By the numbers, it’s been a great year to be a Brewers or Bucks fan. Not so much for Spurs fans — or all Charlotte sports fans, for that matter.
Milwaukee had the best 2023 out of all the North American cities with professional sports teams, according to a Gaming Today statistical deep dive of the traditional “four major sports.”
“It’s time to fear the deer and the beer if your team is playing Milwaukee,” Gaming Today Analyst Brant James said. “With Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the Bucks to a .663 win percentage and the Brewers winning the NL Central, the other city along Lake Michigan had plenty to celebrate without even considering the plight of the NFL team up Interstate 41.”
Between the Brewers and Bucks, Milwaukee teams won more than 60% of their games — including the postseason — the only pro sports city that can make that claim.
With just one downtrodden team, San Antonio had the worst 2023 of all the pro cities. The Spurs only won about one-sixth of their games and endured an 18-game losing streak late in the year. Charlotte, N.C., managed to be the second-worst city, as the NBA’s Hornets and NFL’s Panthers were pitiful on the court and even worse off it.
Gaming Today averaged the win/loss percentage of each of the four major North American sports leagues, leaving out soccer despite the sport’s growing popularity (not yet, MLS).
Each league was weighed equally in the overall average. The current top and bottom five cities include games from Jan. 1, 2023, through Dec. 17.
The Top and Bottom 5 Sports Cities
Philadelphia Tops Cities With All 4 Sports
Interestingly, of the cities that won titles in 2023 — Kansas City (NFL), Las Vegas (NHL), Denver (NBA), and Dallas/Arlington (MLB) — none made the top five. One might argue that sports fans had a “better year” in those towns with parades and memories that will last a lifetime.
But the cold, hard numbers tell a different story.
Having all four professional sports teams isn’t necessarily a path to more success. In fact, one team can disrupt the resume. Philadelphia and Miami are the only cities with all four that made the top-five list.
Philadelphia has the highest winning percentage among the cities with all four. Its NFL, NBA, and MLB teams all won games at above a 56% clip. However, the Flyers carried a losing mark. If it weren’t for them, Philadelphia would be the top city instead of fourth on this list.
“Philadelphia has enjoyed incredible success in the past few years — with the exception of the Flyers — but you have to wonder if the locals are completely enjoying it,” James said. “In that span, the Phillies have lost in a World Series, the Eagles a Super Bowl, even the Union an MLS Cup.”
For regular-season success, though, Philly won the 2023 crown for cities with four major teams.
Charlotte Is Among Worst 5 Pro Sports Cities
None of the bottom five cities have teams in all four major leagues. Washington, D.C., is the seventh-worst sports city, and the worst city with four major league teams.
Charlotte and San Antonio raise important questions, though. San Antonio has the lowest winning percentage, while Charlotte is spared from being the worst sports city by its NBA team.
“San Antonio must absorb the indignation of being the worst of the worst in 2023, but at least there’s hope,” James said. “The Spurs figure to improve greatly in the coming years after drafting 7-foot-4 French wonder Victor Wembanyama first overall in the NBA Draft. Spurs fans will remember the turnaround of the Robinson and Duncan days. Charlotte, meanwhile, has Panthers and Hornets troubles aplenty.
“And poor Oakland. Its merciful reprieve won’t come until 2025 when the A’s have vacated for Las Vegas.”
The Spurs may not have had a good season at the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023. However, the Panthers have been struggling so much that they make the Hornets look good. The Panthers, winners of just two games in the 2023 season, single-handedly dragged Charlotte down from fifth-worst to second-worst.
Cities to Watch in 2024
A downside to measuring 2023 wins is that it splits seasons in half for three pro leagues. Plus, some off-field events, such as the Spurs landing Wembanyama, will impact many years to come.
Indeed, 2024 could look very different for each team, city, and state.
“It’s interesting and a little humorous that the two most successful sports franchises in Boston since the turn of the century held the city back in 2023,” James said. “While the Celtics and the Bruins demolished the NBA and NHL respectively, before disappointing in the playoffs, the Patriots (six titles since 2000) and Red Sox (four) let Bostonians down all year.”
While Boston could turn around its fortunes in 2024, Baltimore is expected to maintain its dominant position among the sports cities.
“The young and talented Orioles made an impact by posting the best record in the American League and re-establishing a proud baseball tradition in what had become a football town the last decade,” James said, noting the Ravens are among the 2024 Super Bowl favorites. “With both teams seemingly set up for success for the next several years, Baltimore figures to stay among the leaders.”
While Baltimore could make that move to No. 1 next year, the state of Maryland is already there for this year.
Since the Green Bay Packers dragged the Milwaukee teams down in aggregate for Wisconsin, and Pittsburgh’s trio brought down Philadelphia’s contributions in Pennsylvania, the Ravens and Orioles carried Maryland to the best statewide in 2023.
To measure 2023 performance, Gaming Today collected win/loss data from all four major professional leagues, including postseasons. After aggregating the win/loss data, we averaged the win/loss ratios from each team, city, and state to arrive at the final win/loss percentages.
Full Ranking List