Wednesday, April 02, 2008

East Coast Bias

There is, quite often, an accusation leveled at the national sports press of an East Coast bias in the corps' reporting.

There is probably some truth to favoritism of the East Coast teams, not because of proximity to the New York offices of Sports Illustrated, or the Connecticut offices of ESPN, but because the teams on top of the pile draw the most attention. East Coast teams in the major team sports, except for basketball, have won or represented more than half of all championship contenders for an extended period of time.

Starting from the low end of the totem pole, over the last 14 seasons in the NHL the East Coast has been represented in 12 of the 28 potential contestants for the Stanley Cup. Teams from states that abut the Atlantic (in the US) have represented six of the sport's winners. Those totals go up when eastern Canada is in the mix.

Since the Bills started their run of four straight appearances in the Super Bowl there have been 34 teams that have vied for the Lombardi trophy. Twenty teams from the states on the Eastern Seaboard have been among the 34 fighting to raise the silver trophy each January or February and nine of the winners have been from the East.

Since 1994 in Major League Baseball 14 of the 26 teams that have made it to the 13 World Series held over that span. Nine of the winners have been from the East.

Out of the 44 pro championships noted above, 24 have had a champion from the East - 54.5 percent of all the winners. Forty-six of the 88 contestants have come from the East accounting for 52.3 percent of the teams represented in the games. The teams have won at a rate of 52.2 percent.

In recent years divisions like the NFC West and the NL West have cycled into down periods, sometimes producing division champions that barely breaking a .500 winning percentage.

A simple rule in sports has always been that winning garners attention. The more you win, the more attention you get. It is why great players on bad teams have difficulties with Hall of Fame recognition.

There are players and teams off the East Coast deserving of attention, but until the winning percentage swings the other way, the focus is going to stay on the old powers like New York and Boston.


Suldog said...

Another consideration is that the east coast franchises have mostly been in existence longer than those west of the Mississippi. A more loyal fan base has been built over many decades. The level of discourse concerning these teams, within the press of their cities, is usually much more passionate. And these things translate into a stronger feeling nationally, too.

Kevin Smith said...

No doubt. And in the cases of the teams that have been existence for longer, they have often moved from the East like the Giants, Athletics,and Dodgers.

the blue state blogger said...

I hate that crap. Have you ever BEEN to LA? The only thing to recommend it is the weather. It's no wonder there's an east coast bias.