Special Report

Cities That Have Lost the Most Teams

Source: George Rose / Getty Images

6. San Diego
> Teams lost: 5
> Most recent: San Diego Chargers, 2016
> Current teams: Padres

San Diego lost teams much more recently than most cities on this list. After losing the NBA’s Rockets to Houston in 1971, San Diego welcomed a new team, the Buffalo Braves, and changed the team’s name to the Clippers. But owner Donald Sterling moved the team to Los Angeles after six seasons. The NFL’s Chargers, who had played in San Diego for more than 50 years, also left for Los Angeles after the 2016 season.

Source: Michiganensian / Wikimedia Commons

5. Detroit
> Teams lost: 6
> Most recent: Michigan Stags, 1975
> Current teams: Lions, Red Wings, Tigers, Pistons

Though Detroit ranks highly on this list, its pro sports franchises have been fairly stable as of late. In the 1920s, Detroit had four different professional football franchises — the Heralds, Panthers, Tigers, and Wolverines — that lasted no more than two seasons. Detroit also had a basketball team called the Falcons and a hockey team called the Stags that lasted just one season apiece.

Source: Mike Powell / Allsport / Getty Images

4. Los Angeles
> Teams lost: 7
> Most recent: Los Angeles Rams & Los Angeles Raiders, 1995
> Current teams: Dodgers, Angels, Ducks, Kings, Rams, Chargers, Lakers, Clippers

Los Angeles has the unenviable distinction of having lost two NFL teams in the same year — the Rams and Raiders in 1994. But it also got two back. The Rams returned in 2016 after moving back from St. Louis, and the Chargers started playing in L.A. in 2017 after leaving San Diego.

Source: George Rose / Getty Images

3. Cleveland
> Teams lost: 8
> Most recent: Cleveland Browns, 1995
> Current teams: Cavaliers, Browns, Indians

Despite Ohio’s love for football, Cleveland fans have had a hard time holding on to their football franchises. Cleveland was home to several short-lived pro football teams in the 1920s. The Rams franchise initially belonged to Cleveland but departed after the 1945 season. Cleveland still has the Browns, though the franchise had to be essentially restarted in 1999 after owner Art Modell moved the original Browns to Baltimore after the 1995 season.

Source: Elsa Hasch / Allsport / Getty Images

2. St. Louis
> Teams lost: 9
> Most recent: St. Louis Rams, 2015
> Current teams: Blues, Cardinals

The NFL’s Cardinals, who now play in Arizona, called St. Louis home from 1960 to 1987. The Rams also just recently left St. Louis for Los Angeles at the behest of owner Stan Kroenke. The Atlanta Hawks of the NBA were the St. Louis Hawks for more than a decade in the 1950s and 1960s. Some may not remember that St. Louis had an MLB team besides the Cardinals for over 50 years. The Browns played in Missouri from 1902 to 1953 before relocating to Baltimore and changing their name to the Orioles.

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