Special Report

Best Cities for Sports Fans

Source: Ronald Martinez / Allsport / Getty Images

15. San Antonio
> Number of teams: 1
> Championships in the last 50 years: 5
> Average win percentage: 62.3%
> Playoff appearances in the last 50 years: 38
> Last championship: San Antonio Spurs, 2014

Almost all of the best sports towns in the country have several good teams, but San Antonio has a single dominant franchise. Since joining the NBA in 1976, the San Antonio Spurs have won more than 62% of their games and missed the playoffs just four times. Coach Gregg Popovich and power forward Tim Duncan combined for five titles starting in 1999. With Duncan retiring and Kawhi Leonard being traded to Toronto, the Spurs run of championships may come to end. But very few fan bases have ever gotten to enjoy as much success as San Antonio fans have over the past 20 years.

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14. San Francisco
> Number of teams: 2
> Championships in the last 50 years: 8
> Average win percentage: 52.6%
> Playoff appearances in the last 50 years: 35
> Last championship: San Francisco Giants, 2014

Over the past few decades, San Francisco has been home to two great dynasties. The San Francisco 49ers, led by Joe Montana at quarterback, won four Super Bowls in the 1980s. When Steve Young, Montana’s backup for many seasons, took over, he got a ring of his own in 1994.

The San Francisco Giants struggled for many years after moving from New York. The franchise had a championship drought of over 50 years before finally winning the World Series in 2010. The Giants, led by catcher Buster Posey, would go on to win the World Series again in 2012 and 2014. Many San Francisco fans likely cheer for the San Jose Sharks of the NHL and Golden State Warriors of the NBA, but since those teams are in the San Jose and Oakland areas, respectively, their success does not count for San Francisco.

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13. Montreal
> Number of teams: 1
> Championships in the last 50 years: 9
> Average win percentage: 54.1%
> Playoff appearances in the last 50 years: 41
> Last championship: Montreal Canadiens, 1993

In the last 50 years, the Montreal Canadiens have brought home nine Stanley Cups. Only the Los Angeles Lakers have won more titles in that timespan. Most of Montreal’s success came in the 1970s, when the Habs won six Stanley Cups. The team has not been able to replicate that level of excellence lately, as they haven’t hoisted the Cup since 1993. The Canadiens are the only game in town, as the Montreal Expos played their last season in 2004, before heading south of the border and becoming the Washington Nationals.

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12. Miami
> Number of teams: 4
> Championships in the last 50 years: 7
> Average win percentage: 51.2%
> Playoff appearances in the last 50 years: 50
> Last championship: Miami Heat, 2013

Of Miami’s four sports franchises, only its hockey team, the Panthers, have failed to bring home a championship — not that you would expect an ice hockey team to thrive in Southern Florida. Dwyane Wade led the Miami Heat to an NBA title in 2006, then won back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013, when LeBron James took his talents to South Beach. The Miami Dolphins haven’t won a playoff game since 2000, but they won back-to-back titles in 1972 and 1973. The 1972 Fins team still holds the distinction as the only NFL team to go undefeated and win the Super Bowl.

Unlike the dominant Dolphins and Heat title teams, it was somewhat of a surprise when the Marlins won the World Series in 1997 and 2003. The Marlins had never been a winning team since forming in 1993, but four years later, the team made the playoffs as a wild card and beat the Cleveland Indians in an 11-inning game seven. The team then traded away most of their best players and didn’t make the playoffs again until 2003, when they again earned a wild card spot and won the World Series. Those remain the only playoff appearances in Miami’s history.

Source: Patrick Smith / Getty Images

11. Washington
> Number of teams: 4
> Championships in the last 50 years: 5
> Average win percentage: 49.6%
> Playoff appearances in the last 50 years: 73
> Last championship: Washington Capitals, 2018

During the summer, the Washington Capitals snapped their 42-year championship drought by bringing home the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. After years of being beaten by the rival Pittsburgh Penguins, Alex Ovechkin and company finally won the title. That championship also snapped Washington’s 27-year citywide title drought. The Redskins had been the most recent D.C. team to win a title, bringing home the franchise’s third Super Bowl in the 1991 season.

The Wizards have gone 40 years without a title, last winning in 1978, when they were known as the Bullets. Baseball has been a consistent source of agony in the nation’s capital, as two different Senators franchises left — first for Minnesota, then Dallas. The Nationals, who moved from Montreal after the 2004 season, have played well the last few seasons, but still have yet to win a postseason series.

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