List of American and Canadian cities by number of major professional sports franchises

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Number of NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL teams by City, 2012.svg

This is a list of metropolitan areas in the United States and Canada categorized by the number of major professional sports franchises in their metropolitan areas.

Major professional sports leagues

The major professional sports leagues, or simply major leagues, in the United States and Canada are the highest professional competitions of team sports in the two countries. Although individual sports such as golf, tennis, and auto racing are also very popular, the term is usually limited to team sports.

The term "major league" was first used in 1921 in reference to Major League Baseball (MLB), the top level of professional American baseball. Today, the major northern North America professional team sports leagues are Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), and the National Hockey League (NHL).[1]

These four leagues are also commonly referred to as the Big Four. Each of these is the richest professional club competition in its sport worldwide. The best players can become cultural icons in both countries and elsewhere in the world, because the leagues enjoy a significant place in popular culture in the U.S. and Canada. The NFL has 32 teams, and the others have 30 each, although the NHL will expand in its 2017–18 season with the Vegas Golden Knights in Las Vegas, Nevada, a market the Big Four had historically avoided because of Las Vegas' reputation of being a hub for illegal gambling. The vast majority of major league teams are concentrated in the most populous metropolitan areas of the United States.

Baseball, football, and hockey have had professional leagues for over 100 years; early leagues such as the National Association, Ohio League, and National Hockey Association formed the basis of the modern MLB, NFL and NHL respectively. Basketball is a relatively new development; the NBA evolved from the National Basketball League and its splinter group the Basketball Association of America, taking on its current form in 1949.

Other notable leagues include Major League Soccer (MLS) and the Canadian Football League (CFL), both of which compare to the other four leagues in certain metrics but not in others. Every major league, including the CFL and MLS, draws 15,000 or more fans in attendance per game on average as of 2015. Therefore, this list includes a ranking by teams in the Big Four (B4), and a separate ranking also including teams in the CFL and MLS, called the Big Six (B6).

Metropolitan area

Though teams are listed here by metropolitan area, the distribution and support of teams within an area can reveal regional fractures below that level, whether by neighborhood, rival cities within a media market or separate markets entirely. Baseball teams provide illustrations for several of these models. In New York City, the Yankees are popularly dubbed the "Bronx Bombers" for their home borough and generally command the loyalties of fans from the Bronx, parts of Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, Long Island, parts of North Jersey and Westchester County, New York, while the Mets play in Queens and draw support from Queens, Brooklyn and parts of Long Island, revealing a split by neighborhood. The San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics represent rival cities within the Bay Area, a single media market. Though the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles share a metro area, their cities anchor separate media markets and hold distinctly separate cultural identities. In Los Angeles, the Lakers and Clippers share an arena (Staples Center), and media coverage is split amongst different broadcasters in the metro area.

With the Vegas Golden Knights, based in the Las Vegas Valley, the 23rd largest market in North America, scheduled to join the National Hockey League in 2017, the largest urban areas without a team in one of the big four leagues are the 32nd-ranked Austin and 37th-ranked Virginia Beach-Norfolk region. The smallest to have one of the Big Four is Green Bay as the 146th largest metropolitan area, though much of its fan base is drawn from 120 mile away Milwaukee, the 38th largest. The smallest stand-alone metropolitan area to have one of the Big Four is 78th-largest Winnipeg (Jets, NHL), while 54th-largest New Orleans is the smallest to have more than one (New Orleans Pelicans and New Orleans Saints). Foxboro, Massachusetts, population 16,685 as of the 2010 Census, is a small town which hosts two major-league teams (the New England Patriots and the New England Revolution.) Foxboro is considered part of the Boston metropolitan area even though it is actually slightly closer to Providence, Rhode Island.

