CoachUp Presents: 5 Cities Without Professional Sports Teams
When the Cleveland Cavaliers shook off the Golden State Warriors in seven games to win the NBA Finals, they finally got the city their first professional championship since 1964. Outlets around the country are busy crowning the next city with a major drought — but some people aren’t as lucky. In fact, some fans don’t have a single franchise within reasonable driving distance from them, making them truly unfortunate. For the list below, these are some huge cities that don’t have the luxury of a hometown team — so, before we wax poetic about the San Diego Chargers and a new curse, let’s take a moment to remember those in even worse situations.
First on our list is Louisville, Kentucky — although it’s home to the Kentucky Derby and the first-ever baseball bat, that’s apparently not enough to give this city a team. The University of Louisville is popular and won a Men’s Basketball championship in 2013, however, that’s about it. With a metropolitan population of 1 million, Louisville’s closest sports city is Cincinnati — 100 miles away.
Despite having 1.2 million residents in the greater-Hartford area, Connecticut currently has its own drought of hometown teams. Historically, the Hartford Whalers were an NHL team that existed from 1974-1997 before they became the Carolina Hurricanes — but after that, the well is completely dry. As far as college sports go, Hartford does have the successful University of Connecticut nearby, which is great, although it forces most other fans down there to settle for the Red Sox or Yankees.
Austin, Texas is already home to the University of Texas Longhorns — one of the most successful Division 1 schools in the nation, but what else? In many ways, it fills the void of a professional sports franchise with all the major cities around it, but the yearning for a team of its own subsists. With the Cowboys, Stars, Mavericks, Spurs, Rockets, Astros, Rangers, and Dynamo all within the state, there’s plenty to root for in the meantime. With 1.5 million people in the major area, Austin could certainly handle the viewership.
Omaha, Nebraska is not as big as most others on this list with just 900,000 mere metro occupants. They already have the annual College World Series so there is a clear market for baseball, but could it support a full-fledged professional team? Creighton University gives the city a college athletic team to root for — but the itch for higher level games can’t be scratched. Being 190 miles from Kansas City, they don’t have a neighborhood option.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico is the last city on our list — but is their claim greater than everybody else’s. There are only 420,000 residents in the city, however, considering there are 3.5 million residents on the island territory, there’s a big population of fans to pull from. Baseball is the most popular sport in Puerto Rico and they even have their own professional league: the Puerto Rico Baseball League.
Of course, this is the only city on our list not located in one of the fifty states — but it would provide a special opportunity nonetheless. It’s the furthest from a major sports city by a large margin — Miami is 1,000 miles away and is, obviously, not easy to travel to for a day at the ballpark.
Did we miss any? What’s your situation? Let us know in the comments!