In sports (especially in North America), a three-peat is winning three consecutive championships or tournaments. The term, a portmanteau of the words three and repeat, originated with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association, during their unsuccessful campaign for a third consecutive championship during the 1988–89 season, having won the previous 2 NBA Finals. The Lakers, however, were swept by the Detroit Pistons in the 1989 NBA Finals. The term is a registered trademark owned by Pat Riley, the Lakers' head coach from 1981–1990. The original owner and assignor of the underlying THREE-PEAT "mark" was Bijan Khezri, former president of P.d.P. Paperon De Paperoni, a Delaware corporation. Khezri submitted in November 1988 a trademark application for the use of three-peat on shirts, jackets and hats. Around that time, the phrase was being used by members and fans of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, of whom Pat Riley was the head coach, regarding the Lakers' quest that season to obtain what would have been a third successive NBA championship. According to Riley, it was Laker player Byron Scott who cited the term in reference to the team's goal for that season.

After Khezri assigned the trademark to Riley, it remained an entity of Riles & Co., the corporate entity of National Basketball Association (NBA) coach Pat Riley. In 1989, Riles & Co. successfully registered the trademark under U.S. Registration Number 1552980. The Lakers did not win a third consecutive NBA championship in 1989, but the Chicago Bulls did in 1993, and Riles & Co. collected royalties from sports apparel makers who licensed the phrase for use on merchandise commemorating that accomplishment.

Riles & Co. subsequently obtained additional registrations expanding the trademark to cover many other kinds of merchandise in addition to apparel. The company then went on to reap additional profits by again licensing the phrase to merchandisers when the Bulls again won three consecutive NBA championships from 1996 through 1998, as well as when the New York Yankees won three straight World Series championships from 1998 through 2000 and when the Lakers won three straight NBA championships from 2000 through 2002. For the Lakers, it was their second in franchise history, and only the first since moving from Minneapolis. As of 2022, the Lakers are the last team of the 4 major American professional sports (NHL, MLB, NFL, & NBA) to accomplish the three-peat.

The trademark registration for three-peat has been challenged over the years by those who argue that the term has become too generic in its usage for the trademark to continue to be applicable. However, such arguments have yet to succeed, with the registration continuing to be upheld by the United States Patent and Trademark Office as recently as 2001, in the case of Christopher Wade v. Riles & Co. This challenge documented the transfer of assignment from Khezri to Riles & Co., and upheld the validity of the trademark as originally conceived.

In 2005, a group of individuals attempted to trademark the phrase Three-Pete in anticipation of the (ultimately unsuccessful) attempt that year by the 2005 USC Trojans football team of the University of Southern California (U.S.C.) football team to win a third consecutive national championship. The change in spelling was a reference to the team's head coach, Pete Carroll. However, the Patent Office ruled that the change in spelling was not dissimilar enough from Riles & Co.'s three-peat, and denied the registration. Later that year, U.S.C. fan Kyle Bunch began selling his own "Three-Pete" T-shirts. He discontinued sales once he was notified that he was infringing upon the Riles & Co. trademark.

As of late 2007, the trademark "Three Peat" is still active for shirts, jackets, caps, etc., and for commemorative mugs, plates, etc., and also for posters, bumper sticker, etc. The similar "3 Peat" became a registered trademark of Riles & Co. for blankets and other bedding, as of June 2015. Some of the Riles & Co. trademarks are no longer in effect, e.g. keychains.[citation needed]

Occurrences of three-peatsEdit

There have been numerous instances of teams winning three or more consecutive championships in the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, National Football League, and Australian Football League, most of which occurred prior to the advent of the term three-peat.

North America: professional sportsEdit

All-America Football ConferenceEdit

While originating in the United States, the three-peat has been replicated all over the world across different sports. In recent times, Spanish association football club Real Madrid notably became the first club of the modern era to win three consecutive UEFA Champions League titles (2015–16, 2016–17 and 2017–18).

Origin and trademarkEdit

In a comedic context, the same play on words, additionally incorporating the name "Pete", is known to have been used as early as 1930 on the radio program Empire Builders. The episode of that program broadcast on December 29, 1930, featured a trio of singers dubbed "The Three Visiting Firemen: Pete, Re-Pete, and Three-Pete".[1]

The Oxford English Dictionary credits an Illinois high school senior, Sharif Ford, with the earliest published use of the word in the March 8, 1989 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Ford's quote uses the term in a sporting context and serves to provide a clear etymology as well:

The Lincoln High Tigers say they want to "three-peat". "You know, kind of like repeat, except doing it for the third time", senior Sharif Ford said.

Occurrences of three-peatsEdit

There have been numerous instances of teams winning three or more consecutive championships in the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, National Football League, and Australian Football League, most of which occurred prior to the advent of the term three-peat.

