While many fanbases say their metro area tops the list of America’s best sports cities, we have the city that actually has a right to make that claim.

As the year winds down, it is natural to do some reflecting.

We may think about our relationships with the people around us and how we performed at work. We may resolve to do certain things differently when the new year comes.

But let’s face it; a good portion of sports fans’ happiness in 2023 stemmed from teams of people that don’t know we exist. If the teams we root for played well, we have plenty of happy memories to take with us into 2024.

If they didn’t, we’re happy to turn the page and hope the new year brings better tidings.

With that in mind, let’s look at how the 13 American metro areas with at least four big-four (MLB, NBA, NHL and NFL) professional sports franchises treated their fans in 2023. We combined the winning percentage of every team in each area (using points percentage for NHL) for every regular season game this year.

cities win percentage map

This combines multiple seasons for every sport but MLB, but only counts the games that took place from Jan. 1 through Dec. 25, 2023.

1. Philadelphia (Combined Win Percentage: .621)

Philadelphia reigned in regular season winning percentage in 2023 courtesy of a balance among its four squads. The Flyers were the city’s worst team with a .526 winning percentage but finished 29th out of the 63 teams in the 13 metro areas that were ranked courtesy of a strong start to the 2023-24 season. Both the Eagles (.706) and 76ers (.697) were top-10 teams out of 63, and the Phillies, even though they once again looked more formidable in the postseason, had a strong .556 winning percentage in the regular season.

The one thing missing from an excellent sports year in Philly? A championship. The city has only won two championships in the big-four sports in the last 30 years, and although three of its teams had long playoff runs this year (including a Super Bowl appearance), they all fell short. But with four good teams, the chances of Philadelphia adding another title to its city resume soon are higher than most places.

2. Miami (.603)

Like Philadelphia, Miami, Florida, holds its spot courtesy of a balanced quarter of teams. Philadelphia and Miami were two of the best cities in that all their teams in the four big-four leagues finished above .500 in 2023. The surprising Marlins were the worst in the city, though even they finished with a .519 winning percentage and a major-league playoff spot.

The Dolphins (.706) led the way, and were one of seven teams in the 13 metro areas with a  winning percentage above .700. The Panthers (.615) and Heat (.573) both had strong regular seasons, but were even better in the postseason, with both winning their conference and advancing to the finals before losing.

3. Dallas (.576)

Dallas came close to having every team finish above .500, but a disappointing end the 2022-23 season negated a solid start to the 2023-24 season for the Mavericks (.467).

The other three Dallas teams all had solid regular seasons, with the Stars (.658) the strongest of the bunch. The Dallas Cowboys (.625) finished over .600 as well, while the Texas Rangers (.556) were third among the Dallas teams in the regular season. Of course, they had the season to remember, storming through the playoffs and winning the team’s first World Series.

4. Minneapolis (.565)

What a difference a year has made for the Timberwolves (.658), who led Minnesota’s solid year. The team started out slow in 2022-23 and the Rudy Gobert trade looked like a complete disaster. Now, even if most disagree with the trade in hindsight, a strong finish to the 2022-23 season coupled with the best record in West to start the 2023-24 season has everyone feeling optimistic.

The Wild (.596) had a strong season, and the Twins (.537) played well and finally exercised some of their postseason demons by winning a round in the playoffs. The Vikings (.471) have a chance to finish the year at .500 with a win over the Green Bay Packers on the last day of 2023.

5. Boston (.565)

While the other metro areas in the top five have some balance to their winning percentages, Boston had two of the best and one of the worst teams of 2023.

Both the Bruins (.763) and Celtics (.720) finished atop their leagues among the 63 teams in this exercise in winning percentage, and in the top five overall. But Boston is brought down by the New England Patriots (.294), who tied for the third-worst percentage of the 63 professional teams. Only the Red Sox (.481) had a near-average season in Boston.

