From Coast to Coast: What are the Top Five Cities in Professional Sports?

Shashwat BaxiCorrespondent IOctober 13, 2008

From the Atlantic Seaboard to the Pacific Ocean, Americans live and breathe sports. Since there have been professional sports in America, there has always been a debate as to which city has it best.

The criteria for best cities are simply that they have a strong support for their professional teams, in all of the major sports. The teams also have to have had some success recently to be considered, along with being able to show a strong rivalry with another city or region. For example, a strong following for the Chiefs or Royals does not put Kansas City in consideration.

Honorable Mention—Dallas, San Fransisco, Miami, Washington D.C, and Atlanta  

No. 5 Philadelphia—"The City of Brotherly Love" is home to the Eagles (NFL), Sixers (NBA), Phillies (MLB), and Flyers (NHL).

The Eagles are the talk of the town, especially with the resurgence of Donavon McNabb. McNabb led the Eagles to the Superbowl in 2005, when they lost to the Brady and his Patriots. Philly prides itself on their football team, especially when they are playing the Giants or Steelers.

AI (either Allen Iverson or Andre Iguodala) brought basketball back to Philly, where it had not really been since the days of Dr. J. The Sixers were in the NBA Finals in 2001, when they lost to the Shaq, Kobe, and the Lakers.

The Phillies did not have nearly as much support as their counterparts until this year when they are making a deep run in the MLB Playoffs. The Phils currently have a 2-1 lead in the NLCS and hope that they can make it to the 2008 World Series.

The Flyers also have a strong showing in Philly where many of it's people breathe Flyer hockey, especially when the Penguins or Devils are in town.

Philly is a great city for any sports fan, especially if you begin to include college sports.

Hated Rivals~ New York Giants and Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Steelers, and the Dallas Cowboys,  

No. 4 Los Angeles—Even though LA has the second biggest media market, it is not a city that rallies around it's teams. With most of the attention being paid to Hollywood, Los Angeles teams do not get the following that they deserve. Los Angeles is home to the Lakers (NBA), Clippers (NBA), Sparks (WNBA), Galaxy (MLS), Dodgers (MLB), Angels (MLB), and Kings (NHL).

Kobe led his Lakers to the NBA Finals in 2008, where they were defeated by KG and the Celtics. The Lakers are the main talk of L.A., especially with the lack of a professional football team being located in the "City of Angels". The Clippers, on the other hand, have not been good enough to really garner any discussion. Even though they have had players like Baron Davis and Marcus Camby, Los Angeles still belongs to the Lakers.

The Sparks have been dominant with Lisa Leslie running the show in women's basketball.

David Beckham is all of the talk in the MLS, especially now that he plays for a team like the Galaxy.

Both the Dodgers and Angels made the MLB Playoffs this year, with the Dodgers still being in contention down 2-1 in the NLCS.

The Kings are not really a main attraction LA, but they still draw enough fan support to keep LA as a strong city for professional sports.

With the lack of a professional football team, LA loses some spots on the list.

Hated Rivals~ New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, San Fransisco Giants, and the Oakland A's

No. 3 Boston—"Beantown" has arguably been the sports capitol of the United States in the last few years. Boston fans proudly represent the Red Sox (MLB), Celtics (NBA), Revolution (MLS), Patriots (NFL), and the Bruins (NHL).

The Red Sox have broken the "Curse of the Bambino" and won the 2004 and 2007 World Series, and are still in the 2008 ALCS tied at one game apiece.

The Celtics returned to greatness after handling the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals. With the trifecta of KG, Pierce, and Ray Ray, the Celtics will look to continue their dominance in the 2009 season as well.

The Patriots, led by Tom Brady and Randy Moss, went 18-1 last season before being beaten by the Giants in Superbowl XXXII. However, the Patriots have also dominated the last decade, winning three Super Bowl titles in that stretch. Even though the Patriots technically play in Foxborough, they are still a team that is support by Boston more than any other New England city.

The Bruins are the least followed team in Boston, but they still have a very strong following. The Bruins have been decent in the last few years and have only continued to grow in popularity in Boston.

Hated Rivals~ New York Yankees and Rangers and Jets, Los Angeles Lakers, and Indiannoplis Colts

No. 2 Chicago—Even though "The Windy City" suffered some heartbreaks in the last few weeks, Chi-Town is still an excellent sports city. Home to the Cubs (MLB), White Sox (MLB), Blackhawks (NHL), Bears (NFL), Sky (WBNA), Fire (MLS), and Bulls (NBA); Chicago proves to be a city that supports every team.

Both the White Sox and Cubs made the 2008 MLB Playoffs, but were unfortunately eliminated in the first rounds by their respective opponents. The White Sox did, however, recently win the World Series in 2005.

The Blackhawks, like most NHL teams, do not get the same support as other Chicago teams, but they get enough to keep them talked about.

The Bears are the main team for Chicago fans of today, as reached the Super Bowl in 2006, but lost to Indianapolis. The Bears had a heartbreaking loss the Atlanta Falcons yesterday, but people still proudly showed that they were Bears fans today.

The Bulls have fallen off the radar screen since "His Airness" last led them to the NBA Finals in 1998. Still, with a young team, the Bulls will look to contend in the Eastern Conference this year.

Even though the Chicago teams have continued to be inconsistent in the last few years, Chicago still loves them all the same.

Hated Rivals- Green Bay Packers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Minnesota Twins

No. 1 New York City—"The Big Apple" is the No. 1 media market in professional sports and still proves to be the best city for pro sports. With so many teams tied to and affiliated with New York City, a sports fan doesn't know what to do with himself when trying to set his allegiances.

NYC is home to the Yankees (MLB), Mets (MLB), Knicks (NBA), Liberty (WBNA), Giants (NFL), Jets (NFL), Rangers (NHL), Red Bulls (MLS), and Islanders (NHL). This doesn't include the Nets and Devils, who are from New Jersey.

The Yankees speak for themselves in terms of fan support and revenue, especially with the history of the success that the Yankees have been able to enjoy. The Mets made it to the World Series in 2000 where they lost the Subway Series to the cross-town Yankees. Since then, however, the Mets have continued to compete in the NL East.

The Knicks have become one of the NBA's laughing stock teams, but they continue to sell out Madison Square Garden.

The Giants and Jets, both play in East Rutherford, NJ, but they are considered to be New York teams. The Giants beat the then-undefeated Patriots in Superbowl XXXII and the Jets landed "Broadway" Brett Favre to play quarterback for them in 2008.

The Rangers and Islanders hold their own in NYC, which is a city that has split ties everywhere one looks.

From one borough to the next, fans are all around trying to show their loyalties to any of these teams. New York City has multiple teams in almost all of the major sports and continues to provide enough of a fan base for all of these teams to thrive. Without a doubt, New York City is the best city for a sports fan.

Hated Rivals~ Boston Red Sox, Dallas Cowboys, New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Atlanta Braves, New England Patriots, Philedelphia Eagles, and Philedelphia Flyers.