Sports in Buffalo

Buffalo, New York and Western New York are home to two major league sports teams. The Buffalo Sabres (hockey) play in the City of Buffalo. The Buffalo Bills (football) play in the suburb of Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo is also home to several minor sports teams including the Buffalo Bisons (baseball), Buffalo Bandits (indoor lacrosse) and FC Buffalo (soccer). Several Buffalo-area colleges and universities are active in college athletics. The State University of New York at Buffalo play division I FBS football as well as other sports in Buffalo and the suburb of Amherst, New York.

Inside of New Era Field, home of the Buffalo Bills
Inside Sahlen Field, home to the Buffalo Bisons
Division I football played in UB

Sports are a major part of the city's culture. In recent decades Buffalo based teams have become known for crushing, and sometimes controversial, defeats. "Wide Right", "No Goal" and the Music City Miracle have come to define the suffering of Buffalo Sports fans. In February 2012 Forbes listed Buffalo #4 on its list of "Most Miserable Sports Cities."[1]

Buffalo has received franchises in three major sports leagues, starting with the Buffalo Bills who began play in the inaugural 1960 American Football League season and eventually joined the National Football League in 1970 as part of the NFL-AFL merger. That same year, the Buffalo Braves joined the National Basketball Association, and the Buffalo Sabres joined the National Hockey League as expansion franchises. However, the Braves struggled financially and were relocated in 1978 to California and became the Clippers. That caused a perception that Western New York cannot economically support three major sports franchises. The Bills' decision to play one home game a year in nearby Toronto in 2008 in order to expand revenue has bolstered that perception further.

Buffalo last hosted Major League Baseball in 1915 with the Federal League's Buffalo Blues. Currently the highest level of professional baseball in the greater Buffalo region is the Buffalo Bisons, a AAA International League franchise.

Current teams

Sport League Club Founded Venue League championships Championship years
Football NFL Buffalo Bills 1960 New Era Field 2* 1964,1965*
Hockey NHL Buffalo Sabres 1970 KeyBank Center 0
Baseball IL Buffalo Bisons 1979† Sahlen Field 3 1997, 1998, 2004
Lacrosse NLL Buffalo Bandits 1992 KeyBank Center 4 1992, 1993, 1996, 2008
Soccer NPSL FC Buffalo 2009 All-High Stadium 0
Women's hockey NWHL Buffalo Beauts 2015 Northtown Center 1 2017

* Championships listed are American Football League championships, not NFL championships. † Date refers to current incarnation; Buffalo Bisons previously operated from the 1870s until 1970 and the current Bisons count this team as part of their history.

Former teams

Collegiate Athletics

School Team League Division Primary Conference Other Conference(s)
University at Buffalo Buffalo Bulls NCAA I (FBS) MAC N/A
Canisius College Canisius Golden Griffins NCAA I MAAC AHA
Daemen College Daemen Wildcats NCAA II ECC N/A
Buffalo State College Buffalo State Bengals NCAA III SUNYAC E8
Erie Community College Erie Community College Kats NJCAA N/A WNYAC N/A

The University at Buffalo, Canisius College, Buffalo State College and Erie Community College all operate collegiate athletics programs.

Notes and references

  1. Van Riper, Tom. "America's Most Miserable Sports Cities". Forbes. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
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