Sports-minded people, like us, try to keep up with what’s going on in the industry, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s soccer, football, hockey or baseball. Our interest is well supported too with a high number of teams in the United States.
- NFL: The National Football League has 32 teams nationwide.
- MLB: Major League Baseball has 30 teams.
- MLS: Major League Soccer has 22 teams.
- NBA: The National Basketball Association has 30 teams.
So, no matter what time of year, we can count on finding a sports activity on television. They all get a piece of American action with the NFL topping the most revenue list, as of 2015, at a whopping $13 billion. MLB comes in second with $9.5 billion, followed by the NBA at $4.8 billion, and the NHL is closing in with $3.7 billion. There is no question that American sports are a multi-billion-dollar industry. The NFL also tops the list in attendance, too, with 68,400 individuals in average attendance. That number is more than double the competition that came in second, MLB. And that doesn’t take any college or high school sports into consideration.
Popularity of Sports
All that information may lead you to ask, why in the world are we so obsessed with sports?
- From the time we’re in elementary school, sports are an encouraged part of our lives. Once you’re in high school, and the college scouts start their search for the most promising athletes to attend their schools, sports can be a ticket to a four-year college degree, all on sports scholarships. You can bet that all kinds of carrots are dangling about to entice players to the best colleges with the strongest sports programs. With no disrespect, many college coaches and administrators are willing to turn their heads on inappropriate behavior to keep the right kids on the field or the court. Does that perpetuate unacceptable behavior at the professional level? Maybe you can make that call.
- America tends to worship the big sports teams and the hottest players. There is no question that these men and women work hard for their money even in their off-season. When you think about their contributions to society, some will say it’s simply entertainment. We invite you to tell us your thoughts on that topic!
- Money, money, and more money! Sports stars bring in healthy salaries for their efforts, and many of us are in awe of those numbers, even though we know we are likely never to know the thrills associated with $20 million. C’mon man, what could you do with that kind of money? When you consider the money spent on sports gear, tickets, pay per view, Sunday Ticket deals, memorabilia, and more, can you say $422 billion per year? It’s the fans that have made the sports industry what it is today.
- Competition and winning is the emphasis, and who doesn’t respond to a winner? Winning is the goal and with it comes influence, material possessions and a good deal of envy.
- The media offers an incredible amount of coverage to the sports industry, which is another reason, most of us become drawn into following sports and the players.
The top ten sports teams in the US remain fairly consistent; however, depending on individual opinions, Facebook likes, Twitter followers, or whatever myriad of other ways to divide and conquer, the placement within the top ten may vary. Let’s countdown:
Number Ten: NBA’s Miami Heat
The Heat is number six in the assist rate in the NBA; they lead the league in three-point shooting and overall shooting percentage, which indicates they have little problem getting open shots. They fill the number one slot for offensive efficiency and the fifth most per game points. Coach extraordinaire, Pat Riley and unselfish, team-minded players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are four other reasons for popularity on the Heat’s court.
Number Nine: NBA’s Chicago Bulls
You may hear the Bulls referred to as the best team ever! And they have a history of incredible coaching with Phil Jackson and players like Michael Jordan, whose legacy continues to carry the team’s popularity. They have an estimated 3.5 billion fans, worldwide and rank second in the most merchandise sold (behind Golden State Warrior champs). Forward Scottie Pippen, guard Derrick Rose and the infamous power forward Dennis Rodman have aided in the popularity of the windy city’s team as well.
Number Eight: NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder
At the Thunder’s core, MVP, Russell Westbrook, and Paul George continue to be pillars of the team and the recent addition of former Syracuse standout, Carmelo Anthony is likely to spring the team’s popularity forward. The departure of Kevin Durant and the perceived “beef” between him and Russel Westbrook continues to make headlines, and then there’s Enes Kanter, who is a terrific talker and doesn’t mind being candid with the media or fans.
Number Seven: NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers
The Laker’s have always been a formidable team with lots of wins, and they are the second most successful team in the NBA. They also have 16 championships under their belt. Names like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant never hurts.
