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.