List of teams by urban area

The following list contains all urban areas in the United States and Canada containing at least one team in any of the six major leagues. The table contains the population rank based on their urban population as compiled by Demographia,[2] the number of teams in the big four leagues (B4) and the big six leagues (B6), and the city's teams in the National Football League (NFL),[3] Major League Baseball (MLB),[4] the National Basketball Association (NBA),[5] the National Hockey League (NHL),[6] Major League Soccer (MLS),[7] and the Canadian Football League (CFL).[8]

Urban area Country Pop.
(2016 est.)[2]
New York City United States 1 20,685,000 9 11 Giants
Red Bulls
New York City FC
Los Angeles United States 2 15,135,000 8 9 Rams
LA Galaxy[note 1]
San Francisco Bay Area United States 7 5,955,000 6 7 49ers
Warriors Sharks[note 2] Earthquakes
Chicago United States 3 9,185,000 5 6 Bears[note 3] Cubs
White Sox
Bulls[note 4] Blackhawks Fire
Dallas-Fort Worth United States 5 6,280,000 4 5 Cowboys Rangers Mavericks Stars FC Dallas
Philadelphia United States 9 5,595,000 4 5 Eagles Phillies 76ers Flyers Union
Washington, D.C. United States 11 4,950,000 4 5 Redskins Nationals Wizards Capitals D.C. United
Boston United States 12 4,490,000 4 5 Patriots Red Sox Celtics Bruins Revolution
Minneapolis–Saint Paul United States 18 2,795,000 4 5 Vikings Twins Timberwolves Wild United FC[10][11]
Denver United States 20 2,600,000 4 5 Broncos Rockies Nuggets Avalanche [note 5] Rapids
Miami United States 8 5,820,000 4 4 Dolphins Marlins Heat Panthers [note 6]
Phoenix United States 13 4,295,000 4 4 Cardinals Diamondbacks Suns Coyotes
Detroit United States 14 3,660,000 4 4 Lions Tigers Pistons Red Wings
Toronto-Hamilton Canada 4 6,550,000 3 6 [note 7] Blue Jays Raptors Maple Leafs[note 8] Toronto FC Argonauts
Houston United States 6 6,005,000 3 4 Texans Astros Rockets Dynamo
Atlanta United States 10 5,120,000 3 4 Falcons Braves Hawks [note 9] United FC[13]
Tampa Bay Area United States 19 2,660,000 3 3 Buccaneers Rays Lightning [note 10]
Cleveland United States 29 1,785,000 3 3 Browns Indians Cavaliers [note 11]
Pittsburgh United States 30 1,730,000 3 3 Steelers Pirates [note 12] Penguins
Seattle United States 16 3,475,000 2 3 Seahawks Mariners [note 13] Sounders FC
Kansas City United States 34 1,610,000 2 3 Chiefs Royals [note 14] [note 15] Sporting Kansas City
Baltimore United States 22 2,275,000 2 2 Ravens Orioles [note 16] [note 17]
St. Louis United States 24 2,195,000 2 2 [note 18] Cardinals [note 19] Blues
Cincinnati United States 31 1,695,000 2 2 Bengals Reds [note 20]
Indianapolis United States 33 1,645,000 2 2 Colts Pacers
Milwaukee United States 38 1,415,000 2 2 [note 21] Brewers Bucks
Charlotte United States 35 1,600,000 2 2 Panthers Hornets
Nashville United States 44 1,105,000 2 2 Titans Predators
Buffalo United States 53 920,000 2 2 Bills [note 7] [note 22] Sabres
New Orleans United States 52 925,000 2 2 Saints Pelicans
Montreal Canada 15 3,570,000 1 3 [note 23] Canadiens Impact Alouettes
Vancouver Canada 21 2,310,000 1 3 [note 24] Canucks Whitecaps FC Lions
Orlando United States 25 2,125,000 1 2 Magic Orlando City SC
Portland United States 27 2,000,000 1 2 Trail Blazers Timbers
Columbus United States 36 1,505,000 1 2 Blue Jackets Crew SC
Calgary Canada 39 1,215,000 1 2 Flames Stampeders
Salt Lake City United States 45 1,100,000 1 2 Jazz Real Salt Lake
Edmonton Canada 46 1,060,000 1 2 Oilers Eskimos
Ottawa Canada 49 1,010,000 1 2 Senators Redblacks
Winnipeg Canada 67 705,000 1 2 Jets [note 25] Blue Bombers
