Grading the Title Contenders’ Cities

Steve O Speak

By Guest Blogger Rob Yunich:

Grading the Title Contenders’ Cities

With the championship round of the NBA and NHL about to begin, here’s a look at the homes of the teams vying for the title. The rankings are set on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being an amazing sports town and one being a head-scratcher. The cities are listed in order of supremacy:


Population: 617,594

Sports Teams: Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox, Patriots, New England Revolution (MLS)

Bruins’ home rink: TD Garden (shared by the Celtics)

Overview: One of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston is also one of the country’s best sports towns. Not only does Boston have sports longevity, but it’s got success — winning 32 titles, most recently by the 2008 Celtics (who also reached the NBA finals last year). Although the Patriots are the new kid in town (relatively speaking, since they started play in 1960), they’ve won three Super Bowls (2001, 2003, 2004) and have cemented themselves as one of the league’s elite, missing the playoffs just twice since 2001. The Red Sox will always rule Boston sports, and the franchise has one of the most fascinating histories around. The Sox have made the playoffs six of the last eight years, winning the 2004 and 2007 World Series. The Bruins’ run this season certainly has captured the city’s imagination. The Bruins were founded in 1924 and have won five Stanley Cups, but none since 1972. They have made the playoffs in seven of the last nine years, and captured four division titles during that span.

Grade: 9.5


Population: Approximately 1.2 million

Sports Teams: Stars, Mavericks, Rangers, Cowboys, FC Dallas (MLS)

Mavericks’ home rink: American Airlines Center (shared by the Stars)

Overview: The Cowboys, who hosted the most recent Super Bowl, play in the largest stadium in the NFL and lead the league in attendance last season (averaging 87,047, just ahead of the Redskins’ 83,172). Cowboys Stadium also hosted the 2010 NBA all-star game and attracted a whopping 108,713 to that contest. The locale is slated to host the 2014 Final Four. On the field, though, the Cowboys haven’t won a Super Bowl since capturing three in four seasons (1992, 1993, and 1995) and went 13 seasons without winning a playoff game of any kind. The Rangers made the franchise’s first World Series last season, but before that, hadn’t made the playoffs since 1999. That year also was the season the Stars won the franchise’s only Stanley Cup, but they’ve had some tougher times lately (missing the playoffs the last three seasons). The Mavericks, however, have 50 regular season wins for 11 straight seasons, although this is only the franchise’s second NBA finals berth (the other came in 2006, when they lost to the Heat).

Grade: 8.0


Population: Approximately 2.5 million

Sports Teams: Dolphins, Marlins, Heat, Panthers

Heat’s home rink: American Airlines Arena

Overview: Any city that can’t sell out a playoff game loses credibility right from the start. That being said, the Heat averaged 19,778 (fifth in the league) this past season and won a title in 2006. But they’re the exception. Despite winning the World Series in 1997 and 2003 (the only two times they’ve made the playoffs in franchise history), the Marlins have one of the worst histories of attendance in the National League and now curiously are opening a new stadium next season. The Dolphins, best known for its 1972 perfect season, only have won two Super Bowls (1972 and 1973) and haven’t reached the big game since 1984 or made the playoffs since 2008 (although they participated in the postseason five straight times from 1997-2001). Miami has hosted the Super Bowl a record 10 times, however. The Panthers have only qualified for the playoffs three times in 17 seasons of existence and not since the 1999-2000 season. They were in the bottom third in the league in attendance this past season.

Grade: 6.2


Population: 578,041

Sports Teams: Canucks, BC Lions (CFL), Whitecaps FC (MLS), Canadians (short-season minor-league baseball)

Canucks’ home rink: Rogers Arena

Overview: If this were a grading of hockey-mad cities, Vancouver would receive a near perfect score. (Ditto for Olympic hosts.) But since it is an overall ranking of sports cities, Vancouver suffers from being in Western Canada and not being a part of other major professional leagues. They’ve already lost an NBA franchise(which is doing quite well in Memphis) and a triple-A baseball franchise. Their MLS franchise is in its infancy and the BC Lions, while one of the most established franchises in the Canadian Football League, still plays in a league that’s inferior to the NFL. Still, the Canucks are one of the most passionate franchises in the NHL and have a rabid fan base. And, for that, Vancouver gets major points. They also get credit for making the playoffs eight of the last 10 seasons, reaching the 1982 and 1994 Stanley Cup finals and becoming the first Western Canadian franchise to capture the Presidents’ Trophy since the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames won the first four.

Grade: 4.8

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