Number Six: NFL’s New York Giants
It goes without saying that Michael Strahan, Phil Simms, Frank Gifford, and Lawrence Taylor did their part to make the Giants more popular. Now, Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, Jr. are working to continue their popularity. Like most teams, they have their ups and downs, and some crazy, last-minute hail-Mary success. With a 90-year history, eight titles, and 19 championship games, they are the only team to win two titles in the most recent eight seasons.
Despite these successes, some will tell you the team is cursed. Haunted by injuries, many that killed promising careers and a few “off the field” concerns give the media fodder for more chatter. Remember Plaxico Burress, who accidentally shot himself in a nightclub? Steve Smith, Pro-Bowler wide receiver had his career cut short at the age of 25 with a career-ending knee injury. The Giants have suffered through more injuries than any other NFL franchise. Maybe they are cursed, yet sports experts remain optimistic about their 2017 season. Go, Giants!
Number Five: NFL’s Washington Redskins
Established in 1932, the “skins” have consistently been an NFL favorite. They have won five championships and are one of only five teams to rack up over 600 wins during the regular and postseason games (as of 2015). Forbes Magazine shares that Washington is the fifth most valuable franchise in the NFL as of 2017 and they are valued this year at nearly three billion dollars. When you think of the Redskins, several names come to mind instantly. George Allen head coach during the 70s, Joe Gibbs covered that position during the 80s, quarterback Joe Theismann, tight end Chris Cooley and of course the effervescent Clinton Portis, all of whom were significant contributors to the team’s popularity.
Number Four: NBA’s New York Knicks
No one really “gets” why the Knicks are so popular because they are not historically a winning team. Some say New York just has a “streetball” culture because there is a hoop on nearly every corner in the city. Finally, the city is world renowned, could that be why? Some tie the Jersey Shore reality show to the team, which is mostly unfavorable, and others give credit to the passionate, loud and allegedly obnoxious fans. In any case, hope they get to enjoy a winning season soon!
Number Three: NFL’s New England Patriots
Despite the negativity surrounding the infamous “deflate-gate” incident in 2015 against then, Peyton Manning’s Colts loss to the Patriots 45 to seven, quarterback Tom Brady and Head Coach Bill Belichick are two of the most famous men in the NFL. If you’re not a fan, then you must fall in the “love to hate ‘em” category. Don’t forget the 2007 alleged videotaping of the Jets coaches during the game. There was “punishment” involved in both incidents. Owner Robert Kraft is also a visible and vocal force in the media, and with a net worth, estimated to exceed six billion dollars, he can be most influential.
Number Two: MLB’s New York Yankees
If baseball is America’s game, why aren’t the Yankees America’s team? They have an impressive 40 former players in the Hall of Fame; including, Derek Jeter, Micky Mantle, Babe Ruth, Yogi Bera, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio. Is there anyone alive who hasn’t heard of them? Don’t think so! Twenty-seven championships, 40 pennants, and a larger than life history, the team is also known for being a bit boisterous, too wealthy, too excessive, and just too much! Their tickets are among the highest in the league, and some say, so is their arrogance. Another case of love to hate ‘em? Could be!
Number 1: NFL’s Dallas Cowboys
Yes, we finally arrived at America’s team! Most popular and most hated NFL team and frankly only a mediocre force in the NFL. There are lots of suspected answers to the question of “why are they America’s team?” and we’ll just name a few.
- The first general manager, Tex Schramm knew how to market brands, and gets well-deserved credit for growing both the NFL name and the Cowboys. Then owner, Clint Murchison, Jr gave Tex a long leash and free rein.
- Also thanks to Tex, the cheerleaders were part of the marketing plan, and while most squads are independent, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are part of the franchise.
- Tex also influenced adding instant replay, wind direction flags on the goal posts, and miking the ref features. He also added the extra stripes to the 20 and 50-yard lines, which at first allowed the nation to recognize that the playing field belonged to the Cowboys.
- Following the Tom Landry era, the team began to decline into the 80s when the team’s current owner, Jerry Jones bought the franchise. Another acclaimed marketing genius and egomaniac, if Mr. Jones can manage to win a few more Lombardi trophies, the “boys” will stay in the forefront.
Who is your favorite team America? Share with us the “who” and the “why.”