Ever listened to two sports fans engage in a debate with each other about who’s team is better? This post of ours has caused some debate. How about two people argue about who’s from the nicer part of town? With certain political figures doing their utmost to start as many arguments as possible, we thought we would try to settle the ‘mine’s better than yours’ debate for good. Other writers have written similarly based articles – Matt King wrote for Bleacher Report about the total sporting experience in American Cities whilst Charles Rahrig V wrote for FanSided again looking at an all-round experience – though we wanted to look explicitly at on field/ice/diamond/court performance from the most recently completed sporting season.
Disclaimer: we appreciate some teams have improved/depreciated in currently ongoing seasons!
We’ve ranked cities by sporting success, based on results from the last completed season – using winning percentages – and given each city a total winning percentage combined across all representative teams in the city (please note teams local to the area but often associated with the city were included – for example, the San Francisco Area or Toronto-Hamilton). To qualify for the rankings, cities needed to have at least 3 teams competing across North-America’s ‘Big 6’ leagues; NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, CFL and MLS – a total of 21 cities.
Additional weighting has been given to play-off appearance and performance – .005 per advancement in play-offs and in sports where applicable, ties were awarded as .002 (overtime losses in hockey were classed as regular losses).
Rules and regulations out the way, we’ve compiled the following power rankings;
21 – Philadelphia (Eagles, Phillies, 76ers, Flyers and Union) – .401WP
Had we worked using the present NFL season this could be somewhat different for the city of Philadelphia. The 2016 Eagles only mustered a .438 record compared to being .909 at time of writing through 11 2017 games.
20 – Chicago (Bears, Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, Blackhawks and Fire) – .419WP
The Cubs won the 2016 World Series and only made it to the 2017 NLCS after failing to reach the 100 win heights of the previous year. The White Sox were in re-build mode, the Bears only won 3 games and the Bulls made the play-offs having finished .500 and despite being 2-0 up on the Celtics, lost in the first round.
19 – Phoenix (Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Suns and Coyotes) – .427WP
The Diamondbacks had a breakout season making it to the playoffs for the first time since 2011 thanks to J.D. Martinez, Paul Goldschmidt, Zack Greinke and co. Whilst they subsequently lost to the Dodgers in the NLDS, they were the only Phoenix franchise to finish above .500 in their respective seasons.
18 – Cleveland (Browns, Indians and Cavaliers) – .443WP
For a city with not one, but two ring challenging sides, the whole city is let down by the Browns who only won one game in the 16/17 season. With the Cavaliers losing out in the 2017 finals and the Indians not managing to repeat their ALCS heroics to reach the 2017 World Series, for a city with two teams with records better than .600, and only 3 teams to divide by, Cleveland will be disappointed with this lowly ranking.
16= – New York City (Giants, Jets, Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Red Bulls, FC) AND Detroit (Lions, Tigers, Pistons and Red Wings) – .453WP
NYC are possibly hard done too here. As the city/district with the most sporting teams in major sports across North America, the average WP is always open to getting hurt. A Yankees who excelled compared to a Mets who disappointed, similar with the NFL franchises, it was only the NBA sides who let the city down collectively. As for Detroit, an ageing Tigers are past their sell-by date with only the Lions making the post-season (losing in the wild-card game). Stats don’t lie, but numbers aside, I wouldn’t match these two up. For what it’s worth, if NYC only had their best side from each sport they’d have a WP of .538 – we’ll see where that would be good enough for shortly.
15 – Los Angeles (Rams, Chargers, Dodgers, Angels, Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Ducks and Galaxy) – .454WP
Again another city hurt by over-representation. The World Series runners-up, Dodgers, led the city, but possibly harshly being accredited with the poor .313 WP of the Chargers (achieved as San Diego in 16/17 before moving to LA) has lowered their placing. It is still a better record than that of the native Rams. LA would hope for more from their Anaheim sides if they’re to be grouped together geographically.
14 – Denver (Broncos, Rockies, Nuggets, Avalanche and Rapids) – .466WP
Claiming the Rockies as their own helps Denver after their post-season appearance, their only other side with a record over .500 was the Broncos. The Avalanche finished below .300 which doesn’t help the ranking but for Denver to climb they need the MLB franchise to repeat, and the improving NBA Nuggets to get back to the play-offs for the first time since 2012/13.
13 – Toronto (Blue Jays, Raptors, Maple Leafs, FC, Argonauts and Tiger-Cats) – .480WP
After back-to-back postseason appearances, the Blue Jays came unstuck falling below .500. A successful season for the Raptors and Toronto FC help the climb, as does having a Grey Cup winning CFL side at their disposal. If the Maple Leafs and Jays got back to their ‘norm’ then it’s hard not to see Toronto breaking the top 10 in a year’s time.
12 – San Francisco (49ers, Raiders, Giants, Athletics, Warriors, Sharks, Earthquakes) – .485
Nearly breaking the top 10 is a superb effort considering how poor the Giants were in 2017 and how disappointing the 49ers and Earthquakes were in their 16/17 seasons. Fortunate to claim the Raiders as their own from Oakland (we used the Wikipedia ‘San Francisco Bay Area’ definition) was offset by the Athletics who were, unsurprisingly, under .500. 12th best performing city is good going though considering there were 7 representative teams – thanks, Warriors.
