This is a list of cities in the United States and Canada that have or have had teams in one of the five North American major professional sports leagues, with the number of league titles won by each city. Championships are only recorded for cities, not individual franchises. Teams can merge or dissolve their relationships with certain cities; examples include the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins.
The original list was published in May 2014. It does not include teams from Canada or the Mexican League because they are not part of the National Football League (NFL) structure. The list has been updated since then to include some additional teams that have become members of the NFL since its inception in June 1970. In total, there are 32 current teams in the NFL, two in the NBA, one in the MLB, one in the NHL, and one in the MLS.
American football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer are the five major sports in the United States. Although there are other significant sports in the country, such as rugby and lacrosse, only these five major sports are included on this list.
According to the 2013 Forbes List of The Top 50 Most Valuable Sports Brands, the collective value of all sports teams in the U.S. is $7 billion.
In North America, there are 151 major league sports franchises (MLB, NHL, NFL, NBA, and MLS) split over 52 cities in the United States and Canada. The most recent additions to the list are the Atlanta Braves and Winnipeg Jets/Thrashers of the National Hockey League.
The number of cities with more than one major league team is limited because the majority of them are located in the United States. A total of 13 cities are represented by both a baseball and a football team. In addition, Baltimore has an American Football League franchise as well as a National Football League team. Montreal also has an American Hockey League team as well as a National Hockey League team.
There are three Canadian cities that have two major league teams: Toronto (Blue Jays / Argonauts), Vancouver (Reds / Whitecaps), and Calgary (Rockies / Stampeders). There are also two Mexican cities with two major league teams: Mexico City (Expos / Mets) and San Diego (Chargers / Padres). And there is one Central American city with two major league teams: San Juan (Pirates / Islanders)
12. Why, after more than two decades, have no competitor leagues to the main American sports leagues emerged? As the main professional leagues have expanded to the point that all four now have 30 or more clubs, there is a scarcity of feasible locations and markets in which to play. In addition, the cost of setting up such a league would be substantial.
In 1992, after the NFL refused to release its television schedule for sale on the open market, the United States Football League was born. The USFL was actually three separate but related leagues that merged at the end of their first season. The NFL rejected the USFL's initial franchises on the basis that its cities were not large enough to support both leagues. At its peak, the USFL had 24 teams. After two seasons, the league began to collapse under financial strain caused by expensive new players contracts given to former NFL stars like Jim Kelly and Barry Sanders. Only five teams from the original eight-team league survived into its second year.
In 1995, another attempt at a competing league came when the World League of Professional Football was established as a 32-team league that intended to begin play in 1996. The WLAF was owned and operated by an alliance between the NFL and the Canadian Football League. It played only one season before being shut down by its owners. The WLAF never drew well enough to be viable without government assistance.
Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia are the only cities in the United States where all four major sports (Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Basketball League, and National Hockey League) are played. The Los Angeles area is also the home of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In addition to these five cities, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and San Diego each have three major sports teams. No other city has two major league teams and one national basketball team or hockey team.
Of the five largest cities in the United States, only two (New York City and Chicago) are considered major sports cities by most analysts. Although both New York City and Chicago have many more minor league teams than they do major league teams, neither city is considered to have a strong presence in any single sport.
The other three large cities have strong traditions in one or more of the major sports but lack major league teams in those sports. In Boston, the Red Sox and Celtics compete in Major League Baseball and Basketball, respectively; while in Washington, DC, the Nationals and Capitals compete in MLB and the NBA, respectively. In Houston, the Astros and Rockets compete in MLB and the NBA, respectively.