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Best and Worst Pro Sports Cities - Part II (2000-2014)

February 2, 2015

In Part I of my Best and Worst Pro Sports Cities analysis, I focused only on championships since 1970. In this analysis, I limited my calculations to seasons since 2000 but evaluated all appearances in the "Final Four" of each major sport. For example, in baseball I tracked all appearances in the ALCS, NLCS and World Series. In the NFL, I looked at the AFC and NFC Championship games and the Superbowl. I calculated a score for each city based on their advancement in the playoffs. My formula is pretty simple: I allocated 8 points for a championship, 4 points for losing in the finals and 2 points for losing in the Conference finals. To use this year's NFL Playoffs as an example: I gave Boston 8 points for the Patriots Superbowl title, Seattle gets 4 points for being the runner-up, and Indianapolis and Green Bay end up with 2 points each for reaching the conference championship. I then summed the points and divided by the total number of seasons to get a score for each city.

The table below is limited to all of the current two or more sport cities. Using my formula, Boston comes out way ahead with a score of 1.73. That number (average points per season) won't mean anything to you but what you should notice is how much Boston is ahead of the second place finisher, San Francisco. The four Boston teams have played 59 seasons since 2000. In 20 of those seasons, the team reached the final four in its sport. Boston won championships in nine of those seasons and lost in the Finals another four times (and could have easily won those four). With three championships, the Giants are the driving force behind San Francisco's second place finish. Los Angeles/Anaheim is third with a nice mix of titles this century (Lakers: 5, Kings: 2, Ducks: 1, Angels: 1) and some other final four finishes.

The worst pro sports city since 2000 has to be Washington. They have four teams (Nationals since 2005) but haven't had a single trip to a conference final or a National League Championship series. They are certainly hoping that giving Max Scherzer $210 million will change that. Cincinnati also has no deep playoff runs over that time.

Top Sports Cities since 2000 (two sport cities)

Rank City # Points # Seasons Points/Season
1 Boston 102 59 1.73
2 San Francisco 36 30 1.20
3 Los Angeles/Anaheim 98 88 1.11
4 Detroit 54 59 0.92
5 St. Louis 40 44 0.91
  Pittsburgh 40 44 0.91
7 Indianapolis 26 30 0.87
8 New York City 68 91 0.75
9 Baltimore 22 30 0.73
10 Miami 42 59 0.71
11 Philadelphia 40 59 0.68
12 Chicago 38 74 0.51
  Seattle 20 39 0.51
14 Tampa 22 44 0.50
15 Charlotte 20 42 0.48
16 Dallas 28 59 0.47
17 Denver 24 59 0.41
18 Phoenix 22 59 0.37
  New Orleans 10 27 0.37
20 Cleveland 8 45 0.18
  Oakland 8 45 0.18
22 Minneapolis 10 58 0.17
23 Houston 6 43 0.14
  Buffalo 4 29 0.14
25 Kansas City 4 30 0.13
  Milwaukee 4 30 0.13
27 Atlanta 6 56 0.11
28 Nashville 2 29 0.07
  San Diego 2 30 0.07
30 Toronto * 2 44 0.05
31 Cincinnati 0 30 0.00
  Washington 0 54 0.00

* Note: The Canadian teams were not included in Part I but I added the Toronto Blue Jays, Raptors and Maple Leafs (Canadian Football League not included) in Part II.

Major League Baseball

Best Team Since 2000: The Giants and Red Sox have won the most MLB titles since 2000 (three) but I'd argue that the St. Louis Cardinals have been baseball's top team during that time. They have reached the National League Championship Series nine times in 15 years, winning two titles.

Close But No Cigar Team: The Detroit Tigers, with two losses in the ALCS and two losses in the World Series.

Teams With No LCS Trips Since 2000: Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Toronto and Washington/Montreal


Best Team Since 2000: Not much drama here. The Patriots have four Superbowl titles, six Superbowl appearances, nine AFC Championship Game appearances and an undefeated regular season since the 2001 season. Baltimore, Pittsburgh and the New York Giants have each won two Superbowls this century.

Close But No Cigar Team: The Philadelphia Eagles, who lost four NFC Championship games and a Superbowl in an eight year span.

Teams With No AFC or NFC Title Game Trips Since 2000: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Miami, Washington


Best Team Since 2000: The San Antonio Spurs have been to eight conference finals and have won four championships since 2000 but the Lakers topped that with five titles (seven Finals trips) during those years. The Spurs, Lakers and Heat account for 12 of 15 NBA titles since 2000.

Close But No Cigar Team: The Indiana Pacers has been to the Eastern Conference Finals four times since 2000. They reached the Finals once but are still seeking their first NBA title.

Teams With No Conference Finals Appearances Since 2000: Atlanta, Charlotte, Golden State, Houston, LA Clippers, New Orleans, Toronto, Washington


Best Team Since 2000: The NHL has had ten different champions in the past 14 seasons (they lost one season due to a lockout). The Kings, Wings, Blackhawks and Devils have each won two Stanley Cups since 2000. With four Cup Finals trips I'd give the Devils the slight nod as the best team so far this century.

Close But No Cigar Team: In the past 14 seasons, 13 different clubs have lost in the Cup Finals (the Devils lost twice). The Flyers (three Eastern Finals losses and a Cup Finals loss) and San Jose (0-3 in the Western Finals) haven't quite been able to reach the top.

Teams With No Conference Finals Appearances Since 2000: Colorado, Florida, Nashville, NY Islanders, Washington, Winnipeg/Atlanta

In Part I of my Best Pro Sports City analysis, I looked only at championships. Click HERE for Part I.

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Best and Worst Sports Cities - Part I

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