There's a banner we did not see very often in Philips Arena for Thrashers' games: playoffs.
Good morning. Did Atlanta just drop out of the majors?
This probably would carry a little more weight if Los Angeles still had an NFL team (which remains the funniest thing in sports, only because it drives Roger Goodell nuts). But when Atlanta was officially mugged by Atlanta Spirit, LLC and the NHL on Tuesday and the Thrashers were sold and moved to Winnipeg, the city dropped out of an elite group. There are only 12 remaining metropolitan areas that still have teams in all four pro sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL). Those 12: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco (San Jose), Boston, Washington, Detroit, Phoenix (until the Coyotes move), Minneapolis, Denver and Miami.
Atlanta is now the second-biggest market (behind only Los Angeles) that doesn’t have teams in all four leagues. The second tier group of seven cities with teams in three leagues: L.A. (no NFL), Atlanta (no NHL), Houston (no NHL), Tampa (no NBA), Cleveland (no NHL), St. Louis (no NBA) and Pittsburgh (no NBA).
What I’ve done below is list every U.S. city with at least one pro sports team. This was kind of a tedious exercise, so if I missed a team let me know and I’ll recommend you for an editor’s opening.
I’ve ranked the cities by what Nielsen refers to as “designated market area,” which factors in some secret combination of population, media outlets and I think number of Wendy’s. Atlanta is the No. 8 media market in the country. The only others in the top 15 without teams in the four sports are No. 2 L.A., No. 10 Houston, No. 13 Seattle (which has only two teams after the Sonics were highjacked) and No. 14 Tampa-St. Petersburg.
Here’s the list. And here’s my question for you: Did Atlanta just become less of a major sports city without the Thrashers?
Let me know what you think.
(Market rank, metropolitan area (sports): MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL.)
1. New York-New Jersey (4): Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Islanders, Devils.
2. Los Angeles (3): Dodgers, Angels, Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Ducks.
3. Chicago (4): Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks.
4. Philadelphia (4): Phillies, Eagles, Sixers, Flyers.
5. Dallas/Ft. Worth (4): Rangers, Cowboys, Mavericks, Stars.
6. SanFran/SJ/Oak (4): Giants, A’s, 49ers, Raiders, Warriors, Sharks.
7. Boston (4): Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, Bruins.
8. Atlanta (3): Braves, Falcons, Hawks.
9. Washington (4): Nationals, Redskins, Wizards, Capitals.
10. Houston (3): Astros, Texans, Rockets.
11. Detroit (4): Tigers, Lions, Pistons, Red Wings.
12. Phoenix (4): Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Suns, Coyotes.
13. Seattle (2): Mariners, Seahawks.
14. Tampa-St. Pete. (3): Rays, Buccaneers, Lightning.
15. Minneapolis-St. Paul (4): Twins, Vikings, Timberwolves, Wild.
16. Denver (4): Rockies, Broncos, Nuggets, Avalanche.
17. Miami (4): Dolphins, Marlins, Heat, Panthers.
18. Cleveland (3): Indians, Browns, Cavaliers.
19. Orlando (1): Magic.
20. Sacramento (1): Kings.
21. St. Louis (3): Cardinals, Rams, Blues.
22. Portland (1): Trailblazers.
23. Pittsburgh (3): Pirates, Steelers, Penguins.
24. Charlotte (2): Panthers, Bobcats.
25. Indianapolis (2): Pacers, Colts.
26. Raleigh-Durham (1): Hurricanes.
27. Baltimore (2):Orioles, Ravens.
28. San Diego (2): Padres, Chargers.
29. Nashville (2): Predators, Titans.
31. Salt Lake City (1): Jazz.
32. Kansas City (2): Chiefs, Royals.
33. Cincinnati (2): Bengals, Reds.
34. Columbus (1): Blue Jackets.
35. Milwaukee (2): Bucks, Brewers.
37. San Antonio (1): Spurs.
45. Oklahoma City (1): Thunder.
47. Jacksonville (1): Jaguars.
50. Memphis (1): Grizzlies.
51. New Orleans (2): Saints, Hornets.
52. Buffalo (2): Bills, Sabres.
70. Green Bay-Appleton (1): Packers.
(Canadian cities with teams not included: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg.)
By Jeff Schultz