Ultimately, when it comes to the nation's major sports markets, the D. Heroes, villains, the whole nine.
The fans could be better, but you know what? So could the teams.
It's amazing how that happens. A handful of outliers aside, it's pretty easy to see the good teams have good fans, the bad teams have bad fans and a change in either direction probably brings a direct correlation more often than not. With that in mind, the area may be on the ups, with exciting young stars lighting up different teams in both cities.
Better times could be on the horizon, but that's been the story for a while now. A lack of recent success in the major sports hurt the city, as did a lacking history in terms of championships. To be a truly great sports city, more wins in the present and more banners from the past are required.
All that said, Minneapolis is likely one of America's most underrated sports cities. There are top-notch venues for a wide variety of teams, including beautiful Target Field and the consistently rocking Xcel Energy Center. The Vikings' new stadium is now on the horizon as well.
Adrian Peterson and hometown heroes Joe Mauer and Zach Parise provide the perfect mix of elite, rare talent and feel-good stories. All three are huge draws. Throw in a year-round craving for another winner, a strong media presence and unique fan experiences, and Minneapolis offers just about everything you'd want in a sports city.
Forget about the occasionally miserable weather; Minneapolis is still one of the better sports hubs in the country.
Click here for the full Minneapolis ranking. There are plenty of options and usually a couple of those teams are doing well at some point. General fan experience and passion may be lacking a bit, but Detroit has a great history and a some quality stars worth the price of admission.
Though it comes in at just No.
Click here for the full Detroit ranking. On balance, though, the Bay Area grades out pretty well. And if you're choosy about which teams you support or which stadiums you frequent, your own experience can be far better than the overall score above indicates.
Click here for the full Bay Area ranking. Since the four major sports in Arizona have brought the city just one championship, Phoenix fans tend to be a humble and grounded bunch.
They understand how difficult it is for teams to win on the highest stage and sustain that level of success for long periods. When titles start to become expected as the norm, it breeds a stance of arrogance toward other sports lovers.
Phoenix is devoid of that by default. That fact doesn't work in Phoenix's favor, but each team still has a loyal niche of diehard followers. Being a sports fan in the Phoenix area is often met with disappointment, but who doesn't love a good underdog? Click here for the full Phoenix ranking.
The Nuggets are no great shakes either, having missed the playoffs last season and losing some of their star power in recent years.
But Peyton Manning is here. The Avs are on the rise. And no matter what, people in Denver have plenty of sports to choose from. It's one of America's top sports towns and probably always will be. Click here for the full Denver ranking.
But per capita, it just might lead the country in accessibility, variety and overall fan experience.
Click here for the full Milwaukee ranking. Indy is now able to handle anything from high school basketball state championships to the Super Bowl with equal aplomb.
The combination of top-notch facilities, a walkable downtown, a diverse experience on and off the court and a Hoosier spirit that's infused into every event makes Indy an ideal destination for nearly every event, big and small.
Super Bowl? Final Four? National championship? Bring it on. In many ways, it is and will continue to be.
Downtown has become the spoke for the city, but its engine is sports. Click here for the full Indianapolis ranking. Click here for the full Chicago ranking. The fans are passionate yet respectful, the city has two of the best young stars in sports with McCutchen and Crosby and few cities have a team that can match the Steelers' legacy.
An NBA team—if it could actually thrive in a community that is largely agnostic toward pro hoops—is the missing ingredient. The city is one poor Penguins season away from going through the first four months on the calendar without a legitimate rooting interest.
Having so much of the winter riding on the Penguins is OK when Crosby is in his prime, not so much in the lulls between superstars. Heinz Field's overall mediocrity and the last half-decade of disappointment from the Steelers also knock the Steel City down a peg. Again, had we done this list in , shoehorning the success of a Super Bowl might have helped.
Instead, Mike Tomlin and Co. Overall, Pittsburgh is an underrated city that doesn't get enough credit among the best U. Which, in a way, is what makes it so great. Click here for the full Pittsburg ranking.
With young, exciting teams on the rise in each of the major sports, you can bet Seattle will continue to make an even bigger ripple among all other cities in sports.
Click here for the full Seattle ranking.