Chicago, Illinois: The Best Sports Town in America

Jake KarmelCorrespondent IIMarch 31, 2011

Jonathan Toews at the Stanley Cup celebration in Chicago.
Jonathan Toews at the Stanley Cup celebration in Chicago.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

There is a lot that makes a city, a great sports city. There is a lot that makes Chicago the best sports town in America. It's more than championships. It's more than the length a franchise has been in a city.

It's the atmosphere of the city. It's the attitude of the fans in the city. It's the love and passion the fans share for the teams in their city. It's the revenue these teams create for the city.

Let's take a look into what makes Chicago great. 


If you walk through downtown Chicago any day of the year, you will never fail to see someone wearing any Bears, Bulls, Hawks, Cubs or Sox apparel. The citizens of "The Windy City" live and die by their teams. 

For example, go to the United Center for a Blackhawks home game. The atmosphere you will experience during this game is unlike any other NHL game. I've been to quite a few games and none compares to a Blackhawks game at the "Madhouse on Madison." 

At the Madhouse you have 20,000 nutcases on their feet screaming bloody murder and cheering for their country during the national anthem. Not to forget about everyone singing, "duh-duh" after every Blackhawks' goal. This atmosphere is unlike any other. 

Don't forget about the afternoons and evenings you could spend with 40,000 other drunk idiots at Wrigley Field. With the skyline beyond the fence and the rooftops in view, nothing compares to a summer night at Wrigley Field. Win or lose they still booze. 

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U.S. Cellular Field on the South Side is no slouch either. All the theme nights at "The Cell" or the fireworks after a White Sox home run make these games a memory of a lifetime. 

Sports Radio

I understand sports radio is good in any big city. But does your town have Dan Boers and Terry Bernstein? How about Jason Goff or Laurence Holmes? I am a radio major in college and the enthusiasm and emotion these guys put into their broadcasts are unlike any other.

They exemplify the true Chicago fan.

These radio hosts do not hide their bias towards one team or another. It is known Boers and Bernstein are both big Cubs fans. It is known Goff hates the Cubs. They burn with passion over their Chicago teams.

The Fans

I don't even think an explanation is needed. Chicago fans burn with passion. We're ignorant, cocky, know-it-alls and everything in between. Some of us, admittedly so, are fair-weather fans. Some of us grow up and die by one team.

Arguments can be made about New York, Boston or LA. But nothing, and I mean nothing can compare to the passion, the fire and the enthusiasm of Chicago.  

Lack of Winning

Yes. You read right. The lack of winning makes Chicago the greatest sports city. Baseball hasn't seen a championship in 11 years. Football hasn't seen a championship in over 20 years. Basketball hasn't seen one in 13 years. Yeah, yeah. Hockey did last year but prior to that they hadn't seen one for over 35 years!

The Chicago Cubs, widely considered by some, is America's team. This team has been the laughing stock of the entire MLB for the past 20 to 30 years. They haven't seen a championship in over 100 years!

Through all this futility, the fire burns. Look to other cities.

LA won a championship last year in basketball. The Lakers are always the top team in the west.

Boston won a championship two years ago in basketball, within the last decade two in baseball and a top team in hockey.  

New York is home to the evil empire. Enough said. 

Chicago? Home to futility yet fandom. 


Even through this futility of the last decade, Chicago has a rich history in sports. 

The Bulls were the best team in the NBA through the 90s. They also arguably had the best team in NBA history in their 72 win season. 

The Bears are home to the Super Bowl Shuffle and one of the most dominant Super Bowl performances in 1985. 

The White Sox recently won in 2005. They have a rich history of being a great baseball team. Their fans bleed black and white. 

The Cubs are the Cubs. They haven't won a title in over 100 years. Yet, they are home to the most beautiful gem in Wrigley Field. They also have some of the most passionate fans in all of baseball. 

The Blackhawks have had some of the best players in NHL history: Pierre Pilotte, Bobby "Golden Jet" Hull, Denis Savard, Glen Hall, Keith Magnuson, Stan Mikita and Tony "O" Esposito are enshrined in the rafters. All are arguably some of the best players to ever lace up skates in the NHL. This goes without mentioning a 2010 title. 

Why This Is Important

Cities live and die by their team. I will concede to that. No one does it like Chicago. No one lives through this futility, survives a great fire, a flood, blizzards, summer heat, winter cold, the hawk of the lake and still continues to be considered one of the greatest, and in my opinion, THE GREATEST, sports town in America. 


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