U.S. cities with teams from four major league sports
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- Major League Baseball (MLB), consisting of the National League founded in 1876, and the American League founded in 1901
- National Hockey League (NHL), founded in 1917
- National Football League (NFL), founded in 1920
- National Basketball Association (NBA), founded in 1946
The New York and the Los Angeles metropolitan areas, the two largest cities in the country, are the only two regions with at least two teams in each major sports league, with the New York metropolitan area being home to three NHL clubs.
Overview by cityEdit
Italicized teams play outside the city limits of the metropolitan area's core city or cities; the specific location is given in parentheses. The core city or cities of a metropolitan area are identified in this reference.
Principal city versus metropolitan areasEdit
Of these metropolitan areas, the only ones with a team in each sport that plays within the limits of its principal city are Chicago, Denver, Detroit and Philadelphia. In the Twin Cities area, three of the teams play in Minneapolis and one plays in St. Paul, although all four teams are named after the state of Minnesota, not the individual cities. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the core cities of Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose together have at least one NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL team, so even though not all teams are within the core cities, all four sports are represented in the core cities. All other areas have at least one sport represented solely by a team (or teams) that plays in a city's suburbs.
Smallest population with all fourEdit
The least-populous metropolitan area with at least one team in each of the four major sports is Denver, whose estimated population is 2,853,077. However, Denver is the hub of an urban corridor of about 4.8 million people, and is the largest metropolitan area within a radius of about 600 miles (970 km).
Minnesota is the least populous state to have a team in each major sport.
Largest population without a teamEdit
The largest television market area with no teams in the four major leagues is the Hartford & New Haven (Connecticut) area. Hartford was formerly home to the NHL's Hartford Whalers, who moved to Raleigh in 1997 and are now the Carolina Hurricanes.
The largest television market area that has never had a team in the four major leagues is the West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce (Florida) area, though that is usually considered part of the territory of Miami-area teams.
Using the Primary Statistical Areas defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, the most-populous metropolitan area without a team in any of the four major leagues (as of the 2010 U.S. Census) is the Hartford–Springfield area, although several minor professional teams play in the area and is located between the larger metro areas of New York and Boston. The Hampton Roads metro area is the second-largest metro area without a major sports team and has never had one. Before the addition of the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017, the Las Vegas Valley had been the largest metro area without a team.
Largest population without all four leagues representedEdit
After the St. Louis Rams moved back to Los Angeles, Houston, which lacks an NHL team, became the largest metropolitan area that does not have a franchise in all four major professional sports. Los Angeles had been the largest area without all four leagues from 1995 to 2016.
Cities with two teams from one of the four leaguesEdit
The sport that most commonly has two teams in one metropolitan area is baseball, with multiple teams in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Boston, St. Louis and Philadelphia also had two baseball franchises (New York had three during this time), but one team from each city moved in the 1950s. Only Chicago has had the same two baseball teams since the American League was established in 1901. In 2006, Philadelphia was the largest television market without two baseball teams, with Dallas being the next-largest.
New York and Los Angeles are the only two metropolitan areas with two or more teams in all four major sports (New York has MLB's Yankees and Mets, the NBA's Knicks and Nets, the NFL's Giants and Jets, and the NHL's Rangers, Islanders, and Devils. While Los Angeles has MLB's Dodgers and Angels, the NBA's Lakers and Clippers, the NFL's Rams and the Chargers, the NHL's Kings and the Ducks.) The San Francisco Bay Area has two teams in two sports, the NFL's 49ers and Raiders and MLB's San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics.
Two teams in each of the four leaguesEdit
The only areas with at least two franchises in all four sports are New York and Los Angeles, which are the largest and second-largest cities and the two largest metropolitan areas in the United States. In New York, four of the metro area's nine major sports franchises play outside the city limits and three outside the state of New York: the NFL's Jets and Giants, and the NHL's Devils all play in New Jersey. The NHL's Islanders split their home games between the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, with plans for a a new arena in Elmont, New York, in progress. However, all teams have "New York" in their name except the Devils, who identify with New Jersey, and the Brooklyn Nets, who are named for the borough where they play.
In Los Angeles, three of the area's eight teams play in other cities (the Ducks and Angels play in Anaheim, while the Chargers play in Carson); this will increase to four in 2020 when the Chargers and Rams move to Inglewood upon completion of their new stadium.
Since the formation the NBA in 1946, New York is the only city to consistently host at least one team in each of the four leagues every year.
Most recent city with a team from each leagueEdit
The most recent city to be added to this list is Los Angeles, which regained the football Rams in 2016 after they had played the prior 21 seasons in St. Louis. (In 2017, the Chargers also moved to the city from San Diego, becoming the Los Angeles Chargers.)
States with all four leagues represented, but not in one metro areaEdit
Among those states that have no metropolitan areas with all four sports, only Ohio has teams in all four major sports: the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns; MLB's Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians; the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers; and the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, the only team outside Cleveland and Cincinnati.
