What Sports Teams Came to Atlanta During This Time Period?
Learn about the various sports teams that have come to Atlanta over the years, and how they have helped to shape the city’s identity.
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Major League Baseball
In the sport of baseball, Atlanta, Georgia has been home to two different Major League Baseball (MLB) franchises. The first franchise was the Atlanta Braves, which played in Atlanta from 1966 to 1996. The Braves then moved to Atlanta from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The second MLB franchise in Atlanta is the Atlanta Braves, which began play in the 1997 season.
The Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves are a professional baseball team that play in the National League East Division. They are based in Atlanta, Georgia, and their home stadium is Turner Field. The Braves franchise can trace its roots back to 1871, when it was founded as the Boston Red Stockings. The team was then known as the Milwaukee Brewers from 1953 to 1965, before moving to Atlanta in 1966.
The Braves have won three World Series titles (1914, 1957, 1995), and have also appeared in five other World Series (1948, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1999). They have also won eighteen National League pennants (a record), and have made thirteen trips to the postseason in total. The Braves are one of the most successful teams in baseball history, and are one of only two teams to have won both a World Series title and an NL Pennant while based in Atlanta (the other being the Atlanta Braves).
National Basketball Association
In 1968, the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks became the first professional basketball team in Atlanta. In 1972, the Atlanta Flames began play as part of the National Hockey League. In 1974, the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball started play in Atlanta. These three teams brought professional sports to Atlanta and helped to establish the city as a major sports destination.
The Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks are an American professional basketball team based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Hawks compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Eastern Conference Southeast Division. The team plays its home games at State Farm Arena.
The Atlanta Hawks began life as the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, one of 17 NBA expansion franchises that were awarded in 1946, with Authorization to begin play coming in 1949. In 1951, after a year in Moline, Illinois, the franchise relocated to Milwaukee, where they spent two seasons before moving again, this time to St. Louis for four seasons. Then, in 1955 the franchise was purchased by Ben Hill Griffin Jr., owner of the Florida citrus empire and moved to Atlanta, where they have been ever since.
National Football League
The National Football League began in 1920 with eleven teams. Through the years, the NFL has seen many changes. In 1966, the NFL and the American Football League merged to form one league with two conferences, the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference.
The Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons are a professional American football team based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons compete in the National Football League as a member club of the league’s National Football Conference South division. Atlanta was granted the franchise on June 30, 1965, and announced the hiring of former Los Angeles Rams head coach George Allen as the first head coach on July 8. Under owner Rankin Smith, Jr., the team compiled a 174–122–7 record in its first 25 seasons. The team played its home games at Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium from 1966 to 1991, then moved to Georgia Dome (now Mercedez-Benz Stadium) from 1992 until 2016. During this period, they made one Super Bowl appearance, Super Bowl XXVIII in 1994.
After the 2016 season, their new stadium was built adjacent to Georgia Dome out of necessity due to state code that only allowed one domed stadium in Atlanta. The Falcons have appeared in postseason play ten times since arriving in Atlanta; they have won six NFC South divisional championships (2004, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018), qualified for four NFC Championship Games (1998, 2002, 2004, 2016), and appeared in one Super Bowl (XXXIII).
National Hockey League
Atlanta was the site of the NHL Entry Draft in 2010, just one year before the Thrashers’ relocation to Winnipeg. ( Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club) The 2010 NHL Entry Draft was held on June 25–26, 2010, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (NHL 2010 Draft Results ) This was the first time Los Angeles had hosted the NHL Entry Draft.
The Atlanta Flames
The Atlanta Flames were a professional ice hockey team based in Atlanta, Georgia, from 1972 to 1980. The team played their home games at the Omni Coliseum and were members of the West Division of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Flames were created when NHL owner Clarence Campbell announced that the league would expand to fourteen teams.
In their eight seasons in Atlanta, the Flames qualified for the playoffs five times. However, they never made it past the first round and failed to win a single playoff game. The closest they came was in their final season when they lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders in overtime of the seventh and deciding game. Despite their lack of success on the ice, the Flames were relatively successful at the box office. In 1979–80, they became only the second NHL team (after the Quebec Nordiques) to average more than 16,000 fans per game.
The team’s lack of on-ice success, combined with financial struggles, led to rumors that the Flames would relocate. These culminated in May 1980 when Ted Turner—the team’s owner since January 1976— announced that he had sold the Flames to Canadian businessmen Nelson Skalbania and Marvin Schwartz. Turner retained a minority ownership stake in the new Calgary-based organization and oversaw its relocation to Calgary (then known as Alberta) later that summer.
In conclusion, during the time period from 1990 to 2010, a total of four major sports teams came to Atlanta. These teams were the Atlanta Braves baseball team, the Atlanta Falcons football team, the Atlanta Hawks basketball team, and the Atlanta Thrashers hockey team.