Special Report

These Are the Best Cities for Sports Fans

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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 which city they live in. But it’s certainly easier to be a sports fan in some cities than others.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the regular season and playoff success of teams in the four major sports leagues — using data from the Sports Reference family of sites — to determine the best city for sports fans in America. Cities were ranked based on the number of teams in the metro area, regular season records, playoff appearances, and championships over the last 50 seasons. Several leagues had seasons locked out due to labor disputes. In these cases, the most recent 50 seasons were considered.

Of course, the ultimate goal in sports is to win a championship, and fans certainly get disappointed if teams go decades without a title. As long as the team is relatively competitive, however, fans will typically show up to support them. But if the team is lousy year in and year out with no sign of getting better, fans will stop buying tickets. These are the teams losing the most fans.

When franchises struggle in one place, they often relocate, so we applied that team’s records and successes to the area they represented for the duration of their time there — with one exception. The Golden State Warriors represent the entire Bay Area, moving back and forth between Oakland and San Francisco. They recently moved to San Francisco again, so their successes counted toward San Francisco rather than Oakland where they had played previously.

It takes just one season to rewrite the entire narrative of a franchise. In recent seasons, teams like the Chicago Cubs and Toronto Raptors have gone from lovable losers to champions. This is the year each franchise won its first championship.

Click here to see the best cities for sports fans.

Source: Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images

20. Phoenix
> Number of teams: 4
> Championships in the last 50 years: 1
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 48.4%
> Last championship: Arizona Diamondbacks, 2001

Phoenix is one of just a handful of U.S. metro areas with four teams, one in each of the major U.S. sports leagues. Though the teams generally lose more games than they win, fans always have another season around the corner to look forward to. The lone championship in Phoenix sports history came in 2001, when the Diamondbacks, led by aces Curt Schilling and Randy Johson, took down the Yankees in the 2001 World Series — in just the franchise’s fourth season in existence.

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Source: Claus Andersen / Getty Images

19. Toronto
> Number of teams: 3
> Championships in the last 50 years: 3
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 48.6%
> Last championship: Toronto Raptors, 2019

Canadians love hockey, but the Toronto Maple Leafs have been a consistent disappointment for decades. The team hasn’t won a Stanley Cup in over 50 years. But Toronto sports fans have had plenty to cheer for in recent years. The Blue Jays, now the lone Canadian MLB team, won back-to-back titles in 1992 and 1993, including Joe Carter’s iconic walk-off home run to win the 1993 Fall Classic. More recently, the Toronto Raptors took a big chance trading for Kawhi Leonard and it worked out perfectly. He led the Raptors to their first NBA title over the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors.

Source: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

18. Oakland
> Number of teams: 2
> Championships in the last 50 years: 6
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 51.0%
> last championship: Oakland A’s, 1989

Oakland will soon have just one professional sports franchise — the Athletics. The Raiders are leaving Oakland for the second time, departing for Las Vegas some time after 2020. The first time they left was in 1982, for Los Angeles, after they won the Super Bowl in the 1976 and 1980 seasons. They came back to Oakland in 1994. The Warriors are also leaving the city but at least staying in the Bay Area, playing in San Francisco in 2019. The Warriors will be leaving at the height of their dominance, winning three of the last five NBA titles. The A’s last won a World Series in 1989.

Source: Tim Warner / Getty Images

17. Houston
> Number of teams: 3
> Championships in the last 50 years: 3
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 49.8%
> Last championship: Houston Astros, 2017

After years of struggles, the Houston Astros finally broke through and won the World Series in 2017. Prior to that, the Rockets of the NBA were the only Houston team to win a title, winning championships in 1994 and 1995.

The favored sport in Texas is football, but Houston can’t seem to find a winning NFL team. Though the Oilers won the first two AFL championships, once the franchise joined the NFL it struggled to find postseason success. The Oilers eventually left for Tennessee, and Houston’s new football team, the Texans, has never won more than one postseason game in a season.

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Source: Hannah Foslien / Getty Images

16. Minneapolis
> Number of teams: 4
> Championships in the last 50 years: 2
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 48.7%
> Last championship: Minnesota Twins, 1991

The Minneapolis-St. Paul area is home to a team in each of the four major sports leagues — but most of them have been a source of misery. Minnesota fans had to watch their North Stars relocate to Dallas in 1993, then win the Stanley Cup there a few years later. The North Stars’ replacement, the Wild, typically get bounced out of the playoffs in the first round. The Timberwolves have historically been lousy. And the Minnesota Vikings are 0-4 in the Super Bowl, their last appearance following the 1976 season. Only the Minnesota Twins have been able to win a championship. Kirby Puckett led the baseball team to the title in 1987 and 1991, both via dramatic game seven wins.

