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In sports, a drought refers to instances in which an individual or team has gone through a lengthy period of time without accomplishing some goal. For a team, this usually refers to an extended period of time without making the playoffs or winning a championship. Droughts occur for a variety of reasons, from chronic mismanagement to bad luck. Some droughts are also popularly attributed to a curse.


North AmericaEdit

Droughts by sportEdit

  • With regard to other major domestic trophies, the longest active Supporters Shield drought is shared by two teams, the Colorado Rapids and the New England Revolution. Neither has won a Supporters Shield despite competing in every MLS season since 1996. Among MLS teams, the longest U.S. Open Cup drought is 20 years, shared by three teams, the Colorado Rapids, New York Red Bulls, and San Jose Earthquakes. Eight other current United States-based teams have not won the Open Cup (Atlanta United FC, Los Angeles FC, Minnesota United FC, New York City FC, Orlando City SC, the Philadelphia Union, the Portland Timbers, and Real Salt Lake), but were added as expansion teams after 1996. The three Canada-based MLS teams, the Montreal Impact, Toronto FC, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC are ineligible as they compete in the Voyageurs Cup.

Cities with significant droughtsEdit

Several North American cities are considered to have championship droughts among their “Big Four” pro sports teams:

  • 56 years – San Diego since 1963 AFL title (pre-Super Bowl, lost 1995 Super Bowl, Chargers relocated beginning 2017), no World Series title (lost 1984 and 1998 World Series), no NBA title (Clippers relocated to Los Angeles in 1984)
  • 54 years – Buffalo since 1965 AFL title (pre-Super Bowl, lost 1991 through 1994 Super Bowls), no Stanley Cup title since joining NHL in 1970–71 (lost 1975 and 1999 Stanley Cup final), no NBA title (Braves relocated to San Diego in 1978).
  • 49 years – Vancouver no Stanley Cups since joining NHL in 1970, lost 1982, 1994, and 2011 Stanley Cup finals (The CFL’s BC Lions have won six Grey Cups, last in 2011), no NBA title (Grizzlies relocated to Memphis in 2001).
  • 48 years – Milwaukee since 1971 NBA title (lost 1982 World Series and 1974 NBA Finals; the city’s Marquette University won 1977 NCAA basketball championship)
  • 42 years – Portland, Oregon since 1977 NBA title (lost 1990 and 1992 NBA Finals; MLS’ Timbers won the 2015 MLS Cup)
  • 40 years – Winnipeg no Stanley Cup title since joining NHL in 1979, neither the old nor the current Jets franchise has made the Stanley Cup finals (The CFL’s Blue Bombers have won ten Grey Cups, last in 1990)
  • 40 years – Salt Lake City has not won a major championship since the Jazz relocated from New Orleans in 1979, lost 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals (MLS’ Real Salt Lake won the 2009 MLS Cup, the city’s University of Utah also won the NCAA Basketball championship in 1944)
  • 34 years – Sacramento waiting for first since 1985, no NBA championship appearances. The Sacramento Monarchs won the 2005 WNBA finals and lost the 2006 WNBA finals but folded after the 2009 season.
  • 31 years – Charlotte waiting for first since 1988. (Super Bowl appearances in 2004 and 2016; the Hornets have never made the NBA Finals)
  • 30 years – Calgary since 1989 Stanley Cup, lost 2004 Stanley Cup Finals. (The CFL's Stampeders have won five Grey Cups since then, last in 2018)
  • 30 years – Orlando waiting for first since 1989 (lost 1995 and 2009 NBA Finals)
  • 29 years – Edmonton since 1990 Stanley Cup, lost 2006 Stanley Cup Finals. (The CFL’s Eskimos have won four Grey Cups since then, last in 2015)
  • 29 years – Cincinnati since 1990 World Series title, neither the Reds nor the Bengals have returned to the World Series or the Super Bowl respectively.
  • 28 years – San Jose No Stanley Cup title since joining NHL in 1991. (2016 Stanley Cup Finals appearance; MLS’ Earthquakes won the MLS Cup in 2001 and 2003)
