Which state has won the most professional sports championships?

Which states (along with the nation’s capital Washington D.C.) have the most professional championships in the five biggest team sports in America? For the purposes of this article, I counted all championships won in each of the leagues listed below for football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer.

Which leagues are counted towards championships? 

Football (American Football): NFL, AFL, AAFC, USFL, Arena League, CFL

Basketball: NBA, ABA, NBL, WNBA

Baseball: MLB (NL+AL), NAPBBP, Union Association, American Association

*For baseball before the World Series (1903, 1905-present), I counted championships for which team won the pennant for that year. All World Series before 1903 were considered exhibitions, so I did not count them.

Hockey: NHL, WHA, PCHA, WCHA

Soccer (Football): MLS, NWSL (plus predecessors WPS and WUSA)

States with the most championships

Out of the 50 states and D.C., only 26/51 (50.98%) have one at least one championship in any of these five sports. The top four states of New York, California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania 223 championships. All other states and D.C. combined have 268.

Out of New York’s 66 championships, the Yankees have 27 (40.90%) of them. In fact, the Yankees alone have more World Series titles than all but six states (counting NY minus the Yankees total) have fewer total championships across these five sports.

States with the most professional championships

Below is a table showing the number of championships each state has won in each sport. The states with N/A never had a team in that sport in any of the above leagues mentioned.

State Football Basketball Baseball Hockey Soccer Total
Alabama 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Alaska N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Arizona 5 3 1 0 N/A 9
Arkansas N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
California 14 20 18 3 9 64
Colorado 5 0 0 2 1 8
Connecticut 0 0 0 0 N/A 0
Delaware N/A N/A 0 N/A N/A 0
Florida 11 3 2 1 0 17
Georgia 0 0 1 0 0 1
Hawaii N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Idaho N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Illinois 12 7 13 6 1 39
Indiana 1 7 N/A N/A N/A 8
Iowa 0 0 0 N/A N/A 0
Kansas N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Kentucky 0 1 1 N/A N/A 2
Louisiana 1 0 N/A N/A N/A 1
Maine N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Maryland 7 1 6 N/A 0 14
Massachusetts 5 17 22 6 0 50
Michigan 10 6 5 11 N/A 32
Minnesota 0 10 2 0 0 12
Mississippi N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Missouri 2 1 16 0 4 23
Montana N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Nebraska N/A 0 N/A N/A N/A 0
Nevada 0 0 N/A 0 N/A 0
New Hampshire N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
New Jersey 0 0 0 3 1 4
New Mexico N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
New York 12 7 37 8 2 66
North Carolina 0 0 N/A 1 1 2
North Dakota N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Ohio 13 4 8 0 1 26
Oklahoma 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Oregon 0 1 N/A 0 3 4
Pennsylvania 15 4 17 7 0 43
Rhode Island 1 0 2 N/A N/A 3
South Carolina N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
South Dakota N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Tennessee 0 0 N/A 0 N/A 0
Texas 8 12 1 1 2 24
Utah N/A 1 N/A N/A 1 2
Vermont N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Virginia N/A N/A 0 N/A N/A 0
Washington 2 3 0 1 1 7
Washington D.C. 5 1 1 1 5 13
West Virginia N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Wisconsin 13 4 1 N/A N/A 18
Wyoming N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0

States with three or fewer championships

Georgia: Atlanta Braves 1995 World Series (MLB)

Louisiana: New Orleans Saints 2009 Super Bowl (NFL)

Kentucky: Kentucky Colonels 1975 ABA Champions (ABA), Louisville Colonels 1890 pennant winners (AA)

Utah: Utah Stars 1971 ABA Champions (ABA), Real Salt Lake 2009 MLS Cup (MLS)

North Carolina: Carolina Hurricanes 2006 Stanley Cup (NHL), Carolina Courage 2002 Founders Cup Champions (WUSA)

Rhode Island: Providence Steam Roller 1928 NFL Championship (NFL), Providence Grays 1879 and 1884 pennant winners (NL)

Some interesting facts from this information

  • Pennsylvania has the most football championships (15)
  • California has the most basketball championships (20)
  • California has the most soccer championships (9)
  • New York has the most baseball championships (37)
  • Michigan has the most hockey championships (11)
  • Ohio is tied for the 3rd most football championships even though a team from the state has not won since the Browns captured their last NFL Championship in 1964.
  • Rhode Island has as many or more football championships then North Carolina, Georgia, Minnesota, Louisiana, Indiana, and Tennessee. This is despite all these states currently having NFL teams.
  • Despite being the smallest state, Rhode Island has more championships than 31 states.
  • Maryland is the only state to have won a Grey Cup when the Baltimore Stallions won it in 1995 during the CFL’s brief expansion into America.
  • 17 states have never had a professional team in any of the five major sports.

 

Sources and Info:

Featured Image: “USA State Flag Map” by WonderWhy is licensed under CC BY-2.0

All graphs and tables made using Google Spreadsheet

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/

http://www.remembertheafl.com/AFL.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-America_Football_Conference

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Football_League#1983

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Grey_Cup_champions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ArenaBowl

http://www.nba.com/history/nba-season-recaps/

http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ABA_champions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Basketball_League_(United_States)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WNBA_Finals

http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Association_of_Professional_Base_Ball_Players

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_National_League_pennant_winners

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_League_pennant_winners

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Association

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Association_(19th_century)

http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=25426

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Hockey_Association

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Canada_Hockey_League

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Coast_Hockey_Association

http://www.mlssoccer.com/history/mls-cup

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Women%27s_Soccer_League

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_Professional_Soccer

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_United_Soccer_Association

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