The Top 50 U.S. Cities for Sports Fans: Towns Made for the Diehards
We all love our sports, and we all love to represent our favorite teams and the cities they call home.
Whether we're from Seattle, Washington or Baltimore, Maryland, we all have our loyalties, and we all think that our cities are the best in the country.
But which cities are really the best in sports?
We have to take into account more than just championships and number of teams (although they do count for something).
When determining which cities are the best for sports, I have examined both the success of each city as well as fan loyalty, history, and tradition.
So here they are, folks! The top 50 sports cities in America.
How does your town rank amongst the rest?
50. Tampa Bay
I was a little nervous to pick a bottom city, but then I realized that everybody in Tampa Bay is so busy not caring about sports that I probably won't offend anybody with my choice.
Come on, Tampa! The Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in 2002.
The Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2003-04 (yes, you do have a hockey team).
The Rays made it to the World Series in 2008, and they're awesome this season!
Why don't you care?!
I know I'm still young, but I still have yet to meet anybody claiming to be a Jacksonville Jaguars fan.
This is understandable considering the Jags haven't been around very long in the grand scheme of professional football, and they haven't really won anything.
Let me start by stating that this is in no way a reflection of the city of Seattle. I've never been there, but I'm sure it's beautiful.
That being said, Seattle has been at the top of many lists...
Lists about the worst sports cities in the country. The word "miserable" has even been used on several occasions to describe the Seattle sports scene.
47. Salt Lake City
Even Salt Lake City only has one "Big Four" professional sports team, a rich sports culture can still be found in this city.
The Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake both call this city home, and citizens of Salt Lake City (since they have no professional football team) root for either BYU or Utah, creating a great rivalry within the town.
And just look at that view!
Salt Lake City makes my list just because I want to go there so bad!
46. San Antonio
San Antonio is home to the Spurs who have won a total of four NBA Championships.
Not bad for a city with just one major sports team.
Sacramento, California is home to the Sacramento Kings of the NBA and the Triple-A River Cats, a team that actually drew a bigger crowd than its Major League affiliate (the Oakland A's) on the same day earlier this season. And even though this city may lack in its number of teams, Sacramento is no stranger to competition.
The city hosts many NCAA track and field events, and here's a fun fact for you:
Sacramento is considered a powerhouse for high school rugby.
Knoxville may not be home to any professional sports, but the city can consider itself one of the best college sports towns in the country.
The University of Tennessee is located in Knoxville, and if you've never been to Neyland Stadium, I will promise you it's worth the trip.
Knoxville is also the home of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.
Charlotte, North Carolina is home to most notably the Carolina Panthers and the Charlotte Bobcats, and even though the city is young, the people of Charlotte take their sports very seriously.
Charlotte is one of the fastest-growing sports communities in the country, and sports marketing powerhouse GMR Marketing even has an office in this city.
Portland, Oregon is home to only one major sports team, but Portland Trail Blazers fans are some of the best in the NBA.
During the 2009-2010 season, the Trail Blazers were ranked third in the NBA in fan attendance.
Keep it up, Portland fans!
Oh yeah. And you have a beautiful city.
Lincoln, Nebraska doesn't need a professional sports team to make it on my list. The University of Nebraska football team is basically the same thing.
It could be because there isn't much else to do in Nebraska, but have you met a Cornhuskers fan?
They take their football very seriously in Lincoln.
Nashville, Tennessee is home to the Nashville Predators and the Tennessee Titans, and this city makes it on our list at No. 40.
Vanderbilt University is also located in the heart of the city.
39. Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City may only have one professional sports team, but the fans seem to have really embraced the new franchise.
The Oklahoma City Thunder had the 12th highest attendance in the NBA last season. That's higher than Denver, Miami, and Orlando, folks!
38. South Bend
Even though the Fighting Irish haven't been looking like it lately, Notre Dame still has one of the largest followings in all of college football.
South Bend, Indiana makes our list at No. 38.
Phoenix, Arizona is home to four major sports teams: The Phoenix Suns, the Arizona Cardinals, the Phoenix Coyotes, and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Since the weather in Phoenix is pretty nice all year round, 15 teams in Major League Baseball conduct their spring training in the area.
Gainesville, Florida is home to one of the largest universities in the country, the University of Florida.
The University of Florida is a football powerhouse, and UF Gators fans are some of the most die-hard in the country.
No pro sports? No problem.
Anaheim, California is home to both the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Anaheim Ducks.
The Anaheim Angels are ranked amongst the best sports franchises in the country.
Plus, they have Disneyland!
"What the heck is in Fayetteville, Arkansas?" you ask.
Only the University of Arkansas.
The Razorbacks can claim 13 conference titles and one national championship.
And they have some very loyal fans.
Madison, Wisconsin is home to the University of Wisconsin and all the rich tradition that comes with the Badgers.
They may root for the Packers, but Football Saturday is king in Madison.
Buffalo, New York is the very chilly home to the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres, and even though the Bills are looking like the worst team in the NFL, Buffalo's fans still stick behind their team.
If you're planning to visit the city of Buffalo, I suggest you wait until summertime.
Oakland, California is like the troubled distant cousin of San Francisco, and the city's sports are no different.
The Oakland Raiders have been the "bad boys" of the NFL for years, and even the fans play into Raider Nation's rough persona.
If we're going to talk about sports cities, we have to include the home of the reigning BCS National Champions and currently No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide.
29. State College
There isn't much in State College, Pennsylvania, but what this small town does have is a rich football history.
Penn State fans are loyal for life, adding to the deep tradition of the Nittany Lions.
Indy is ruled by the Colts and the Pacers, but the city of Indianapolis is home to many other lesser-known teams from baseball to women's football.
