Atlantic Cities

Is San Francisco Really America's Next Title Town?

If the San Francisco 49ers beat the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, the City by the Bay would become the latest city to win national titles for both football and baseball in a single season. As The Associated Press reports (via The Huffington Post):

San Francisco is trying to become the first market to win a World Series and Super Bowl in the same season since the Boston Red Sox accomplished it in 2004 and the New England Patriots followed suit in February 2005.

But how does San Francisco stack up in terms of pro sports championships overall?

To get this, UCLA's Patrick Adler updated his original analysis (I wrote about it on Cities a year ago) which examines how United States and Canada metros stack up in terms of pro sports championships. Adler's analysis covers the four major professional sports — football, baseball, basketball, and hockey — and tracks total championships by metro since these leagues began. The Martin Prosperity Institute's Zara Matheson mapped Adler's updated data.


Map by MPI's Zara Matheson*

The first map (above) shows total pro sports championships by metro. New York tops the list with 60 total championships, and Boston takes second place with 33. San Francisco, one of the two Super Bowl contenders, is pretty far behind, in seventh place with 18 titles. Baltimore takes 12th place with nine championships.

In his original analysis, Adler also calculated a new metric — a "Championship Location Quotient" or CLQ — to gauge the rate of championships in light of varying metro populations. It is based on a location quotient which compares a metro's relative share of the major league home population with its relative share of championships. A ratio of 1.0 means a metro's share is exactly in line with the pattern for all major league cities. It's worth pointing out that our championship location quotient measure will be more skewed than a traditional location quotient since it considers only 47 of some 350-plus metro areas. The second map below charts the pattern.


Map by MPI's Zara Matheson*

Green Bay tops the list with a staggering CLQ of 22, meaning the metro has won 22 times the number of championships (all of them in football) than its size would predict. Boston is again second with a CLQ of three. Both San Francisco and Baltimore have won more championships than their predicted share. San Francisco takes eighth place with a CLQ of 1.7, while Baltimore is 10th with a CLQ of 1.4.

San Francisco's teams have certainly done well recently, but not too much better than Baltimore over time.

* Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Charlotte, not Raleigh, as the winner of  North Carolina's single title.

Richard Florida is Co-Founder and Editor at Large at The Atlantic Cities. He's also a Senior Editor at The Atlantic, Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, and Global Research Professor at New York University. He is a frequent speaker to communities, business and professional organizations, and founder of the Creative Class Group, whose current client list can be found here. All posts »

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