  • 28 years – Minneapolis–St. Paul since 1991 World Series title (1969 NFL title (non-Super Bowl), 1954 NBA title, however franchise relocated; no Stanley Cup titles). This is the longest current championship drought for any metro area with a team in each of the “Big Four” leagues. The Twins, Vikings, Timberwolves, and Wild have yet to make a championship appearance since 1991. (The WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx won championships in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017.)
  • 27 years – Ottawa No Stanley Cup title since rejoining NHL in 1992. (2007 Stanley Cup Finals Appearance) (The CFL's Redblacks won the Grey Cup in 2016.)
  • 26 years – Montreal since 1993 Stanley Cup, the Canadiens have not returned to the Stanley Cup final since then (The CFL's Alouettes have won three Grey Cups since then, last in 2010)
  • 24 years – Jacksonville no Super Bowls since Jaguars joined NFL in 1995
  • 24 years – Atlanta since 1995 World Series title (no Super Bowl, NBA, or Stanley Cup titles; Thrashers relocated in 2011), lost 1996 and 1999 World Series and 1999 and 2017 Super Bowls (MLS’ Atlanta United won the 2018 MLS Cup)
  • 21 years – Nashville has not won a major championship since Titans relocated, lost 2000 Super Bowl and 2017 Stanley Cup
  • 19 years – Columbus, Ohio has not won a major championship since Blue Jackets joined NHL in 2000 and have yet to make a Stanley Cup Finals appearance (MLS’ Crew won the 2008 MLS Cup, the city's Ohio State University also won eight NCAA football championships, most recently in 2014, and 1960 basketball championship)
  • 18 years – Memphis has not won a major championship since Grizzlies relocated from Vancouver in 2001 and has yet to make an NBA Finals appearance
  • 18 years – Phoenix since 2001 World Series, lost 2009 Super Bowl, no NBA Finals appearances since 1993, no Stanley Cup Finals appearance
  • 15 years – Tampa Bay since 2004 Stanley Cup, lost 2008 World Series and 2015 Stanley Cup
  • 13 years – Raleigh since 2006 Stanley Cup (Duke and North Carolina, both located in the region, have each won two NCAA basketball championships during this span), the Hurricanes have not returned to the Stanley Cup Final since then
  • 12 years – Indianapolis since 2007 Super Bowl, lost 2010 Super Bowl; Pacers have won no NBA titles and made a solitary NBA Finals appearance in 2000
  • 12 years – Anaheim since 2007 Stanley Cup
  • 11 years – Detroit since 2008 Stanley Cup, lost 2009 Stanley Cup and 2012 World Series, no Super Bowl championships, no NBA title since 2004
  • 10 years – Oklahoma City since Thunder relocated from Seattle in 2009, lost 2012 NBA Finals
  • All year counts are current as of 2019.

Those who believe in the Buffalo Curse[1] cite as examples the four consecutive Super Bowl losses by the Buffalo Bills from 1990 to 1993, as well as the failure of the Buffalo Sabres to ever win the Stanley Cup. Wide Right, No Goal, and The Music City Miracle also contribute to the belief in the Buffalo Curse. In 2006, when the Sabres lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, four of their top six defensemen were lost to injury along with Tim Connolly, the leading scorer of the playoffs at the time of his injury. Even though the Sabres made it back to the conference finals the next year, they lost again, this time to the division rival Ottawa Senators. It is notable that the Buffalo Bills won the AFL championship in 1964 and 1965. The alleged “curse”, however, has not extended to the city’s fringe or minor league teams—the Buffalo Bandits of the NLL have won 4 league championships (1992, 1993, 1996, 2008) and six division Championships (1992, 1993, 1994, 2004, 2006, 2008), and the Western New York Flash of the National Women's Soccer League, based in Buffalo but playing home games in Rochester, won the 2016 NWSL Championship. The Flash also won league titles in the two competitions that directly preceded the NWSL—Women's Professional Soccer in 2011 and WPSL Elite in 2012. The Flash also won the NWSL Shield, awarded to the team with the best regular-season record, in that league's inaugural 2013 season, but lost the championship final to Portland Thorns FC. The Buffalo Beauts of the National Women's Hockey League won their first Isobel Cup in the 2016–17 season.[2]

