With both the NBA and NHL now in their respective offseasons the attention shifts to looking at all the players who could be changing addresses in the coming months. When considering the different options that are presented to players who are looking to make a change, several things can contribute to the decision on where to play.
Potential salary is a huge factor to any player but aside from the obvious reason, one of the things that athletes will take into consideration is what sports city appeals most to them. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best sports cities in the United States, both from a location standpoint as well as its fans.
Let’s begin with one of the very best sports cities (or sports regions, actually) in the US. Boston has long been one of the most loyal and dedicated sports towns you will find. Regardless of where in the standings you find their teams, the fans of New England are never shy about showing unwavering support. With some of the oldest franchises in all of sports, the roots run deep for Boston fans and their teams.
The Red Sox have been around since 1901 as one of the American League’s eight charter franchises. The Bruins, in existence since 1924, is one of the NHL’s Original Six franchises and the oldest in the United States. The Celtics were founded in 1946 and have won more NBA titles (17) than any other franchise in the league. The Boston Patriots football team was established in 1955, making it the youngest of all major sports teams in the region. In 1971 they became the New England Patriots and were a struggling franchise for many years but have become one of the NFL’s best over the last two decades.
Boston sports fans are some of best out there when it comes to supporting their teams. Sure, they can be pretty eccentric and at times have gotten a bad rep thanks to some of their less-reasonable brethren but games at Fenway Park and in the old Boston Garden are second-to-none. The garden is long gone but Fenway isn’t going anywhere and if you are a sports fan and haven’t been to a game there you should definitely consider adding it to your bucket list.
Similar to Boston, Chicago fans have a reputation as being some of the most devoted fans you’ll find. Look no farther than the Chicago Cubs who haven’t won a World Series since 1908 and haven’t even played in the fall classic since 1945. The Cubs have become the lovable losers of Major League Baseball but despite all the years of losing seasons, Wrigley Field is always packed whether it’s a Friday night or a Tuesday afternoon.
When it comes to baseball the city is split between the North side Cubs fans and South side White Sox fans but beyond that all of Chicago comes together to root for their Bulls, Bears and Blackhawks. We all know about the success that the relatively young Bulls (est. 1966) had during the Jordan years of the 1990’s but you can believe that the Windy City has very deep ties with the Bears and Blackhawks, both of whom have been around since the early 20th century.
One of the best experiences you can have in sports takes place before every home Blackhawks game. When it comes time for the national anthem the crowd begins cheering and as the song progresses the fans get louder and louder, making as much noise for the Star Spangled Banner as they do for a Blackhawks goal.
New York, NY
John Lennon once said, “If I’d lived in Roman times, I’d have lived in Rome. Today America is the Roman Empire and New York is Rome itself.” There is no doubt that New York is one of the most iconic cities in all the world and its sports teams are just as well-known as the town itself. Not only does New York have teams in all four major sports but it has two MLB teams, two NBA teams, two NFL teams and starting in 2015, two NHL teams. It makes sense for one of the most diverse cities in the world to have multiple options when it comes to teams to root for.
In New York it all started with the Yankees who have been around since 1903 (the franchise was established in Baltimore in 1901 but moved to New York two years later). The championship pedigree with the Bronx Bombers is one that has been unmatched by any professional baseball team and the Yankees are well known as one of the most successful franchises in professional sports.
Aside from the Yankees, New York has had the Giants and the Rangers since the mid-20’s and both have some of the best fans in their respective sports. The Giants have a waiting list of approximately 135,000 people for season tickets, far exceeding any other team in the NFL (Green Bay is next at approx. 105,000, then Pittsburgh at 88,000).
Whether its football season with the Giants and Jets, in the fall with the Rangers, Knicks and Nets or during the summer with the Yankees and Mets, whatever time of year it may be the city of New York is always abuzz with excitement for its beloved sports teams.
If we’re considering all the aspects of a sports city then it’s hard to ignore Miami. When you have beautiful weather year-round and no state income tax it’s easy to see why so many professional athletes gravitate towards the Miami franchises. South Florida has all four major sports covered and is no stranger to winning championships.
The Miami Dolphins won back-to-back Super Bowl’s in the early 70’s and the ’72 Dolphins remain the only NFL team to go undefeated and untied for an entire season, from Week 1 through the Super Bowl (or NFL Championship game if you are looking past 1967). The Miami Heat are currently one of the best teams in the NBA having played in each of the last four NBA Finals and have won a total of three championships in the last nine years.
The Miami Marlins (formerly the Florida Marlins) have only been around since 1993 but they have won both of the World Series they played in. The Florida Panthers have been around as long as the Marlins but have only reached the Stanley Cup Finals once, losing in 1996.
This is a region that doesn’t come close to having the sports history as any of the aforementioned cities on this list but what it lacks in historical significance it makes up for with blue skies, sandy beaches and warm winters. For an athlete making six, seven or even eight figures, it’s hard to find a better place to hang your hat.