Being a sports fan can be tough. With at least 30 franchises in each league vying for a title, fans almost always end a season disappointed, or even heartbroken. But that can make the excitement of a playoff run or the joy of a championship that much better. Fans can have a good time cheering for their city’s teams no matter where they are. But it’s certainly easier — and perhaps better — to be a sports fan in some cities than others.
Boston is the perfect example of a great sports city. All four of the teams that play in and around the area have won a title recently, and all seem to be in the hunt for another ring each year. Since 2000, Boston teams have won 10 championships.
But not every city can be as fortunate as Boston. Phoenix, for instance, also has four different franchises, but none has been very successful. The Cardinals and Suns have been good at times, but they have never won a title. The Coyotes have only made the playoffs four times since 2001. Only the Diamondbacks have brought a title to the desert, winning the 2001 World Series.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the regular season and playoff success of teams in the four major sports leagues to determine the best city for sports fans in America.
Championships are, of course, the ultimate goal in sports. But putting together winning seasons is also important. Winning games and getting into the playoffs can energize a fan base and give hope for a future title — or at least keep fans interested enough to spend money on tickets.
Teams tend to ebb and flow in terms of success, as even the best franchises sometimes have to rebuild and traditionally struggling teams can put together an improbable run and win a title. Over the course of time, things tend to even out. To get a better sense of the overall quality of a city’s sporting success, we reviewed statistics from the past 50 years.
There are a dozen U.S. metro areas with a local franchise in each of the four major sports leagues: Washington, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Miami, Detroit, Denver, Dallas, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Chicago has two baseball teams, and L.A. and New York have two teams in all four leagues.
Sports fans who live in an area like Salt Lake City or Portland, where there is just one sports franchise, likely pick teams to root for in other cities. While that can still be gratifying, those fans likely won’t be able to attend many games or feel the same connection and sense of community as they would if they lived nearby.
To determine the best cities for sports fans, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed several metrics of teams representing major metro areas over the last 50 years. Those metrics include the total number of championships won, playoff appearances, winning percentage, and franchises currently representing a city. We reviewed the four major sports leagues: NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA. WHL and ABA championships were not considered. Teams were sorted based on the metro area in which their home arena is located. Cities with no active pro sports franchises were not considered.
The Golden State Warriors were considered as an Oakland team when they played in Oakland, and a San Francisco area team when they played in San Francisco. The New England Patriots, who play in Foxboro, Massachusetts, were considered as a Boston team.