The San Diego Padres have never won a World Series, believed[by whom?] to stem from the San Diego Sports Curse. San Diego’s former NFL team, the Chargers and its former NBA teams, the Rockets and Clippers, never won a Super Bowl or an NBA championship when located within the city. The Padres are tied with the Texas Rangers for the most World Series appearances (two) of the seven teams without a World Series championship. The Chargers won the 1963 AFL championship and only appeared in one Super Bowl (Super Bowl XXIX, which they lost to the San Francisco 49ers, 49–26).

Some cities with at least three teams have shorter yet notable droughts. Minneapolis–Saint Paul has not reached a championship series or Super Bowl since the Twins won the 1991 World Series. This drought, like the one in Buffalo, has not extended to the market’s fringe or minor league teams—two such teams, the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx and the Minnesota Stars of the current North American Soccer League, won league championships in 2011, and the Lynx claimed league titles in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

Since the founding of Major League Soccer in 1996, both Columbus, Ohio and Washington, D.C. have won all three major U.S. soccer trophies (MLS Supporters’ Shield, MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup) during their “Big Four” droughts. Toronto won all three major Canadian soccer trophies (MLS Supporters’ Shield, MLS Cup and Voyageurs Cup) in the 2017 MLS season, during its "Big Four" drought. San Jose has won the MLS Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup during its current "Big Four" drought while Atlanta, Portland and Salt Lake City have won the MLS Cup (but no MLS Supporters’ Shields or U.S. Open Cups) during their "Big Four" droughts.

All of the Canadian cities listed above have won multiple Grey Cups during their "Big Four" droughts listed above.

Notable former droughts:

  • Prior to winning the 2016 NBA Finals, Cleveland had gone 52 years without a championship in any major professional sport. The drought began after the Cleveland Browns won the 1964 NFL Championship (pre-Super Bowl). The Indians lost two World Series finals, the Browns did not make it to the Super Bowl, and the Cavaliers lost 2 NBA finals during the drought.
  • New Orleans had gone 43 years without winning a championship in any major professional sport until the New Orleans Saints brought the city its first professional sports title via the 2010 Super Bowl. The drought began in 1967, the inaugural year of the New Orleans Saints (the oldest professional sports team still playing in New Orleans). During the drought, neither the Saints nor the Hornets (now the Pelicans) made the Super Bowl or the NBA finals respectively.
  • Seattle had gone 35 years without winning a championship in any major professional sport from the 1979 NBA Finals to the 2014 Super Bowl. During the drought, the Mariners never made the World Series, the Seahawks lost the 2006 Super Bowl, and the then SuperSonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder) lost the 1996 NBA Finals. Including only Seattle’s current major league sports teams, the Mariners and the Seahawks, increases the former drought's length to 38 years (because the Seahawks were founded in 1976, the earlier of the two teams’ inceptions).
  • Phoenix had gone 33 years without winning a championship in any major professional sport until the Diamondbacks won the 2001 World Series. The drought began in 1968 with the inception of the Phoenix Suns (the oldest professional sports team still playing in Phoenix). During the drought, the Diamondbacks did not make the World Series (albeit only beginning play in 1997), the Cardinals did not make the Super Bowl, the Suns lost two NBA Finals, and the Coyotes did not make the Stanley Cup Final (albeit only beginning play in 1996). The Arizona Rattlers did win the Arena Football League twice during this dry spell, in 1994 and 1997. Since the World Series title, however, Phoenix has experienced a 16-year ongoing drought, leaving that World Series title its only major sports championship.
  • Prior to the Washington Capitals winning the 2018 Stanley Cup Final, Washington, D.C. had gone 26 years without a championship in any of the “Big Four” sports. The drought began after the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI in 1992. During the drought, the Capitals themselves were the only team from Washington, D.C. that had made it to the championship round, losing the 1998 Stanley Cup Final before winning the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.
  • Toronto went 25 years without a Big Four title or even an appearance in the championship round from the 1993 World Series to the 2019 NBA Finals. During that span, no Canadian-based team had won a championship in the four major professional sports.
  • Prior to the Phillies winning the 2008 World Series, Philadelphia had gone 25 years without a championship. The drought began after the 76ers won the 1983 NBA Finals. The Flyers lost the 1987 Stanley Cup Finals, the Phillies lost the 1993 World Series, the Flyers again lost the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals, the 76ers lost the 2001 NBA Finals, and the Eagles lost Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005. The drought was explained by locals as the Curse of Billy Penn, in reference to the statue of William Penn atop Philadelphia City Hall and a supposed gentlemen's agreement to build nothing higher than the statute. The "curse" was lifted when a small statute was placed atop the Comcast Center, then the tallest building in Philadelphia. The current tallest building in Philadelphia, the Comcast Technology Center also has a small statute of William Penn affixed to the highest structural element.[3][4]
  • Prior to winning the 2017 World Series, Houston had gone 22 years without a championship in any major professional sport. The drought began after the Houston Rockets won the 1995 NBA Finals. The Astros lost the 2005 World Series, the Rockets did not make it to the NBA Finals, and the Texans did not make it to the Super Bowl during the drought.

