Where is the best sports city in the world?

As a resident of the Boston area for the past few years, I'm been very grateful for the Golden Age of Sport that has descended upon Beantown for the past decade.  The three Super Bowls, two World Series, an NBA World Championship, and countless other exciting playoff runs (next year, Bruins!) have been nothing short of exhilirating. 

They do not, however, make Boston the greatest sports city in North America -- according to one metric, we're only #2.  Lee Sigelman alerts me to this Toronto Star effort to determine the best sports city in North America north of the Rio Grande.  Their answer might surprise you:   

For its relatively diminutive size and low Midwestern profile, Indianapolis is a sporting powerhouse. The city's National Football League Colts and National Basketball Association Pacers have logged wins 66 per cent of the time since 2000.

Perhaps best known for the Indianapolis 500, the city is home to the NCAA and many of its major tournaments, has hosted more than 400 national and international championships since 1980 and will welcome the Super Bowl in 2012.

They built this city on sports, says Bill Benner, a former sports columnist at The Indianapolis Star. "Indianapolis, beginning about 30 years ago, used sports ... as an economic development strategy. Using sports as the cornerstone played out beyond anyone's imagination."

With sporting success has come civic pride, says Stephanie Parks, one-quarter of a diehard Indianapolis family of sports fanatics.

"Being a sports capital is closely tied with the city's sense of self," says the mother of two athletic children seeking to follow in the footsteps of their pro heroes. "We own two businesses and during football season we have `blue Friday,' wherein everyone is to dress up in blue or wear their Colts shirts."

The Star calculated this by calculating, "percentages among professional sports teams in 37 North American cities since 2000" plus "bonus points for making the playoffs or winning a championship."  I'll let my readers quibble about the validity of this measure. 

No, what piques my interest is whether there's a way to go global with this kind of question.  If one factored in other team sports -- soccer non-American football, rugby, cricket -- which metropolis could claim the crown of the Greatest Sporting City in the World?


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