With the Harlem Globetrotters having passed through town early in April, the idea that there isn’t much of note on the Binghamton sports scene was highlighted. Granted, an event like a Globetrotters game is no small matter, even if they’re not quite the famous show they used to be. But on the professional level, the area’s sports scene is somewhat lacking.
This might lead some who are passing through or even moving to Binghamton to wonder what sports-related options there are that are at least within driving distance. The following options serve as a fairly comprehensive answer to that question.
Syracuse University Basketball
Syracuse University has one of the most consistently excellent college basketball programs in the country. The team frequently boasts NBA-level talent, and, competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference, plays annually against the likes of North Carolina, Duke, and other famously terrific programs. The team plays its home games at Syracuse’s Carrier Dome, which has been ranked among the 10 best venues for college basketball, and which is barely more than an hour’s drive north of Binghamton. It also happens to be a massive stadium, which means you can usually find a ticket one way or another.
Buffalo Bills Football
The Buffalo Bills don’t have the best reputation in the NFL, but then some would argue that it doesn’t really matter - it’s still the NFL. Professional football occupies a uniquely special place in the American sports psyche, so to speak, and attending a live game even for a struggling franchise can make for an awesome experience. The drive to New Era Field, where Buffalo plays its home games near the shores of Lake Erie, takes less than three-and-a-half hours, which can be worth it for a day trip, but which also gives you a nice excuse for a weekend away. After all, once you’re there you’re just barely south of Niagara Falls as well!
Philadelphia 76ers Basketball
It’s almost exactly a three-hour drive south to Philadelphia, where the 76ers have become one of the more exciting teams in the NBA. Even now in fact, the latest odds from bookmakers have the 76ers factoring into the current NBA playoff picture, with a reasonable chance to advance to the Finals. Furthermore, this team isn’t just competitive, but fairly young, meaning it should continue to be a playoff factor in years to come. This in turn should make the Wells Fargo Center, where the team plays its home games, a fun place to visit for the foreseeable future.
Hartford Athletic Soccer
Hartford Athletic isn’t quite on the same level as these other teams in terms of prestige or name recognition. However, the four-hour trip to Hartford is worth it for anyone who loves soccer. Hartford Athletic is one of the newest teams in the USL Championship, which is a division below the MLS but still a very competitive league. It’s always exciting to see a brand new team attempting to make a name for itself, and starting this summer the club will occupy the beautifully updated Dillon Stadium, which makes for a nice, casual outdoor sports experience.
Lastly, it should also be mentioned that Cooperstown is within driving distance. This is not a place you go to watch professional sports, but it is home to the Baseball Hall Of Fame - a legendary place that’s attracted everyone from casual baseball fans to President Obama. If you like professional baseball at all, or ever did growing up, Cooperstown is worth the hour-and-a-half drive. There’s a certain magic to it, even if it’s more like visiting a sports museum than attending an actual sporting event.
Hopefully these options, covering various sports in various directions, give you some idea of how you can enjoy sports from Binghamton even if the city itself doesn’t have much of a reputation for them.