Outside North AmericaEdit

Association footballEdit

  • FC Red Bull Salzburg participated in 1994–95 UEFA Champions League under the name SV Casino Salzburg, yet after Red Bull takeover, the club were repeatedly knocked out during the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions League, starting from 2006–07 season including eleven failed attempts. However, the club only managed to qualify directly to the 2019–20 UEFA Champions League, since the 2018–19 UEFA Champions League winner qualified for the qualifying rounds via their domestic league.[6]
  • While 1.FC Nurnberg is one of the most successful teams in German footballing history, their last league league title came in the 1967-1968 Bundesliga season.[17]
  • Hertha BSC won the German Championship, the equivalent of the Bundesliga in 1930 and 1931, but have not won the league since. As of 2018, it has been 87 years since Hertha has won the league.[18]
  • Schalke 04 have not won the German Championship since 1958.
  • Bayer 04 Leverkusen were founded in 1904, although coming second in five occasions, they have not won the German Championship.
  • Real Betis won their only league championship in 1935. The other top-team of Seville, Sevilla FC, won their only La Liga championship in 1946. [26]
  • Real Madrid won six of the 11 first European Cups ever disputed, and then entered in a 32-year period without winning a single European top championship. This was broken in 1998, when Los Blancos won their seventh European top championship. This was followed by another two Champions League titles in the following four seasons.
  • Arenas de Getxo is a Basque team which currently plays in the Spanish Tercera División, the fourth level in Spanish football system. The team competed in the first seven La Liga seasons starting in 1929. Previously Arenas had won the Spanish Cup in 1919, so the drought is now 100 years.

Australian Rules footballEdit

In the VFL/AFL (1897–present), the longest premiership drought was that of South Melbourne/Sydney, who won their third premiership in 1933, but did not win another premiership until 2005, 72 years later.

The second-longest drought in the league was that of St Kilda (67 years), who won their first (and only) premiership in 1966; St Kilda did not compete in 1916 or 1917 due to World War I.

Melbourne currently hold the longest active drought, having not won a premiership since 1964.

