To say that Americans love sports is an understatement. It’s in our blood. We value sports as much for their personal and social benefits as for the thrill and drama of the game. In the U.S., 59 percent of all adults claim to be sports fans. In 2018, more than two-thirds of the top 100 telecasts watched live or the same day were sports events. That number rises to more than 80 percent for the 18 – 49 age group.
But Americans also cheer on their favorite teams with their wallets. The North American sports industry is expected to grow from a value of $69.1 billion in 2017 to $80.3 billion in 2021, with money coming from ticket and merchandise sales, media rights and sponsorship fees. That’s not mentioning the lucrative fantasy sports market in North America with over 60 million players. And eSports, or competitive video games, is expected to cross $1 billion in global market value in 2019.
The increasingly mobile-oriented ways we consume sports and rising premium-seat demand are partly responsible for the significant industry growth. Today, Americans can read sports news on their phone or tablet and ditch the bleachers for ultra hi-def TVs that seem to get bigger every year. But many serious fans still prefer live-action — and the best seats in the house. In response, sports venues are improving their facilities to enhance the in-person viewing experience.
In search of the best sports cities from the fan’s perspective, WalletHub compared over 418 cities across more than 50 key metrics related to the five largest sports in the U.S.: football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer. Scroll down for the winners, expert commentary and a full description of our methodology.