Additionally, while the metropolitan area of New York City has both of its football teams play in New Jersey, the state of New York still has all four major sports leagues represented with the NFL's Buffalo Bills.
Most populous state without all four sports leaguesEdit
After the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg and became the Jets in 2011, Georgia became the most populous state without teams in all four sports. Metro Atlanta became the third-largest metro area (at the time) not to have teams in all four sports (after Los Angeles and Houston). With the return of the Los Angeles Rams in 2016, Atlanta became the second largest metro area without all four leagues behind Houston. Georgia is now home to the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, MLB's Atlanta Braves, and the NBA's Atlanta Hawks. The Falcons and Hawks currently play within the city limits of Atlanta; the Braves moved just outside the city in 2017 to the Vinings/Smyrna area in Cobb County. The Braves' new stadium is within a small slice of Cobb County that has always had an Atlanta mailing address.
Previously, North Carolina had been the most populous state without teams in all four sports, having edged out New Jersey when the southern state's population surpassed the northern one's. Both lack a Major League Baseball team, though three teams (the New York Yankees, New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies) play in metropolitan areas that include parts of New Jersey. North Carolina is home to the NFL's Carolina Panthers and NBA's Charlotte Hornets, who both play in Charlotte, as well as the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes, who play in Raleigh. New Jersey is home to the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets, who play in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, as well as the NHL's New Jersey Devils, who play in Newark.
Most populous state with no major league teamsEdit
Virginia remains the most populous state without a single big-league team in any sport, although residents of Northern Virginia have access to teams in Washington, D.C., and, at a stretch, Baltimore; and southern Virginia residents have access to the Carolina Hurricanes, the only major-league team in the Raleigh-Durham area. Additionally, two of the four D.C.-area teams, the Washington Capitals and Washington Redskins, have their operational headquarters and training facilities in Northern Virginia.
Iowa is the most populous state that has neither a major-league team nor a connection to a media market area with a major-league team.
Three of the four major leagues (MLB, the NBA and the NHL), have at least one team in Canada. Thus, although it is not a U.S. city, Toronto is notable because it has MLB (Blue Jays), NBA (Raptors), NHL (Maple Leafs) and MLS (Toronto FC) teams, plus a professional Canadian football team, the Toronto Argonauts. The Argonauts play in the Canadian Football League, which is currently an all-Canadian circuit, although the CFL had teams in the United States from 1993 until 1995. Calling the CFL a major league would be problematic since its lack of a U.S.-based team leaves it with a much smaller revenue base than the NFL. There has often been speculation of an NFL team in Toronto, which is larger than many NFL cities and the second-largest city in North America (behind Mexico City) without an NFL team, but the NFL insists it has no plans for expansion. The NFL allowed the Buffalo Bills to play one regular-season game a year at Toronto's Rogers Centre for several years in the early 21st century, as the Bills' profits depend on a considerable Southern Ontario fan base. The first two games in the Toronto series did not directly conflict with the CFL, as they were scheduled for December, after the end of the CFL season. The series was put on hiatus after the 2013 season; current Bills owner Terry Pegula, who bought the team after the 2014 death of founding owner Ralph Wilson, formally ended the Toronto experiment.
There are a further two Canadian cities which formerly had two major league teams plus a CFL franchise.
Montreal, the second-most populous Canadian city, had the Montreal Expos MLB team, which moved to Washington, D.C. It still hosts the NHL's Canadiens and the CFL's Alouettes. Montreal also once had an NFL farm team, the WLAF Montreal Machine, before the WLAF became exclusively European. Additionally, Montreal is home to Canada's third MLS team, the Montreal Impact since 2012.
Vancouver, the third-most populous Canadian metropolitan area, had the Vancouver Grizzlies NBA team, which moved to Memphis. It still hosts the NHL's Vancouver Canucks, CFL's BC Lions and MLS's Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Cities formerly with teams in all four leaguesEdit
- St. Louis was briefly a four-sport city (MLB's Cardinals, NFL's Cardinals, NBA's Hawks, and NHL's Blues) from 1967, when the NHL expanded, until 1968, when the Hawks left for Atlanta.
- Kansas City had all four sports (MLB's Royals, NFL's Chiefs, NBA's Kings, and NHL's Scouts) from 1974 to 1976. After two unsuccessful years in Kansas City, the Scouts moved to Denver (and later to New Jersey). The Kings moved to Sacramento in 1985.
- Cleveland briefly held four-sport status (MLB's Indians, NFL's Browns, NBA's Cavaliers, and NHL's Barons) when the Oakland Seals moved there in 1976 as the Cleveland Barons, only to lose it when the Barons merged with the Minnesota North Stars (currently the Dallas Stars) in 1978. The original Browns moved to Baltimore to become the Ravens in 1996; however, Cleveland regained NFL football in 1999.
- Atlanta featured teams from all four sports from 1972 to 1980, as the home of the NHL's Flames (the team moved to Calgary) and from 1999 to 2011, as home of the Thrashers (who moved to Winnipeg).