Longest VFL/AFL premiership droughts (25 years or more)
Years Team Previous VFL/AFL Premiership Next VFL/AFL Premiership Grand Finals during drought
72 South Melbourne/Sydney 1933 2005 1934, 1935, 1936, 1945, 1996
671 St Kilda Never 1966 1913, 1965
62 Footscray/Western Bulldogs 1954 2016 1961
55 Melbourne 1964 Drought active 1988, 2000
53 St Kilda 1966 Drought active 1971, 1997, 2009, 2010, 2010 replay
52 Fitzroy 1944 Never 2
50 North Melbourne Never 1975 1950, 1974
44 Geelong 1963 2007 1967, 1989, 1992, 1994, 1995
37 Richmond 1980 2017 1982
36 Hawthorn Never 1961
32 Collingwood 1958 1990 1960, 1964, 1966, 1970, 1977, 1977 replay, 1979, 1980, 1981 3
29 Footscray Never 1954
274 Geelong Never 1925 5

1 St Kilda did not compete in 1916 or 1917 due to World War I.
2 Fitzroy merged with the Brisbane Bears in 1996, having never appeared in another Grand Final after their 1944 premiership, to become the Brisbane Lions. The AFL deem the merged Lions as a continuation of the Brisbane Bears and not of Fitzroy.
3 This is commonly known as the "Colliwobbles".
4 Geelong did not compete in 1916 due to World War I.
5 Geelong finished runners-up in 1897, but no Grand Final was required under the round-robin finals system in place that year.


South Korea

Rugby leagueEdit

The Parramatta Eels hold the longest active drought in the NRL totalling thirty-two years, having not won a premiership since 1986. For reference, Parramatta's first premiership came in its 35th season in 1981. The next longest active drought is twenty-four years held by the Canberra Raiders who have not won a premiership (nor appeared in a Grand Final) since 1994.

The North Sydney Bears held the longest premiership drought in the NSWRL/NRL with a total of seventy-seven years. This lasted between their second premiership in 1922 up until the end of 1999 when they began a short-lived merger with Manly-Warringah known as the Northern Eagles. North Sydney also had the longest drought waiting for the next grand final appearance which stood at fifty six years. Their last grand final appearance was against Newtown in 1943[27]. This merger was dissolved after three seasons resulting in North Sydney being expelled from the league. As of 2018 they are still applying for re-entry.

The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks won their first premiership in 2016 after 50 seasons of NSWRL/ARL/Super League/NRL competition – the longest wait for a first title that any club has endured. Prior to this, the Sharks had played in four Grand Finals (including a replay in 1978) for one draw and three losses.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs won 20 premierships in the NSWRL from the league's inception in 1908 until 1971, but had to wait to win their 21st title (their 1st in the NRL era) until 2014, a drought lasting 41 years (the Rabbitohs were inactive in 2000-01).

The Gold Coast itself as a city has suffered a premiership drought of sorts. The original Gold Coast side was founded in 1988 as The Gold Coast-Tweed Giants and then were rebranded three times. First as The Gold Coast Seagulls, then Gold Coast Gladiators and then The Gold Coast Chargers. In 2006, The Gold Coast Titans entered the competition. Since 1988, no Gold Coast team has made a grand final or won a premiership. The best season for any of the franchises was in 2010, when Gold Coast Titans made the preliminary final[28] .

Hull F.C. lost seven consecutive Challenge Cup Final appearances at Wembley Stadium between 1959 and 2008.[29] The team won two Challenge Cups during that time, but the final victories were at Elland Road (1982 replay) and the Millennium Stadium (2005, while Wembley was being rebuilt).[29]

Warrington Wolves were founded in 1876 and have won three premierships in their history with the last being in 1955. Out of all the current teams in The English Super League they have waited longer than any other team to win their next premiership. As of 2018, it has been 63 years since Warrington had won the premiership.[30][31]

The Castleford Tigers currently hold the record for the longest time to win a premiership in either The Super League or The NRL. Founded in 1926, Castleford have only played in three grand finals (1938,1969 & 2017) and for the first time in their 92-year history they finished first in The 2017 Super League season to claim their first ever league leaders shield. Castleford's drought of 92 years to wait for a first title eclipses The Cronulla Sutherland Sharks record in The NRL of 49 years who had the longest drought of any professional rugby league team in Australia to wait for a first title.[32][33][34]

Rugby unionEdit

In France, ASM Clermont Auvergne had a championship history arguably as tortured as the most "cursed" teams in North America or Australia. From their formation in 1911 through 2009, they had never won a national title despite making the championship final 10 times, and had come within a converted try in six of those games.