But perhaps the most important sports entity that Indianapolis brings to the table is the NCAA which is headquartered downtown.
27. Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill
When you think "college basketball," what teams come to mind?
Duke and North Carolina have one of the most famous college basketball rivalries in the country, and the fact that they're basically just down the road from one another just adds fuel to the fire.
Cincinnati is the first Ohio city on my list, and we've all heard of the Bengals and the Reds.
But the Nati is also home to another college basketball rivalry between the University of Cincinnati Bearcats and the Xavier University Musketeers.
These two schools are less than three miles apart, and Cincinnati is truly a city divided when the two play in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout.
Houston, Texas is home to the Astros, Texans, and the Rockets as well as several colleges and universities.
Houston is one of the largest cities in the country, so it makes sense that so many sports teams play there.
24. Kansas City
Kansas City is home to the Kansas City Royals, and (more importantly) the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs are off to a 3-0 start this year, and there is no doubt that the loyal fans of Kansas City will rally behind their team.
Orlando, Florida makes our list at No. 23 because the city is home to the Orlando Magic as well as the University of Central Florida.
Disney's Wide World of Sports is also located in Orlando, Florida as part of the Walt Disney World compound.
22. Ann Arbor
The beautiful city of Ann Arbor, Michigan is home to the University of Michigan Wolverines. The University of Michigan has the winningest program in the history of college football, and this entire city bleeds blue!
While we're on the subject of college football, we can't forget about another one of the biggest football schools in the nation, the University of Texas.
Austin is the largest city without a major professional sports team in the country, but when your city is home to the Texas Longhorns, you don't need anything else.
Baltimore is a pretty neat city, sitting almost directly halfway between Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, and the Ravens and the Orioles call this city home.
Even though Baltimore is still developing its professional football traditions, the Ravens have emerged as one of the most dominant teams in the NFL.
And the Orioles...well, they're the Orioles.
19. New Orleans
What can I say about the city of New Orleans? The people are tough and spunky...
And they sure love their Saints!
Say what you want about Cleveland sports, but this city has some of the best fans in the country.
Clevelanders wear their hearts on their sleeves when it comes the Browns, Indians, and Cavaliers, and even in moments of great disappointment, the Cleveland sports community is still going strong.
17. Washington D.C.
With everything else going on in our nation's capital, the people of D.C. still make plenty of time for sports.
From the Wizards to the Redskins, there is no doubt that Washington D.C. is one of the top sports cities in the country.
Denver, Colorado is home to all kinds of sports teams including the Colorado Rockies, Denver Broncos, Colorado Avalanche, and the Denver Nuggets.
Denver is one of only 13 cities that can claim four major professional sports franchises.
15. Green Bay
Green Bay may only be home to the Packers, but that's all this city needs.
Packers fans are the some of the most intense in the NFL, and I guess you'd have to be to brave the cold at Lambeau Field in December.
14. Minneapolis-St. Paul
This is another region that hosts all four major sports with the Minnesota Wild, Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, and the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Minneapolis-St. Paul is a great winter sports city.
The ATL makes our list at No. 13, and this city is also home to all four professional sports with the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks, and the Atlanta Thrashers.
When a city has this many sports, they have to be doing something right.
12. St. Louis
The Rams might be struggling, but the people of St. Louis are some of the proudest sports fans in the nation.
The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the oldest franchises in the MLB, and they have won a total of 10 World Championships.
I know what you're thinking, but hear me out.
Columbus, Ohio is home to both the Columbus Crew and the Columbus Blue Jackets!
OK. Let's admit it. No matter what sports come to town, in Columbus, Ohio, the Buckeyes will always be king.
Don't believe me?
Try driving on 270 on Saturday during football season.
The Miami Heat were ranked No. 15 in the league in for fan attendance, but after some offseason "decisions," we're sure to see an increase.
I would put Miami higher, but people in Florida just don't seem to pay much attention to their sports.
Dallas, Texas is home to many different professional sports franchises...blah blah blah.
We all know that the only team that matters in Dallas is the Cowboys!
Detroit hasn't had much to celebrate as far as sports go lately, but the city is still going strong. Last season, the Pistons were eighth in the NBA in fan attendance, and the Lions continue to maintain a fanbase no matter how bad they stink.
Now that's loyalty!
Way to go, Detroit!
7. San Francisco
I feel for you, 49ers fans. I thought this would be a good year too.
The good news is you make it on our list at No. 7!
Eagles fans scare me, so I'll just say this:
Congratulations to Philadelphia for being the second best sports city in the state of Pennsylvania!
It really is a beautiful city. Isn't it?
From Super Bowls to Stanley Cups, Pittsburgh truly is the "City of Champions."
How about them Bears, huh?
Chicago, Illinois is a true sports city. With enough fans to support two baseball teams and the highest attendance of any team in the NBA, it's really hard to beat the Windy City.
3. Los Angeles
This might not be the most popular choice for No. 3, but the Lakers alone put LA in the top five.
And believe it or not, Los Angeles is also home to another basketball team called the Clippers.
I know. I was shocked too.
Boston is a city of dominant sports teams. From the Patriots to the Celtics to the Red Sox, Boston is definitely a staple in American sports history.
But only one team can top this list.
1. New York
New York City should top this list simply based on the amount of sports teams in its metropolitan area, but New York fans have also proved that their city deserves the No. 1 spot.
Even though Knicks fans seem to have been slacking in recent years, the team still ranked No. 5 in fan attendance, and the Jets and Giants fill the third and fourth spots in the NFL.
So the Big Apple takes the number one spot by a landslide.
Is there a city I missed?
Or do you think your city should be ranked higher?
Feel free to comment below!