Los Angeles wins two major sports titles in 2020

When will the Big Apple get another? And will Buffalo and San Diego experience their first title parade since the 1960s?

Some cities are used to major professional sports parades and enjoy a wealth of teams for fans to follow.

Los Angeles is among those. In terms of years, it really hasn’t been that long since the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2014. But before the Lakers won the 2020 NBA bubble title, LA fans had sat through some 40 seasons among its nine major pro sports teams without sniffing a parade. Then the Dodgers followed suit by winning the 2020 World Series.

Sure, not every fan in LA cares about the Major League Soccer teams or even the Kings. But the fact is they have the opportunity to follow those teams. San Antonio, the seventh largest city in the country, only has one major pro sports team for fans to support — the NBA’s Spurs. But even with just one team, San Antonio has had a championship parade more recently than New York, which has seven teams.

Some cities have really known sports misery. Before the Cavaliers won the NBA championship in 2016, Cleveland sports fans had suffered through 144 major sports pro seasons of the Browns, Cavs, and Indians since their last title in 1964. San Diego and Buffalo teams last won a crown in 1964 and 1965, respectively, and some don’t even consider the old AFL to count.

As for including soccer as a major sport, the MLS Cup champ deserves to be recognized on roughly equal footing to the so-called Big Four [NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL]. The average MLS attendance of 21,265 per game in 2019 exceeded that of the NBA [17,750] and NHL [17,423], and the league’s average franchise value of $240 million is not exactly peanuts anymore. Some scribes, such as SB Nation’s Nate Scott, recognize an MLS crown as a major one. Count me among those.

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Every city loves a major pro sports championship parade. This was the last one in Baltimore, back in 2013, with Ray Lewis in the center of a mass of people. [Shay photo]

Some would count big-time college programs among this group, especially when the coaches get paid millions, as the players have to settle for dreams of a big future payday. And there are other soccer, football and basketball pro leagues that are not as popular as the Big Five. But I don’t want to make this list even more complicated than it is.

I separate certain cities that many don’t; for instance, some lump Newark and Brooklyn in with New York, Arlington with Dallas, Anaheim with LA, and even Green Bay with Milwaukee. But those smaller cities usually don’t like those associations and seek their own identities. That is only fair.

Tampa recently joined LA at the top of the happiest fan base list by virtue of the Lightning’s “bubble” NHL championship in 2020. The Rays’ loss in the World Series stings, but taking the Dodgers to six games was not a small achievement.

San Diego continues to top the miserable fan base list, but its pro sports suffering index is balanced with near-perfect weather, cool beaches, and the Bill Walton clan. Meanwhile, Buffalo fans deal with not just major pro sports futility, but brutal winters with only the Gronkowski clan to cheer them up. However, nearby Niagara Falls is picturesque so there is that.

Here is the list with the most miserable at the top and happiest at the bottom:

North American cities with most major pro sports seasons [NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS] since last championship, as of November 2020