Cities that have lost, then regained four-sport status are Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis–St. Paul, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Atlanta is the only city to have gained, lost, regained, and re-lost four-sport status.
- Boston had the Yanks of the NFL at the start of the four-major-sport era in 1946, along with the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and Braves. Four-sport status ended when the Yanks became the New York Bulldogs in 1949, and then resumed with the formation of the New England Patriots in 1960.
- Detroit had a charter franchise of the NBA when it was called the Basketball Association of America at the start of the four-major-sport era in 1946. It folded after one season; Detroit rejoined the four-sport club when the Fort Wayne Pistons moved to Detroit in 1957.
- Chicago had a BAA/NBA team fold in 1950, then attracted an expansion franchise in 1961 only to see it move to Baltimore two years later. Chicago rejoined the four-sport club in 1966 with the expansion Bulls.
- The San Francisco Bay Area had teams in all four sports from the NHL expansion in 1967 until the Seals departed for Cleveland in 1976. It regained four-sport status when the expansion San Jose Sharks joined the NHL in 1991. Oakland alone had a grand slam without help from San Francisco from 1971 (when the Golden State Warriors moved to Oakland) to 1976.
- Minneapolis–St. Paul became a member with the arrival of the Minnesota Timberwolves as an expansion NBA franchise in 1989, only to see the NHL's North Stars depart for Dallas in 1993. The Twin Cities regained their status with the NHL's expansion Minnesota Wild in 2000.
- Greater Los Angeles became a four-sport city in 1967 and remained so for 28 years. In fact, for two years (1993–1995) it joined New York as the only cities with two teams in each of the four major sports (MLB's Dodgers and Angels, NFL's Rams and Raiders, NBA's Lakers and Clippers, and NHL's Kings and Ducks). However, Los Angeles lost both of its NFL teams in 1995. The Rams moved back to Los Angeles in 2016, restoring the city to four-sport status, in addition, the city also has regained its status as one of the two cities to have two teams from each league with the former San Diego Chargers moving there to become the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles FC joining MLS in 2018.
If the American Basketball Association (1967–1976) is considered to have been a major professional sports league, additional cities formerly made the list. In addition to the MLB Pirates, the NFL Steelers and the NHL Penguins; Pittsburgh also hosted the ABA's Pittsburgh Condors, originally called the Pipers, in 1967 and from 1969 until the team's demise in 1972. Similarly, if the ABA is counted, St. Louis would have regained four-sport status between 1974 and 1976, when the city was home to the Spirits of St. Louis. Also, Minneapolis–St. Paul was a four-sport city from 1967 to 1969, having hosted the ABA's Minnesota Muskies in 1967–68 and the Minnesota Pipers in 1968–69.
If the World Hockey Association (1972–1979) were considered to have been a major league, Houston would have made the list; the Houston Aeros operated from 1972 to 1978, but were ultimately left out of the NHL-WHA merger negotiations and folded before the merger. Under the same assumption, Cleveland would have joined the four-sports club in 1972 with the arrival of the WHA Cleveland Crusaders, which were displaced in 1976 by the NHL's Barons.
If the ABA and WHA are both considered to have been major leagues, then San Diego would have made the list from fall 1974 through fall 1975. Alongside the MLB Padres (since 1969) and the AFL/NFL Chargers (1961 to 2016), there were the ABA Conquistadors/Sails (1972–1975) and the WHA Mariners (1974–1977).
Major League SoccerEdit
Major League Soccer in the United States was founded in 1993, and has been active since 1996. Of the 13 metro areas with Big Four teams, 10 also host MLS franchises as well. Detroit, Miami, and Phoenix currently do not have Major League Soccer teams, though an expansion team for Miami is planned.
MLS teams that play outside city limits are indicated in italics, followed by their locations of play.
One other metropolitan area with teams in the four larger leagues also previously held five-sport status, Miami (Miami Fusion). Miami will resume being a five-sport city with Inter Miami CF, scheduled to begin MLS play in 2020.
The San Francisco Bay Area lost five-sport status after the Earthquakes moved to Houston to become the Dynamo in 2006 but regained it with the reactivated Earthquakes in 2008.
Of cities that formerly held four-sport status, only Atlanta and Kansas City have current MLS franchises.
No Ohio city can claim five-sport (or four-sport) status, but the state itself can via Cleveland and Columbus (as well as Cincinnati) sports teams with Columbus Crew SC plus, from 2019 forward, FC Cincinnati.
The debut of MLS's Toronto FC in 2007 gives Toronto five professional sports teams, although its football team plays in the Canadian Football League.
Notes and referencesEdit
- Nielsen DMA Rankings
- "Population and Housing Occupancy Status: 2010 - United States -- Combined Statistical Area; and for Puerto Rico". United States Census Bureau. 2010. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "American FactFinder". Factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
- "Commissioner announces Toronto plan for Bills". National Football League. Associated Press. 2008-02-01. Retrieved 2008-02-08.