San Diego United States 17 3,110,000 1 1 Padres [note 26]
San Antonio United States 26 2,025,000 1 1 [note 27] Spurs [note 28]
Sacramento United States 28 1,920,000 1 1 Kings [note 29]
Jacksonville United States 41 1,170,000 1 1 Jaguars
Memphis United States 43 1,110,000 1 1 [note 30] Grizzlies [note 31]
Raleigh United States 42 1,130,000 1 1 Hurricanes
Oklahoma City United States 51 930,000 1 1 Thunder
Green Bay United States 205,000 1 1 Packers
Regina Canada 195,000 0 1 Roughriders
Las Vegas United States 23 2,255,000 0 0 [note 32]
Totals 122 153 32 30 30 30[note 32] 22[note 33] 9
  1. ^ Club Deportivo Chivas USA was a Major League Soccer club that existed between 2005 and 2014 before folding. Los Angeles FC is scheduled to begin play in 2018.[9]
  2. ^ The California Golden Seals were an NHL expansion team which played in Oakland from 196776, when they moved to Cleveland to become the Cleveland Barons.
  3. ^ The Chicago Cardinals were a charter franchise of the NFL, before moving to St. Louis in 1960.
  4. ^ Chicago has had two prior NBA teams: the Stags existed from 1946 to 1950 before folding, and the Packers/Zephyrs played from 1961 to 1963, before moving to Baltimore.
  5. ^ The Kansas City Scouts relocated to become the Colorado Rockies in 1976, but subsequently moved again and were renamed the New Jersey Devils in 1982.
  6. ^ Miami Fusion F.C. was a MLS club located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida that played from 1998 to 2001 when they folded.[12] A new Miami expansion team was announced in 2014, with their launch pending a stadium agreement.
  7. ^ a b The NFL's Buffalo Bills hosted one of the team's regular season games each year and a number of pre-season games at Toronto's Rogers Centre from 2008–13 as part of the Bills Toronto Series.
  8. ^ The Hamilton Tigers played in the NHL from 1920–25 before relocating to New York City to become the New York Americans; that team folded in 1946.
  9. ^ The NHL expanded to Atlanta in 1972 with the Atlanta Flames, but the team departed for Calgary, Alberta in 1980 to become the Calgary Flames. In 1999 another expansion franchise, the Atlanta Thrashers, was established, but this team moved to Winnipeg and became the Winnipeg Jets in 2011.
  10. ^ The Tampa Bay Mutiny was a charter franchise of MLS in 1996. However, the franchise folded in 2001.[12]
  11. ^ The California Golden Seals of the NHL relocated to Cleveland for the 1976–77 season and were renamed the Barons. However, the team was merged into the Minnesota North Stars following the 1977–78 season.
  12. ^ Pittsburgh had one of the founding members of what became the NBA: the Pittsburgh Ironmen. However they only played a single season (1946–47) before folding.
  13. ^ The expansion Seattle SuperSonics of the NBA began play in 1967. However, in 2008 the team moved to Oklahoma City and was renamed as the Oklahoma City Thunder.
  14. ^ Kansas City had an NBA team from 1972–1985, having moved from Cincinnati, Ohio where they were known as the Cincinnati Royals. The team was known as the Kansas City-Omaha Kings from 1972 to 1975 because it played home games in both Kansas City, Missouri and Omaha, Nebraska. Starting with the 1975–76 season, the team played exclusively in Kansas City, and was known as the Kansas City Kings. The Kings moved to Sacramento, California in 1985.
  15. ^ In 1974 the Kansas City Scouts were granted a NHL expansion franchise. However, the franchise became the Colorado Rockies in 1976.
