phantoms, would relocate to the PPL Center.

The franchise was meant to play in Allentown in 2013, but litigation over the construction stopped the team from playing until the 2014-15 AHL season. As they officially began to play for Lehigh Valley, the team became the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

🏒 Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers Logo
Year Established 1967
League National Hockey League (Metropolitan Division)
City Philadelphia
Venue Wells Fargo Center
Notable Achievements Won two Stanley Cups (1974, 1975)
Website https://www.nhl.com/flyers

The Flyers was founded in 1967 as an expansion into the NHL. Before the making of the team, a group of bidders in Philadelphia noticed the team didn’t have a name. The group leader, Ed Snider, got a suggestion from his wife to name the team ‘the Flyers.’ Everyone liked the idea, and Snider held a public ‘naming contest.’ The winning drawing was selected among the people who proposed ‘Flyers.’ Thus, the name was official, and the Philadelphia Flyers was born.

The Philadelphia Flyers quickly became known for their aggressive playing style, earning the nickname “Broad Street Bullies” in the 1970s. This gritty approach led them to two Stanley Cup victories in 1974 and 1975, making them the first expansion team in the post-Original Six era to win the coveted trophy. Their iconic orange, black, and white jerseys have become synonymous with the city’s passionate sports culture, fostering a loyal fan base eager to see the Flyers soar to their former glory.

🏒 Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins Logo
Year Established 1967
League National Hockey League (Atlantic Division)
City Pittsburgh
Venue PPG Paints Arena
Notable Achievements Won Stanley Cups (1991, 1992, 2009, 2016, 2017)
Website https://www.nhl.com/penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins were established for the National Hockey League expansion in 1967. The name came from the shape of the Mellon Arena, which resembles an igloo. The team did well in the 1970s but struggled throughout the beginning of the 1980s. The Penguins then drafted Mario Lemieux in 1984, who became one of the most significant players in hockey history. The Penguins became a presence in the playoffs after several other drafts in the late 1980s.

Mario Lemieux’s impact was transformative, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to their first Stanley Cup championships in 1991 and 1992, cementing the team’s legacy in the NHL. The Penguins have since continued their success, with stars like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin propelling the team to additional Stanley Cup victories in 2009, 2016, and 2017.

🏒 Reading Royals

Reading Royals
Year Established 2001
League East Coast Hockey League
City Reading
Venue Sovereign Center
Notable Achievements Won the Kelly Cup (2012-2013)
Website https://www.royalshockey.com/

Before becoming the current Reading Royals, the team started as the Columbus Chill in 1991. David Paitson was the team’s first manager, alongside former NHL player Terry Ruskowski. Both started a team to introduce ice hockey. The plan was successful; Chill’s 83-game sellout streak began in 1992. Chill was inactive throughout the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 seasons, then relocated when they went back to Reading, Pennsylvania, in response to the Jackets’ arrival. As soon as the team went back to being active in Reading, they rebranded into Reading Royals.

Under the new banner of the Reading Royals, the team quickly became a fixture in the ECHL, capturing the hearts of Pennsylvanian hockey fans. The Royals’ dedication on and off the ice culminated in their victorious claim of the Kelly Cup in the 2012-2013 season, showcasing their prowess in the league.

🏒 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins logo
Year Established 1999
League American Hockey League
City Wilkes-Barre
Venue Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
Notable Achievements Won the Kelly Cup (2012-2013)
Website https://www.wbspenguins.com/

The Halifax Citadels moved to Cornwall, Ontario, for the 1993-94 season and stayed operating until 1996. The Cornwall Aces was the AHL affiliate team for the Quebec Nordiques from 1993 to 1995. They remained with the franchise after relocating and rebranded as the Colorado Avalanche for the 1995-96 season.

Like the last season, the franchise remained dormant until 1999. When the IHL transitioned from being a developmental league, the Penguins bought the dormant franchise and became the new AHL affiliate.

⚽ Pennsylvania Soccer Teams

The soccer game has a passionate fan base in Pennsylvania, led by the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, who compete in the second division USL Championship. These two clubs showcase the state’s love of the world’s most popular sport.

⚽ Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union logo
Year Established 2008
League Major League Soccer
City Chester
Venue Subaru Park
Website https://www.philadelphiaunion.com/

The Major League Soccer’s 16th team chose Philadelphia in 2008 to fill the spot as one of the MLS’ founding members. Under the ownership of Keystone Sports and Entertainment, LLC, the team played as MLS Philadelphia 2010 until early 2009. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Union, Delaware County (one of PA’s wealthiest counties), and the City of Chester work hand-in-hand to construct a stadium for the upcoming soccer team after that. In 2009, the team became ‘the Union’ based on a fan vote held for a month in early 2009.

The Union’s dedicated fanbase, known as the “Sons of Ben” after Benjamin Franklin, played a pivotal role in bringing MLS to Philadelphia, demonstrating their passion and commitment to the sport. With a state-of-the-art stadium, Subaru Park, located on the scenic banks of the Delaware River, the Union have cultivated a strong home-field presence in Chester.

⚽ Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

Pittsburgh Riverhounds logo
Year Established 1998
League United Soccer League
City Pittsburgh
Venue Highmark Stadium
Website https://www.riverhounds.com/

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC’s journey started in 1998. The Riverhounds SC’s beginning was also a start for Pittsburgh’s professional soccer scene, which had stayed dormant since the Pittsburgh Spirit left in 1986.

Paul Heasley, a PA native, was inspired to create the team as he wanted to be a role model in sports for his son. Besides, Heasley wanted to create a club representing Pittsburgh and West PA. The Pittsburgh Riverhounds started selecting players in their inaugural season of 1999.

❓ FAQ

How many NFL teams are in Pennsylvania?

If you want to know how many NFL teams are in Pennsylvania, there are two. The first is the Philadelphia Eagles, and the second is the Pittsburgh Steelers, who proudly play as NFL teams in Pennsylvania.

Does Pennsylvania have an NBA team?

Yes, Pennsylvania has the Philadelphia 76ers as their NBA team.

Is there a soccer team in Pennsylvania?

The Philadelphia Union and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC are the two professional soccer teams in Pennsylvania.

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