11 – Minneapolis (Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves and Wild) – .500
With an MLS team to represent the area from the 2017 season, the Minneapolis .500 could change substantially come the re-rankings in a year’s time. By then we will know if the Twins are for real or if they’re back to their 100-loss selves. Only the Timberwolves were under .500 so it will be hoped they improve through the NBA season making Minneapolis a dark horse when it comes to cities with sporting prowess.
10 – Miami (Dolphins, Marlins, Heat and Panthers) – .507
With the Marlins under new ownership expect them to drop further away from .500 in 2018 and Miami to tumble out the top 10. The city will need the Dolphins to repeat their play-off appearance which looks unlikely or the Heat to improve on .500 and advance further into their own play-offs.
9 – Tampa Bay (Buccaneers, Rays and Lightning) – .523
No doubt that only having 3 franchises has helped the Tampa Bay area in the rankings, but an improved Rays just short of .500 and both the Buccaneers and Lightning above the magical mark mean that the city is there on merit. Though the Bucs are likely to miss the play-offs, an active off-season for the Rays may see them sneak a Wild Card from a crowded AL East. The Lighting have started the 17/18 season brightly and will be hoping to push on after missing the late-season party last time around.
8 – Dallas (Cowboys, Rangers, Mavericks, Stars and FC) – .526
3 out the 5 teams in the Dallas/Fort Worth area won less than half their games, but the maths doesn’t lie and having a superb outfit like last season’s Cowboys on the books would boost anyone’s numbers (.813). With the Rangers working out how to attack 2018, Dallas could fall drastically down this list unless someone else steps up to the plate – at time of writing the Cowboys season will be over before the January fun starts.
6= – Houston (Texans, Astros, Rockets and Dynamos) AND Seattle (Seahawks, Mariners and Sounders) – .529
Winning helps boost your position; Astros taking a World Series ring to Houston and the Sounders taking the MLS to the North-West. Two really underrated sporting cities with Seattle classed as potential threats in all of their representative sports. After a year of struggle for Houston away from sport, the ‘Stro’s win was great for the city affected so badly by Hurricane Harvey – it’s nice to recognise that other sports were successful alongside and preceding the troubles; a lot of love to Houston as they re-build the infrastructure required. Respect also to the Mariners if they can hijack the signing of Ohtani and pitch their bedding in of Japanese stars better than the rest – no one wants to see him in pinstripes just yet, do they?!
5 – Kansas City (Chiefs, Royals and Sporting) – .548
Helped no end by the achievements of the Chiefs last year – starting to slide this year – Kansas benefitted from only having 3 teams to divide total by. A disappointing Royals, also expected to be decimated by Free Agency, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kansas fall to near the bottom of this list in a year’s time amongst cities with 3 or more franchises – bookmark this.
4 – Washington (Redskins, Nationals, Wizards, Capitals and DC) – .552
Imagine if they could play ‘soccer’ in the capital?! All winning records above .530 bar DC United. Imagine if the Nationals could win a postseason series?! Behind the best two starting pitchers in the game. Imagine if the Wizards could have worked some magic. For a team in the top 5, it’s hard not to feel as if Washington could be higher still – the Nats need to ‘win it all’ soon – 2018 before Bryce Harper tests Free Agency – and the Wizards need to keep on doing. The Redskins did well to beat .500 last year but that may be tougher this year, somewhere above the .450 and hand it over to the court and diamond boys.
3 – Atlanta (Falcons, Braves and Hawks) – .555
If only they could hold on… Enough said on the Falcons. The Braves could have competed in a tight division, though the recent sanctions surrounding their international signings may be something that holds them back through the off-season – they’ll be desperate to get some postseason action to the new ballpark as soon as possible though and with a new General Manager in place, getting above .500 has to be the goal.
2 – Pittsburgh (Steelers, Pirates and Penguins) – .597
One of the most solid threesome going – only the Pirates would be a long shot to take the biggest prize year on ear, and even then, if they keep hold of Cutch, they’re seemingly going to try. Helped on by the effervescent Steelers and Stanley Cup winning Penguins, Pittsburgh was far from the pits in 2016/17 and long may it continue.
1 – Boston (Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and Revolution) – .600
If Atlanta couldn’t hold on, the Patriots didn’t need too; Smash. And. Grab. Two other divisional winners in the Red Sox and Celtics – Rox losing to eventual winners, Astros – and a Bruins side finishing 3rd in the Eastern Conference Atlantic Division, Boston sport always has, and may well be for a long time coming, top of the pile. The adopted ‘New England’ as their own – no qualms from me – has been helped by the GOAT playing for them, but cash in whilst you can and there’s no reason to think they won’t repeat in 17/18; walking their division already, they can take December off and still win the AFC East.
Little bit of fun, but interesting to see how number of teams and having a successful franchise influences a city’s ranking. Is Boston the greatest sporting city in North America? It’s hard to argue with numbers…
Hold tight, James Dawne.