  16. ^ Baltimore was home to two NBA teams, both named the Bullets. The original Bullets played in the American Basketball League and NBA from 1944 to 1954. The second team was founded in 1963, following the relocation of the Chicago Zephyrs to Maryland. For the next 11 seasons, the Bullets played in Baltimore before moving to Landover, Maryland, within the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, in 1973.
  17. ^ Baltimore was granted a CFL expansion franchise in 1994, the Baltimore Stallions, which relocated to Montreal after the 1995 season to become the current Montreal Alouettes.
  18. ^ St. Louis has hosted two NFL teams. The St. Louis Cardinals played from 1960 to 1988 before moving to Phoenix, Arizona, while the St. Louis Rams played from 1995 to 2015, before moving back to Los Angeles.
  19. ^ St. Louis has been home to two NBA teams: the St. Louis Hawks, who moved to Atlanta and became the Atlanta Hawks in 1968, and the St. Louis Bombers, who folded in 1950. St. Louis was also home to the American Basketball Association (ABA)'s Spirits of St. Louis before the ABA–NBA merger in 1976.
  20. ^ The Cincinnati Royals were an NBA team founded as the Rochester Royals in 1948, before moving to Cincinnati in 1957. Upon moving to Kansas City, Missouri in 1972, the team was renamed as the Kansas City-Omaha Kings.
  21. ^ The Green Bay Packers played a portion of their home schedule in Milwaukee on a regular basis from 1933 until 1994.
  22. ^ The Buffalo Braves were an NBA team that moved to San Diego, California in 1978 to become the San Diego Clippers.
  23. ^ Montreal was home to a Major League Baseball team, the Montreal Expos, beginning in 1969. However, the team moved to Washington, D.C. in 2005, where it was renamed as the Washington Nationals.[14][15][16]
  24. ^ The expansion Vancouver Grizzlies of the NBA began play in 1995. However, in 2001 the team moved to Memphis, Tennessee and was renamed as the Memphis Grizzlies.
  25. ^ The original Winnipeg Jets relocated to become the Phoenix Coyotes (known as the Arizona Coyotes since 2014) in 1996. The current Winnipeg Jets were established by the relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers in 2011.
  26. ^ San Diego has had two NBA franchises: the San Diego Rockets and the San Diego Clippers. The Rockets represented San Diego from 1967 until 1971 when they moved to Houston, Texas to become the Houston Rockets. Seven years later, the Buffalo Braves moved to town and were renamed the San Diego Clippers, where they played until 1984, when the team relocated to Los Angeles and became the Los Angeles Clippers.
  27. ^ San Antonio served as a temporary home for the New Orleans Saints during the 2005 NFL season due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina.
  28. ^ The San Antonio Texans were a CFL team that played in 1995 CFL season, having relocated from Sacramento, California, where the team had been called the Sacramento Gold Miners, but folded after a single season.
  29. ^ The Sacramento Gold Miners were a CFL expansion team based in Sacramento, California for two years before relocating to become the San Antonio Texans.
  30. ^ The NFL's Houston Oilers relocated to Memphis for one season (as the Tennessee Oilers) in 1997 before moving to Nashville to become the Tennessee Titans.
  31. ^ The Memphis Mad Dogs were a CFL expansion franchise that existed for only the 1995 season.
  32. ^ a b The Vegas Golden Knights, a NHL expansion franchise, will begin play in 2017.[17]
  33. ^ Los Angeles FC is scheduled to begin play in 2018, and a Miami MLS team was announced in 2014, with their launch pending a stadium agreement.

