Many here also point to the city’s fan base as a factor.
Though Pittsburghers might not be quite as overtly passionate as Philadelphians, they’re much less likely to jump on a struggling team or athlete.
But when looking at Pittsburgh there are some organizational traits that jump out.
The Steelers, for example, prize consistency and loyalty.
Bill Nunn was a black sportswriter in Pittsburgh who persuaded the Steelers to tap into the largely ignored talent pool at the nation’s historically black colleges — a strategy that built the foundation of the teams that would win four Super Bowls between 19.
Meanwhile, Mario Lemieux not only led the Penguins to two Stanley Cups as a player, but as their owner has been largely responsible for keeping them in Pittsburgh and getting them the arena that has helped them capture three more.
After all, Pennsylvania’s second-largest city has just three teams to Philadelphia’s four and far fewer of the resources that typically spell sports success. It’s smaller than all but one Major League Baseball city, all but one NHL city, all but three NFL cities.
In an era when media revenue is vital for any franchise, Pittsburgh’s TV market is small, the 24th largest in the U. Those shortcomings have impacted its sports teams, especially the Penguins and Pirates, financially challenged franchises that on numerous occasions have threatened to leave for Seattle, Kansas City, St. And yet Pittsburgh produces champions the way it once did steel.The Flyers reached a third straight Stanley Cup Finals. After two straight Super Bowl wins, the Steelers were routed in the AFC title game.The Penguins were bankrupt and rumored to be moving.The Pirates won 92 games but few seemed to care as attendance dipped by 250,000. As he stood recently on Pitt’s campus, very near the spot where Bill Mazeroski’s Game 7 home run won a World Series for the 1960 Pirates, retired construction worker Mike Nowak said that at that time he feared the Steelers might be the only team left standing.“Back then mills were closing every week, people were moving south, it was bad,” said Nowak. It didn’t look like there was going to be enough people left here to support all three teams.” The most troubled franchise then was the Penguins, who in 1975 had declared bankruptcy and threatened a move to Seattle.At the end of 1976, when America’s downsized Bicentennial celebration was coming to an end, things were looking up in Philly.