Source: Minas Panagiotakis / Getty Images

15. Montreal
> Number of teams: 1
> Championships in the last 50 years: 9
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 54.3%
> 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 and hasn’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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Source: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

14. St. Louis
> Number of teams: 2
> Championships in the last 50 years: 5
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 52.0%
> Last championship: St. Louis Blues, 2019

For many years, the Cardinals were the only source of success for St. Louis sports fans. The Redbirds have 11 total World Series titles — three of which have come in the last 50 years — second only to the New York Yankees. The Rams won the Super Bowl during the 1999 season while representing St. Louis, then bolted for Los Angeles. But the St. Louis Blues finally broke through in 2019 to capture the franchise’s first Stanley Cup, overcoming a tough start to the season.

Source: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

13. Washington
> Number of teams: 4
> Championships in the last 50 years: 5
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 49.7%
> Last championship: Washington Capitals, 2018

In 2018, the Washington Capitals snapped their 42-year championship drought by bringing home the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. 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.

Source: Dustin Bradford / Getty Images

12. Denver
> Number of teams: 4
> Championships in the last 50 years: 5
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 51.3%
> Last championship: Denver Broncos, 2015

The Denver area has had a team in all four major sports only since the ’90s. The Colorado Rockies played their first season in 1993, and the Colorado Avalanche moved from Quebec in 1995. The Rockies have made the World Series just once, when they were swept by the Red Sox in 2007. The Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 1996 and again in 2001. But the real pride and joy of Denver sports is clearly the Broncos. The team lost four Super Bowls before John Elway and his teammates were finally able to win back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998. Peyton Manning then finished his career by helping Von Miller and the Broncos defense win Super Bowl 50.

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Source: Ronald Martinez / Getty Images

11. San Antonio
> Number of teams: 1
> Championships in the last 50 years: 5
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 62.2%
> 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 an end. But very few fan bases have ever gotten to enjoy as much success as San Antonio fans have over the past 20 years.

Source: Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

10. Miami
> Number of teams: 4
> Championships in the last 50 years: 7
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 51.4%
> Last championship: Miami Heat, 2013

Of Miami’s four sports franchises, only the Panthers of the NHL have failed to bring home a championship. 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. Those remain the only playoff appearances in Miami’s MLB history.

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Source: Patrick Smith / Getty Images

9. Philadelphia
> Number of teams: 4
> Championships in the last 50 years: 6
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 51.9%
> Last championship: Philadelphia Eagles, 2017

After decades of futility, the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl in 2017. Thanks to the outstanding performance of backup quarterback Nick Foles and some gutsy play calling from coach Doug Petersen, the Eagles beat the New England Patriots in one of the wildest Super Bowls ever. Now each of Philadelphia’s four major sports teams has won a championship in the past 50 years. Previously, the Phillies won the World Series in 2008 and 1980, the 76ers won the NBA Championship in 1982, and the Flyers won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975.

Source: Dave Sandford / Getty Images

8. Detroit
> Number of teams: 4
> Championships in the last 50 years: 9
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 48.7%
> Last championship: Detroit Red Wings, 2008

Though the Detroit Lions have been historically terrible, winning just one playoff game in the Super Bowl era, the other three teams in Detroit have made up for it. The Tigers won the World Series in 1968 and 1984. The “Bad Boy” Pistons won consecutive NBA Finals in 1989 and 1990. The 2004 Pistons shocked the NBA, using their smothering defense to upset the Los Angeles Lakers and win another title. Detroit’s best team in recent history, however, is undoubtedly the Red Wings. The Wings snapped a 42-year Stanley Cup drought in 1997, then followed it up with championships in 1998, 2002, and 2008.

Source: Jamie Squire / Getty Images

7. San Francisco
> Number of teams: 3
> Championships in the last 50 years: 12
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 51.0%
> Last championship: Golden State Warriors, 2018

Over the past few decades, San Francisco has been home to three 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 had a championship drought of over 50 years before finally winning the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014. The Golden State Warriors, who have moved back and forth between San Francisco and Oakland, went to five straight NBA Finals over the past five seasons, winning three. Though they represent the entire Bay Area, we considered the Warriors’ recent success for their current location of San Francisco.

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Source: Ronald Martinez / Getty Images

6. Dallas
> Number of teams: 4
> Championships in the last 50 years: 7
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 54.1%
> Last championship: Dallas Mavericks, 2011

The best team from Dallas is undoubtedly the Cowboys. America’s Team won two Super Bowls in the 1970s with coach Tom Landry, then picked up three more in the 1990s with the legendary triplets — Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin — leading the offense. Dallas sports fans have gotten to cheer on many other all-time greats. Dirk Nowitzki made the Dallas Mavericks perennial Western Conference contenders and guided the franchise to its only title in 2011. Mike Modano led the Dallas Stars to their only title in 1999. He would later become the all-time greatest American-born scorer in NHL history. The Texas Rangers are the only Dallas-area team to never win a championship, though they did come within one strike of beating the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2011 World Series.