Teams by state/province/territory

The number of Big Six teams based on their home state is shown in the map below:

US States by number of major sports teams

The number of Big Six teams based on their home state/province/territory is shown in the map below:

Big 6 sports teams
Pop. rank (2014)
(U.S.[18] + Canada[19])
Big four
NFL[3] MLB[4] NBA[5] NHL[6] Big six
MLS[7] CFL[8]
United States California 1 16 Rams
18 LA Galaxy
San Jose Earthquakes
United States Florida 3 9 Jaguars
10 Orlando City SC
United States Texas 2 8 Cowboys
Stars 10 Dynamo
FC Dallas
United States New York 4 8 Bills[note 1] [note 2] Mets
9 New York City FC[note 3]
United States Pennsylvania 7 7 Eagles
76ers Flyers
8 Union
United States Ohio 8 6 Bengals
Cavaliers Blue Jackets 7 Crew SC
United States Illinois 6 5 Bears Cubs
White Sox
Bulls Blackhawks 6 Fire
Canada Ontario 5 4 [note 1] Blue Jays Raptors Senators
Maple Leafs
8 Toronto FC Tiger-Cats
United States Missouri 20 4 Chiefs Royals
Blues 4 [note 4]
United States Massachusetts 16 4 Patriots Red Sox Celtics Bruins 5 Revolution
United States Colorado 24 4 Broncos Rockies Nuggets Avalanche 5 Rapids
United States Minnesota 23 4 Vikings Twins Timberwolves Wild 5 United FC
United States Arizona 17 4 Cardinals Diamondbacks Suns Coyotes 4
United States Michigan 11 4 Lions Tigers Pistons Red Wings 4
United States New Jersey 12 3 Giants[note 2]
Jets[note 2]
Devils 4 Red Bulls[note 3]
United States Washington, D.C. [note 5] 3 [note 6] Nationals Wizards Capitals 4 D.C. United
United States Georgia 9 3 Falcons Braves Hawks 4 United FC
United States Maryland 21 3 Ravens
Redskins[note 6]
Orioles 3
United States North Carolina 10 3 Panthers Hornets Hurricanes 3
United States Tennessee 19 3 Titans Grizzlies Predators 3
United States Wisconsin 22 3 Packers Brewers Bucks 3
Canada Alberta 30 2 Flames
4 Stampeders
United States Washington 15 2 Seahawks Mariners 3 Sounders FC
United States Indiana 18 2 Colts Pacers 2
United States Louisiana 27 2 Saints Pelicans 2
Canada Quebec 14 1 Canadiens 3 Impact Alouettes
Canada British Columbia 28 1 Canucks 3 Whitecaps FC Lions
United States Oregon 31 1 Trail Blazers 2 Timbers
United States Utah 37 1 Jazz 2 Real Salt Lake
Canada Manitoba 47 1 Jets 2 Blue Bombers
United States Oklahoma 32 1 Thunder 1
United States Kansas 38 0 1 Sporting Kansas City[note 4]
Canada Saskatchewan 48 0 1 Roughriders
33 states/provinces/districts 122 32 30 30 30 153 22 9
  1. ^ a b The NFL's Buffalo Bills held one of the team's regular season games each year and a number of pre-season games at Toronto's Rogers Centre from 2008–13 as part of the Bills Toronto Series.
  2. ^ a b c The New York Giants and Jets both play their home games at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
  3. ^ a b The New York Red Bulls play their home games in Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
  4. ^ a b Sporting Kansas City play their home games at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
  5. ^ Washington, D.C. would have the 57th largest population if it were a state.
  6. ^ a b The Washington Redskins play their home games at FedExField in Landover, Maryland.

See also


  1. ^ Everson, Darren (May 7, 2009). "The Four Sports Commissioners Weigh In". The Wall Street Journal. p. D9. Retrieved March 29, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Demographia World Urban Areas – 12th Annual Edition" (PDF). Demographia. April 2016. Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  3. ^ a b "NFL teams". National Football League. Retrieved January 18, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "Team-by-Team Information". Major League Baseball. Retrieved January 18, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b "Team Index". National Basketball Association. Retrieved January 18, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "NHL teams". National Hockey League. Retrieved January 18, 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "Clubs". Major League Soccer. Retrieved November 18, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b " – Official site of the Canadian Football League". Canadian Football League. Retrieved January 18, 2016. 
  9. ^ "MLS announces new strategy for Los Angeles market, 2015 conference alignment" (Press release). Major League Soccer. 27 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  10. ^ "Major League Soccer awards expansion team to Minnesota that will begin play in 2018". Major League Soccer. March 25, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2015. 
  11. ^ Stejskal, Sam (August 19, 2016). "Minnesota United FC to join MLS in 2017, debuting at TCF Bank Stadium". Major League Soccer. Retrieved August 20, 2016. 
  12. ^ a b Freedman, Jonah (January 5, 2012). "The Throw-In: Did eliminating Tampa, Miami save MLS?". Major League Soccer. Retrieved January 18, 2016. 
  13. ^ Firchau, Nick (April 16, 2014). "Major League Soccer names Atlanta as 22nd franchise, set for 2017 debut". Major League Soccer. Retrieved April 16, 2014. 
  14. ^ Bloom, Barry M. (29 September 2004). "MLB selects D.C. for Expos". Retrieved 29 September 2004. 
  15. ^ "Ballpark financing issue may kill deal". Associated Press. December 15, 2004. 
  16. ^ "Announcement will come Wednesday". Associated Press. September 28, 2004. 
  17. ^ Rosen, Dan (June 22, 2016). "Las Vegas awarded NHL franchise". National Hockey League. Retrieved June 22, 2016. 
  18. ^ Table 2. Cumulative Estimates of Resident Population Change for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico and Region and State Rankings: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014 (Report). United States Census Bureau. December 23, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Estimates of population, Canada, provinces and territories". Statistics Canada. December 17, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2015. 

External links

  • North American Pro Sports Teams – Lists every league that has operated in Canada and/or the United States. Grouped by city.
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