North America: professional sportsEdit

All-America Football ConferenceEdit

Continental Basketball AssociationEdit

Formula DriftEdit

Major Indoor Soccer LeagueEdit

Major League Baseball (World Series)Edit

National Basketball Association (NBA Finals)Edit

National Football League (NFL champions)Edit

  • 1929–1931   Green Bay Packers (no post-season, title game began in 1933)
  • 1965–1967   Green Bay Packers NFL Champions 1965–1967 (Won 1966 & 1967 NFL-AFL Championship Games (Super Bowl I and II))

National Hockey League (Stanley Cup Finals)Edit

Premier Hockey Federation (Isobel Cup Finals)Edit

  • 2020–2022   Boston Pride (2020 co-champions with Minnesota Whitecaps)

Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA Finals)

North America: collegiate sportsEdit

NACDA Director's Cup (overall collegiate athletics)

NAIA National Football Championship

NAIA National Basketball Championship

• 1957–1959 Tennessee State Tigers basketball

• 1970–1972 Kentucky State Thorobreds

NCAA Division I Baseball

  • 1970–1974 USC

NCAA Division I Football

Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS)
Football Championship Subdivision (FCS)[4]

NCAA Division I Men's Basketball

  • 1967–1973 UCLA  (7)

NCAA Division II Men's Basketball

  • Northwest Missouri State University

NCAA Division I Men's Water Polo

  • 2008–2013 USC

NCAA Division I Women's Basketball

NCAA Division I Men's Cross Country

NCAA Division II Women's Basketball

NCAA Division III Women's Basketball

NCAA Division I Women's Soccer

NCAA Division II Football Championship[5]

NCAA Division III Football[6]

U.S. National Collegiate Club Rugby championships

U.S. Collegiate Ultimate Frisbee Championships

United States: tabletop gamesEdit

Warhammer 40k American Team Championships[7]

  • Team Happy 2015–2017

United States: marching artsEdit

Other countriesEdit


First Division (association football)


Victorian Football League/Australian Football League

Australian Ice Hockey League

New South Wales Rugby Football League/Australian Rugby League/National Rugby League

West Australian Football League



Belgian Pro League


Brazilian Championship


Bulgarian A PFG


Canadian Football League (Grey Cup):

Collegiate women's basketball


First Division (Association football):

Costa RicaEdit

Costa Rica, American Football 1st Division:

Czech RepublicEdit

Czech National Basketball League:


Danish Superliga



  • 1998–2000 Haka
  • 2009–2014 HJK (six-peat)


Ligue 1





Liga Leumit

Israeli Premier League


Italian Football Championship

Serie A


Nippon Professional Baseball

J1 League






Primeira Liga

Puerto RicoEdit



Russian Football Premier League

Russian Futsal Super League


La Liga

Copa del Rey


Copa del Rey

IHF Super Globe

EHF Champions League

European Super Cup

EHF Cup Winner's Cup

South KoreaEdit

K League 1

KBO League





Süper Lig

United KingdomEdit

Super League Super League Grand Final

English rugby union

English football first tier

Scottish Premier League


Soviet Top League


Yugoslav First League


Summer Olympics



World Chess ChampionshipsEdit

Unofficial Championships (before 1886)

Pre-FIDE World Championships (1886–1946)

FIDE World Championships (2006–present)

Association FootballEdit

UEFA Champions League

UEFA Europa League

CONCACAF Champions League

South American football Copa Libertadores

CONMEBOL's Copa América

Champ Car World Series auto racing


International rules footballEdit


Indian cricket's Ranji Trophy

Cricket World Cup

  • 1999–2007   Australia (World Cup every 4 years)


Formula One World Champion



Motorboat racingEdit

Formula 1 Powerboat World Championship

Winter X GamesEdit

Winter X Games SuperPipe


Davis CupEdit

  • 1903–1906   British Isles
  • 1907–1911   Australasia[9]
  • 1920–1926   United States
  • 1927–1932   France
  • 1933–1936   Great Britain
  • 1946–1949   United States
  • 1950–1953   Australia
  • 1955–1957   Australia
  • 1959–1962   Australia
  • 1964–1967   Australia
  • 1968–1972   United States

Fed CupEdit

  • 1976–1982   United States
  • 1983–1985   Czechoslovakia
  • 1993–1995   Spain

Australian OpenEdit

Men's singlesEdit
Women's singlesEdit
Men's doublesEdit
Women's doublesEdit

French OpenEdit

Men's singlesEdit
Women's singlesEdit
Men's doublesEdit
Women's doublesEdit


Gentlemen's singlesEdit
Ladies' singlesEdit
Gentlemen's doublesEdit
Ladies' doublesEdit

