When it comes to pro leagues, North America is a sports fanatic’s paradise. Not only do the MLB, MLS, NBA, and NHL share territory in Canada, but the countries’ individual CFL and NFL leagues for football also see a large number of crossover fans.
But not all territories have the same number of pro sports teams, nor the same quality of fans, records, and stadiums. Inevitably, these factors will make a huge difference to which areas a traveling sports fan will choose to visit. When it comes to US cities and states, the number of quality options can be narrowed down based on expectations.
Keep reading for profiles on which US states are best for sports fans who are looking for the best of fandoms, franchises, and all-around experience.
The All-Around Experience: Pennsylvania
When it comes to the sheer number of pro sports options, cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia go the distance. Pittsburgh is home to the MLB’s Pirates, the NHL’s Penguins, and the NFL’s Steelers. Meanwhile, Philadelphia is home to the MLB’s Phillies, the NHL’s Flyers, the NFL’s Eagles, the NBA’s 76ers, and the MLS’s Union.
Local fans are passionate, while the state’s recent rollout of online sportsbooks has led to plenty of renewed interest. Aside from top sports franchises, stadiums, and sports betting opportunities, Pennsylvania has one leg up on the competition: the development of its gaming industry. In Pennsylvania, sportsbooks have co-launched with existing casinos as per state legislation.
This means the best gambling apps in PA have partnered with leading sportsbooks, which makes moving between moneylines and blackjack a seamless experience from a mobile device. The same goes for in-person opportunities, as most casinos now have a live retail sportsbook inside.
The Flashy Franchises: California
Similar to Texas, New York, and Florida, California’s booming population means there are pro sports teams throughout the state from San Diego to Sacramento to San Francisco. Though Sacramento’s NBA team hasn’t managed to put itself on the map, and San Diego recently saw its NFL team move north to Los Angeles, the state is home to some of the flashiest franchises in sports history.
In the world of basketball, in particular, Los Angeles is home to the Lakers and the Clippers. The Lakers are one of the most winning teams in the league’s history, though the Clippers have recently challenged this legacy. Up north, San Francisco’s Warriors team are also one of the league’s fiercest competitors.
Meanwhile, the MLB’s crosstown rivalry between the Dodgers and the Angels is one of the most rewarding pro sports rivalries to be a part of. The only difference between other rivalries, such as those between cross-state rivals like the Pirates and Phillies, is the weather… which will make a huge difference for travelers.
The Fan-Fare: Washington and Florida
So far, we’ve covered two states that offer an all-around sporting experience and a series of intriguing, dynastic franchises. However, when it comes to fanfare, Washington and Florida place high for their all-around dedication to their teams.
In Washington State, visitors will be impressed by Seattle’s organized fandom. Locals take great pride in their teams, while the franchises have also gone above and beyond to create functional, comfortable, and personalized stadiums and arenas. Even better, Seattle is home to one of the best WNBA teams, the Seattle Storm, who helped put the women’s league on the map in the last two decades.
Florida, in a similar vein, has a penchant for supporting its teams no matter how dismal their records are—and having fun while doing it. This is especially relevant in Miami, where the NFL’s Dolphins franchise has struggled since 2000. However, with other powerhouse teams like the NBA’s Heat, there’s still a tangible buzz when it comes to local support for pro sports teams that can be felt during a live game.