The 15 Best Sports Cities in the US, Ranked

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Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox // Getty Images

The United States would not be the place it is today without sports. While sports are fundamentally meant for entertainment purposes only, the reality is that they have become a part of our society that is connected to the identity of the nation and its citizens in many ways. Of the four major sports – the NFL, NBA/WNBA, MLB, and NHL – and other bustling leagues such as the MLS, there are well over a hundred teams that call cities across the United States home, some of which have stadiums with huge capacities

Related: The 15 Best Mascots in Sports

While each city would probably claim that they are the best fans in the world, some are notoriously more obsessed with their teams than others. Of course, each city has their own traditions and commitment to their teams that make each of them special, but they can’t all be number one, even if some have hosted more Super Bowls than others. We are taking an honest look at all of these metropolitan areas to decide which are the best sports cities in the United States.

These were hard to pick, and likely a little controversial, but that’s what tough journalism is all about. Before getting started, here are a five honorable mentions that are home to some great teams and even more amazing fans:

  • Pittsburgh
  • Cincinnati
  • Seattle
  • Kansas City
  • Denver

Now, onto the top 10.

10. Atlanta

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Joe Sohm/Visions of America // Getty Images
  • Population: 496K

Atlanta sports fans have experienced plenty of fluctuating moments. Throughout it all, they show up to support their teams. Atlanta is the number one city for MLS attendance, with fans packing Mercedes Benz Stadium to cheer on Atlanta United FC. The ATL boasts state-of-the-art stadiums including Mercedes Benz, which Atlanta United shares as a home stadium with the Falcons, and Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, the oldest team in Major League Baseball.

9. Dallas

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Danny Lehman // Getty Images
  • Population: 1.2 Million

Everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes the resident's level of commitment to the teams within Dallas. The entire state of Texas has quite a bit of teams, but Dallas is the only Texas city that claims a team in each of the major sports. Though controversial, the Dallas Cowboys are dubbed "America's Team", which is a big point of pride for Dallas fans. Love 'em or hate 'em, Dallas fans are the real deal.

8. Miami

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Cassanas // Getty Images
  • Population: 439K

Miami is home to a team in each of the major sports. While Florida might not traditionally seem like a city known for its passion for sports, Miami fans take their teams seriously, and it helps when those teams are having good seasons. The Miami Heat has brought some of the biggest NBA players to the Sunshine State, and most recently the team made a strong playoff run to the NBA Finals where they ultimately lost to Denver. 

Many of the stadiums and arenas in Miami are nestled in the city with ocean backdrops and top-of-the-line facilities. Miami might not be the hub of sports, but being a fan in Miami is a fun time for residents of the 305.

7. Minneapolis/St.Paul

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  • Population: 3 Million

The twin cities would not be what they are without the teams that call them home. The Vikings, Twins, Wild, and Timberwolves all play in Minneapolis and St. Paul, making these cities a hub for major sports in the midwest. There are a handful of funny and endearing traditions that are a part of the Twin Cities’ team and fan history. These fans have been through it all together and they have a sense that to fully appreciate them, you just have to be a part of them.

6. Los Angeles

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  • Population: 3.8 Million

Los Angeles rivals New York for number of teams, with two NBA, MLB, and NFL teams and one NHL, WNBA, and MLS (men’s and women’s) teams. Inherently by having so many teams, LA residents and the city as a whole are connected in many ways.

Like New York, having competing teams in each league adds a level of internal competition amongst fans. While Los Angeles is the hub of many other pop culture happenings, sports does not get lost among residents who always pack the house at their team’s games.

5. Detroit

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Tom Szczerbowski // Getty Images
  • Population: 632K

Detroit is represented by a team in each of the four major sports, each of which play in downtown Detroit, making it a fun place to be a fan. Detroit’s sports culture runs deep. The Lions are the fifth oldest NFL team, the Detroit Pistons are the second oldest NBA team, and the Detroit Red Wings were one of the six original teams in the NHL.

4. New York

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Gary Hershorn // Getty Images
  • Population: 8.4 Million

New York has a lot of teams. The most of any city, in fact. Each of these teams has had its moment in the spotlight and it is fair to say that many of these teams are iconic in their own ways. The New York Yankees have the most all-time championships of any team in professional sports, with 27 World Series wins.

New York sports media is notoriously difficult to deal with, yet many athletes still have the desire to take on the tough critics. Sports are a serious ordeal in the NYC area, and fans often have no issue giving athletes and coaches a piece of their mind when things aren’t going well. At the end of the day, New York fans are the way that they are because they just want to see their team win championships.

3. Philadelphia

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  • Population: 1.5 Million

Philly fans are loud, they can be obnoxious, but at the end of the day it is all fueled by the overwhelming passion for their teams, many of which have had successful seasons in recent history. Philadelphia fans come from across Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and maybe even a few from the DMV area. The traditions within the Philadelphia sports fandoms come both from decades of history and new developments. This includes the embrace of the Tiesto remix of Callum Scott’s Dancing on my Own that the Phillies have embraced in their recent playoff runs. 

Speaking of the Phillies, we recently declared that the best mascot of all time is the Phillie Phanatic, who has been the face of the Philadelphia baseball team since 1978. Inspired by the iconic green creature, the Philadelphia Flyers recently introduced their own lovable and zealous mascot named Gritty who has taken both the Flyer fanbase and internet by storm.

2. Chicago

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  • Population: 2.7 Million

Fans of Chicago teams are a fun group of loyal fans. Many of the stadiums and arenas live in the heart of the city and are deeply important to the history of Chicago. The Cubs are the second oldest team in Major League Baseball history and the Bears are the second oldest team in the National Football League. The Bulls are a legendary team in the NBA, largely due to Micheal Jordan’s years there alongside stars like Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. During the Jordan-era, the Bulls won six NBA Championships, with two "three-peats" on each end of MJ's brief retirement. 

In 2016, the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series after a 108 year drought. During their playoff run, it felt like almost all fans of baseball and beyond – aside from the fans of the teams they were up against, of course – were rooting for them. 

In conclusion, Chicago sports fandom is no joke.

1. Boston

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  • Population: 654K

Nothing pains me more as a New Yorker to admit that Boston might in fact be the best sports city in the United States. If there is one thing that can be said about Boston fans as a whole, it's their commitment to their teams. Like many major cities, each of the professional teams in Boston are a huge part of the residents’ identities, which means that the fans experience high highs and low lows depending on how the seasons are going. 

Boston teams have seen plenty of success in the first two decades of the 2000s. The Red Sox won the World Series four times between 2000 and 2020, while all six of the Patriots Super Bowl Championships took place during that same window. The Celtics and Bruins each have themselves a championship in the 2010s, which means that each of the major teams had a championship within these years. All this to say, the first decades of the 2000s was a great time to be a Bostonian.

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