6. Denver (.546)

Denver had a similar year to Boston that wasn’t quite as dramatic in either direction, with both the Avalanche (.691) and Nuggets (.658) having very strong seasons while the Rockies (.364) dragged down Denver’s year and the Broncos (.471) were somewhere in the middle.

The difference, however, is that the Nuggets brought home the NBA title, making Denver one of the two metro areas on this list (along with Dallas) to lift a trophy this year.

7. New York/New Jersey (.520)

The New York/New Jersey area has a whopping nine teams, and the Rangers (.714) led them all with a dominant regular season. The area was dragged down by the NFL, as the Giants (.353) and Jets (.353) were the two worst teams.

The Devils (.641), Knicks (.608) and Islanders (.577) all had strong seasons, while the New York Yankees (.506), Nets (.467) and Mets (.463) all disappointed relative to expectations.

8. Los Angeles/Anaheim (.508)

The LA/Anaheim area has eight teams in the four major sports and like New York were led by an NHL team. The Kings (.681) and Dodgers (.617) were the two teams in the area over .600, and the Lakers (.571) and Clippers (.548) were the other two that finished above .500.

The Rams (.471) lost their last two games of 2022-23, but were one of the surprises of the NFL in 2023-24. The Angels (.451) lost a lot of games and one of the most singular talents in sports. And the Ducks (.372) and Chargers (.353) are hoping a new year brings better luck.

9. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose (.486)

It’s probably surprising to see the Bay Area under .500 with the 49ers (.765) tied for the best record of any of the 63 teams on the list until you remember the area also hosts the Sharks (.333) and Athletics (.309).

The Warriors (.533) have been good but are no longer in the elite winning percentage category, while the Giants (.488) finished just shy of .500.

10. Detroit (.462)

We highlighted Boston’s polar opposite teams, but no city had two teams with more diametrically opposed regular seasons in 2023 than Detroit. The Lions (.765) were tied with the 49ers for the best record of any teams in the 13 metro areas, while the Pistons (.125) were the worst team by a full .051. With a loss to Toronto on Dec. 30, the Pistons could go a full two months without a win. They’ve already set the NBA record for consecutive losses. Meanwhile, the Lions won their division for the first time since 1993.

The Tigers (.481) bounced back from a disastrous 2022 to being a respectable team, and the Red Wings (.475) are trying to avoid an eighth-straight season with a points percentage under .500. While .462 may not seem like anything to celebrate, Detroit has come a long way in a few years. And with the Lions on the upswing, perhaps the city will keep climbing the sports ranks.

11. Phoenix (.423)

Phoenix is similar to Detroit in that one terrible record is dragging it down, as the Cardinals (.176) have only fared better than the Pistons out of the 63 teams on the list.

Unlike Detroit, Phoenix doesn’t have a team lifting it up. The Suns (.527) were solid, but nowhere near the Lions. The Diamondbacks (.519) were a fine regular season team that made it all the way to the World Series. And the Coyotes (.469), while appearing to be a team on the rise early in 2023-24, struggled to end the 2022-23 season.

12. Chicago (.419)

Chicago didn’t have one team dragging it down like Detroit and Phoenix. Rather, it suffered from having only one of its five teams over .500 (the Cubs at .512) and three of its teams under .400. The Bulls (.481) disappointed and missed the playoffs after losing to the Heat in the play-in, but still easily cleared the White Sox (.377), Blackhawks (.375) and Bears (.353).

The Blackhawks did win the lottery and get Connor Bedard, and Bears look likely to get the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. So things appear to be trending in a better direction.

13. Washington D.C. (.387)

Chicago only had one team over .500, but D.C. couldn’t even manage that. The Capitals (.486) led the way in the nation’s capital, and at least have looked like a solid team in 2023-24.

The rebuilding Nationals (.438) were easily the second-best big-four team because both the Wizards (.329) and the Commanders (.294) finished among the six worst teams on the list.

So while several fanbases like to complain their sports teams are the worst of the 13 metro areas with at least four big-four teams, D.C. fans are the only ones who can back up that claim in 2023.

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