Source: Justin K. Aller / Getty Images

5. Pittsburgh
> Number of teams: 3
> Championships in the last 50 years: 13
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 53.8%
> Last championship: Pittsburgh Penguins, 2017

No city — not even those with multiple NFL franchises — has won more Super Bowls than Pittsburgh. The Steelers have won the Lombardi trophy six times, now tied with the New England Patriots. Four of those titles were won in the 1970s, when coach Chuck Noll led quarterback Terry Bradshaw and the infamous “Steel Curtain” defense. Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to the other two titles, in 2005 and 2008. Steel City fans have also gotten to witness greatness on the ice. Mario Lemieux captained the Penguins to back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992. Then Sidney Crosby became the face of the franchise, winning the Cup in 2009, 2016, and 2017. Though the Pirates have never had a true dynasty, they won the World Series twice in the past 50 years — in 1971 and 1979.

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Source: Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

4. Chicago
> Number of teams: 5
> Championships in the last 50 years: 12
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 50.9%
> Last championship: Chicago Cubs, 2016

For many years, Chicago sports teams seemed to fail consistently. After the Chicago Bears won the NFL Championship in 1963, the city went decades without a winner — until the legendary 1985 Bears won Chicago’s only Super Bowl. Michael Jordan and the Bulls would go on to dominate the 1990s, winning six championships during that decade. In 2005, the White Sox snapped a World Series drought that stretched back to 1917. In 2010, the Blackhawks ended a 50-year drought of their own, winning their first of three Stanley Cups over a six-year span.

But no title drought can compare with that of the Chicago Cubs. The Cubbies had not won a World Series since 1908, and many believed they were being held back by the fabled “Curse of the Billy Goat.” After 108 years, though, the Cubs finally broke through and won the 2016 World Series in a thrilling extra-inning game seven against the Cleveland Indians.

Source: Jim Rogash / Getty Images

3. Boston
> Number of teams: 4
> Championships in the last 50 years: 19
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 57.4%
> Last championship: New England Patriots, 2019

No fanbase has been spoiled by success like Boston’s has in recent years. Since 2008, each of Boston’s four major sports franchises has won at least one championship. The Celtics won seven titles in the last 50 years, the most recent in 2008. Bobby Orr led the Bruins to two Stanley Cup titles in the early 1970s. The Bruins wouldn’t win their next Cup until 2011. The Red Sox overcame 86 years of failure to win the 2004 World Series. The Sox then won it again in 2007, 2013, and 2018. But no recent team has personified consistent excellence like the New England Patriots. Since quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick teamed up in 2001, the Pats have won six Super Bowls, including the most recent one, smothering the Los Angeles Rams.

Source: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

2. Los Angeles
> Number of teams: 8
> Championships in the last 50 years: 18
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 53.9%
> Last championship: Los Angeles Kings, 2014

Los Angeles has eight pro sports franchises — two in each of the four major sports. Far and away, the best team in L.A. is the Lakers. Throughout the last 50 years, the Lakers have racked up 11 NBA championships thanks to stars like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal. Los Angeles has also had a great run of success in baseball. The Dodgers brought home the World Series in 1981 and 1988, and the Angels won their lone championship in 2002.

Surprisingly, Southern California is also home to two good hockey teams as well. The Anaheim Ducks won their only Stanley Cup in 2007, and the L.A. Kings won the Cup in 2012 and 2014. The Rams lost the most recent Super Bowl, and the lone Lombardi Trophy in franchise history came while the team was in St. Louis. However, the Raiders won a Lombardi Trophy while representing L.A. in 1983.

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Source: Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

1. New York
> Number of teams: 8
> Championships in the last 50 years: 20
> Average win percentage over the last 50 years: 49.9%
> Last championship: New York Giants, 2011

New York is America’s No.1 town for sports fans. With eight sports franchises, fans have a lot to choose from, and most of the teams have been competitive. Over the past 50 years, New York teams have brought 20 titles to the Big Apple. The Yankees are New York’s most dominant team, with seven World Series titles in the past 50 years. Their rivals in Queens, the Mets, are no slouches either. They won the World Series in 1969 and 1986.

Basketball success has been harder to come by. The Knicks won two NBA championships in the 1970s but haven’t had much playoff success since. Since moving to Brooklyn from New Jersey, the Nets have also struggled. On the ice, the New York Rangers only have one championship since the NHL expanded beyond six teams, winning the Cup in 1994. The Islanders, though, won four consecutive Stanley Cups in the early 1980s.

The New York Giants have also won four championships over the last 50 years. The Jets have been mostly hapless recently, with the lone Super Bowl coming more than 50 years ago, so it was not considered for this list.

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