Long Journeys

Where’s the furthest teams have to travel to play each other in a sporting competition?

-Me and my relatives

The Western Bulldogs have to make the long trip from Melbourne to Perth this weekend, as they play the West Coast Eagles. The trip across the country is fairly hefty, so this got me wondering: what’s the furthest distance a team would have to go to play a game of sport?

Well, a quick check at this address tells me that the distance between Melbourne and Perth is 2,725km. That’s a fair bit, but it could be a lot longer.

Looking at the National Football League teams, it’s easy to see that the Seattle Seahawks and Miami Dolphins are the farthest teams away. But is that longer than Melbourne to Perth?

Indeed it is, by about 1,600km. The distance from Seattle to Miami is 4,390km.

Another one that springs to my mind (probably because I follow the league it mentions) is Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix in the A-League. And, in fact, that does outdo Seattle-Miami, setting the record at 5,261km and bringing it back to Australia.

I figure that we should at this point make a point that we are only talking about guaranteed fixtures, i.e. fixtures outlined at the beginning of a season. So, for example, if SL Benfica played Dynamo Moscow in the UEFA Champions League, not only would it be less than the distance between Seattle and Miami (I know, I can’t believe it either), it wouldn’t count. There is no guarantee that SL Benfica will play Dynamo Moscow, but barring unforseen circumstances, there will be Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix.

Speaking of Russia, you’d think that, given it’s the longest country in the world, its soccer competition would have some involvement in this record. Alas, there are no teams in the Asian side of the country, so that rules it out.

It seems like there’s nothing that could beat Perth-Wellington, but there is.

Super Rugby.

The rugby union competition features five teams from Australia, five from New Zealand, and (most importantly), five from South Africa.

So when the Stormers, from Cape Town, play the Highlanders, from Dunedin, either team has to travel 10,711km.

That’s not going to be beaten anytime soon.

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