US OpenEdit

Men's singlesEdit
Women's singlesEdit
Men's doublesEdit
Women's doublesEdit

ATP World Tour FinalsEdit


WTA FinalsEdit


Indian Wells MastersEdit

Men's singlesEdit
Men's doublesEdit

Miami OpenEdit

Men's singlesEdit
Women's singlesEdit
Men's doublesEdit
Women's doublesEdit

Monte Carlo MastersEdit

Men's singlesEdit

Italian OpenEdit

Men's singlesEdit

Paris MastersEdit

Men's singlesEdit

Barcelona OpenEdit

Men's singlesEdit


US OpenEdit

The Open ChampionshipEdit

PGA ChampionshipEdit



Liga Nacional de Básquet




Basketball Bundesliga


Israeli Basketball Premier League


Lega Basket Serie A



Puerto RicoEdit

BSN basketball


Russian Basketball Super League 1 (1992-2010)

Russian Professional Basketball League

VTB United League


Liga ACB

Spanish Cup

Spanish Super Cup


Swiss Basketball League


Basketball Super League






  Gary Anderson could have made a three-peat in 2015–2017 but lost 7-3 to   Michael van Gerwen in the final of the 2017 World darts championship.


Counter Strike

Counter Strike: Global Offensive

The National Football LeagueEdit

In the National Football League (NFL), a Super Bowl championship three-peat has not been accomplished. Two-time defending Super Bowl champions who failed to three-peat include the Green Bay Packers (1968), Miami Dolphins (1974), Pittsburgh Steelers (twice: 1976, 1980), San Francisco 49ers (1990), Dallas Cowboys (1994), Denver Broncos (1999), and New England Patriots (2005). All of these teams failed to return to the title game in the third season (indicated in parentheses).

The Buffalo Bills went to 4 consecutive Super Bowls as the AFC champions from 1990–1993, which is a feat unmatched in NFL history; however, they lost in every appearance.

The New England Patriots are the most recent team to play in three consecutive Super Bowls (from 2016–2018), winning Super Bowl LI (2016) and Super Bowl LIII (2018), but losing Super Bowl LII (2017)

In the early years of the NFL, decades before the introduction of either the term three-peat or the Super Bowl, the Packers won three consecutive NFL titles from 192931. This was achieved without playing any postseason playoff games, as the league title was determined at that time from the season standings. In addition, the Packers won the NFL championship in 1965, at a time when the rival NFL and AFL played separate exclusive championships. They then followed that 1965 championship with their first two Super Bowl victories in 1966 and 1967 (their Super Bowl berths were earned by winning both the 1966 NFL Championship Game and 1967 NFL Championship Game), thereby winning championships three years in a row.

Related termsEdit

There have been efforts to come up with a similarly clever name for the potential fourth consecutive championship in the year following a three-peat. But attempts such as quat-row have thus far failed to catch on, and most fans simply use the term four-peat. Since the term three-peat came into usage, however, only one team in major American sports has been able to achieve it – Hendrick Racing/Jimmie Johnson NASCAR team, who won 5 championships in a row.

The wordplay of three-peat is clearer if repeat is stressed on the first syllable; this pronunciation is uncommon outside North America. Other English-speaking people may instead talk of a hat trick of championships, or simply a three-in-a-row.

There are also terms for winning three trophies in the same season:


  1. ^ radiomemories 23248 Wizzard Media
  2. ^ Toledo Cup — National Collegiate Football Championship (Trophy). Gibson-Nagurski Athletic Center, University of Minnesota. January 6, 2023. Archived from the original on May 6, 2023. Retrieved May 6, 2023. 1934, 1935, 1936 — University of Minnesota
  3. ^ Army football National Champions '44, '45, '46 (Stadium Sign). Michie Stadium: United States Military Academy. 2012. Retrieved March 13, 2022.
  4. ^ "NCAA FCS Football Championship History". Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  5. ^ "NCAA Division II Football Championship History". Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  6. ^ "NCAA Division III Football Championship History". Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  7. ^ "ATC Home". ATC American Team Championships. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  8. ^ "Hamilton wins record-equalling seventh title". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
  9. ^ 1910 competition was walked over.
  10. ^ 4-peat if her pre-World War II 1940 title is included.
  11. ^ a b c The Australian Open was not held in 1941–1945 due to World War II, indeed if the 1940 and 1946 tournaments are counted as straight versions Adrian Quist scores a ten-peat and John Bromwich an eight-peat.
  12. ^ The December 1977 title was shared with their final rivals.
  13. ^ The Australian Open was not held during 1986 due to date changes.
  14. ^ a b This is a rare example of a three-peat across the Amateur and Open Eras.