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.
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.
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:
All graphs and tables made using Google Spreadsheet