City ……... Number ……….. Last title …………… Leagues represented
San Diego …..115…….. 1964, Chargers AFL…………. MLB, NFL*, NBA*
Buffalo …….. 113……. 1965, Bills AFL …………………NFL, NHL, NBA*
Milwaukee ….99 ………1971, Bucks NBA …………………..MLB, NBA
Minneapolis …90 ……..1991, Twins MLB …………….MLB, NFL, NBA, MLS
Phoenix ………75……. 2001, Dbacks MLB ……………MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL
Vancouver ……64 …………..Never…………….……… NHL, MLS, NBA*
New York City ..61 ... 2012, Giants NFL …..MLB(2), NFL(2), NBA, NHL, MLS
Cincinnati …….60 ….1990, Reds MLB ………………………MLB, NFL
Charlotte ……..58 …………..Never ………………………….NBA, NFL
Arlington ……..49………….. Never …………………………….MLB
Detroit ………..49 ……..2008, Red Wings NHL ……….MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL
Montreal ……..47 …….1993, Canadians NHL ………….MLS, NHL, MLB*
Newark ………43 …….2003, Devils NHL ……………..NHL, MLS, NBA*
Nashville …….43…………….. Never……………………………. NFL, NHL
Dallas ………..37……. 2011, Mavs NBA ……………….NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS
Ottawa ……….36……..1927, Senators NHL ……………………..NHL
Sacramento ….35 …………….Never……………………………… NBA
Orlando ………35………….. Never …………………………….NBA, MLS
San Jose ………33……. 2003, Earthquakes MLS………………. NHL, MLS
Calgary ………..31 …….1989, Flames NHL ……………………..NHL
Edmonton……. 30 ……..1990, Oilers NHL ……………………….NHL
Miami …………29……… 2013, Heat NBA…………… MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL
Indianapolis ….27 ……….2007, Colts NFL ………………………NFL, NBA
Anaheim ……..27 ……….2007, Ducks NHL ……………………MLB, NHL
Jacksonville ….25 ……………Never ………………………………NFL
Winnipeg ……..25…………… Never……………………………… NHL
Columbus …….23……… 2008, Crew MLS …………………….NHL, MLS
Denver ………..23 ………2016, Broncos NFL…… MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS
Chicago ……….23 ………..2016, Cubs MLB…. MLB(2), NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS
St. Paul……….. 21 …………….Never …………………………..NHL
Salt Lake City ….21 ……….2009, Real MLS …………………..NBA, MLS
New Orleans …..21 ………2010, Saints NFL…………………. NFL, NBA
Memphis ……….19 …………….Never………………………….. NBA
Baltimore ……….17……… 2012, Ravens NFL ………………..NFL, MLB
Brooklyn ……….15 ………1955, Dodgers MLB …………..NBA, NHL, MLB*
Oklahoma City ….14 ……………..Never ……………………………NBA
Raleigh…………. 14 ……….2006, Hurricanes NHL………………… NHL
Philadelphia …….13 ……….2018, Eagles NFL …MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS
Cleveland ……….13………… 2016, Cavs NBA…………. MLB, NFL, NBA
San Francisco….. 12 ………….2014, Giants MLB ……………MLB, NFL
Houston …………11………. 2017, Astros MLB……MLB, NFL, NBA, MLS
Pittsburgh……… 10………. 2017, Pens NHL ……………MLB, NFL, NHL
Green Bay …………9……….. 2010, Packers NFL…………….. NFL
Portland …………..9 ………….2015, Timbers MLS ………….NBA, MLS
Boston ………….8 ………..2019, Patriots NFL …MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS
Oakland……….. 7 ………..2018, Warriors NBA ………..MLB, NFL, NBA
Atlanta ………….7 ………2018, United MLS….. MLB, NFL, NBA, MLS, NHL*
San Antonio ……6…………. 2014, Spurs NBA………………… NBA
Toronto………… 5………. 2019, Raptors NBA ………MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS
Washington, D.C. ..5 …….2019, Nationals MLB ..MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS
Las Vegas ………..3 …………………Never ……………………..NHL
St. Louis …………3 ……….2019, Blues NHL…………. MLB, NHL, NFL*
Seattle ………….2 ………..2019, Sounders …………MLS NFL, MLB, MLS
Kansas City …….1 …………2020, Chiefs NFL………. MLB, NFL, MLS
Tampa ………….1 ………..2020, Lightning NHL ……NFL, MLB, NHL
Los Angeles… 0 ...2020, Dodgers MLB… MLB, NFL(2), NBA(2), NHL, MLS(2)

* Formerly in this league

NOTE: Teams are divided among cities where the championship parade would be held if that team won the title. For instance, if the Texas Rangers won, the parade would not be in Dallas but in Arlington or even Fort Worth. That’s why Arlington takes the Rangers’ years rather than Dallas. A Cowboys parade would likely be in Dallas even though they now play in Arlington — or there could be celebrations in both cities. New York takes most of its area pro teams, even though some like the Giants play in New Jersey. The 2012 SB parade for the Giants was in NYC.

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