The drought culminated in three consecutive title-game losses in 2007 through 2009, and Les Jaunards finally broke through in 2010 to win their first title after 91 years of competition (they did not play in 1915–1919 or 1940–1942 due to World War I and World War II).


Queensland won the Sheffield Shield in 1994/95, its 63rd season of competition, having finished second on 11 occasions in that time. In 46 of those years, only five teams competed for the Shield, as Tasmania were admitted in 1977/78 (winning the Shield in 2007/08, after 30 years).

Somerset have not yet won the English County Championship since they were admitted to the competition in 1891.[35][36] Gloucestershire have not won the Championship since it was constituted in 1890, but won three unofficial "Champion County" titles in the 1870s, the last in 1874.

Northamptonshire have not yet won the Championship since being admitted to the competition in 1905, after the club was granted first class status.

The England cricket team did not win a 50-over ICC World Cup until 2019, 44 years after the tournament was first contested in 1975, even though England founded the game of cricket.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The Buffalo Curse
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Ironworkers plant Billy Penn atop new Comcast tower to help Eagles avoid curse - Philly". Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  4. ^ "Yes, There's a Billy Penn Statue on Philly's New Skyscraper". NBC 10 Philadelphia. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  5. ^ Wilson, Jonathan (26 June 2016). "Argentina on verge of first trophy for 23 years – but beware revitalized Chile". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Red Bull Salzburg erstmals in Champions League!". Kronen Zeitung (in German). 12 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Dalglish believes 'strongest ever' England can end 40 years of hurt". The Scotsman. 24 May 2006.
  8. ^ "Fairs Cup winners to be re-united". Daily Mail. 6 October 2008.
  9. ^ Stone, Simon (29 January 2010). "Darren Fletcher the destroyer revels in prolonging City drought". The Scotsman. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
  10. ^ "Liverpool can end title drought, says Rush". The Independent. 28 April 2009.
  11. ^ "Sir Alex Ferguson". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 30 March 2014. In the newly founded 'Premier League', Ferguson found more success; the arrival of enigmatic Frenchman Eric Cantona proved to be the final piece of the jigsaw and United finally won the league title in 1992–93, ending a 26-year drought.
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  19. ^
  20. ^ "Sevilla seals Europa League title with shootout win over Benfica". CBC. Associated Press. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  21. ^ Forsyth, Roddy (31 May 2003). "Scottish Cup Final: Dundee defy sinking feeling". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  22. ^ "Edinburgh's real disgrace? Hibs have not won the cup since Buffalo Bill was in town". Scotland On Sunday. Johnston Publishing. 20 May 2001.
  23. ^ Wilson, Richard (21 May 2016). "Rangers 2–3 Hibernian". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  24. ^ Halliday, Stephen (14 November 2013). "St Johnstone: Stevie May, Tommy Wright win awards". Scotsman. Johnston Publishing. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  25. ^ Wilson, Richard (17 May 2014). "St Johnstone 2–0 Dundee Utd". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ a b Gibbons, Trevor (23 August 2013). "Rugby League: Will Hull FC's Wembley hoodoo strike again?". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
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  35. ^ Pitt-Brooke, Jack (9 April 2013). "Somerset: Always the bridesmaids of the County Championship". The Independent. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  36. ^ Berry, Scyld (23 August 2008). "Somerset scent a piece of County Championship history". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 August 2013.