“It’s not about winning.”
That’s what our childhood sports coaches all used to say. “It’s not about winning. It’s about loving the game.” In retrospect, sure, the love of the game is what keeps us coming back for more, but let’s be honest: Winning feels pretty damn good too.
For professional sports athletes in America, winning is everything. They work tirelessly, day in and day out, towards securing a championship trophy. Some are more successful than others, with fans across the country experiencing varying degrees of glory.
Perhaps the greatest glory comes when a city wins championships across leagues in the same year. The energy is infectious, and the bragging rights are well earned. Want to know which cities have the biggest reserve of that winning energy? We thought you’d never ask.
Keep reading for a list of American cities with the most championships.
Building a great sports city is no small feat, though as you’ll see below, sometimes it’s a pure numbers game. The more teams a city has, the more likely it is to rack up championships.
The following list includes the numbers for championships across the five professional men’s sports leagues in America; The NFL, the MLB, the MLS, the NHL, and the NBA. We’re not going to touch college sports because that’s a whoooole different blog.
Number of Championships: 61
New York never sleeps because they’re too busy winning games. Sure, the city’s championships are impressive but consider how many teams we’re talking about here. New York has eleven major sports teams, including the New York Yankees, making up for a whopping 27 of those 61 championship rings. That’s a whole lot of pennants for the pinstripes.
Number of Championships: 40
To no surprise of anyone watching football in the last decade, next up is Boston. In truth, the Patriots are responsible for only six of those wins, having achieved an incredible stretch of championship games throughout the 21st century. The foundation for Boston’s winning record actually comes from the Celtics, who have won 17 NBA championships.
The Red Sox were kind of known for losing for nearly 100 years before the 2004 team broke the Curse of the Bambino. Since then, the team has achieved incredible success, winning four World Series in less than twenty years.
Number of Championships: 32
Not many people around today were alive to see it but there once was a time when the Chicago Bears were playoff masters. The Bears make up for nine of Chicago’s 32 championship rings, having won a bunch of titles before the NFL/AFL merger and one Super Bowl in 1985. Chicago also used to boast one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Do the words Michael Jordan ring a bell? Yeah, we thought so.
Number of Championships: 32
Similar to New York, Los Angeles has numbers on its side. The city also hosts eleven major sports teams. You might think that LA merely has more titles because they have more teams, but the city actually has overachieved when it comes to odds. The Lakers are responsible for nearly half of the city’s championship wins, with 17 under their belt, most recently in 2020.
Four Lakers have won the NBA’s MVP Award — Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant.
Number of Championships: 22
Moving northeast, next up on the list is Detroit. Unsurprisingly, Motor City makes the cut for the Top 10 mainly because of its Red Wings hockey team. Founded in 1926, the team is one of the oldest franchises in the NHL. They hold the number three spot for most Stanley Cup wins with eleven. Suffice it to say, they’re leading the Detroit victory parade, and the Tigers, Pistons, and Lions are grateful to them.
Number of Championships: 22
Sports fans in the Bay Area enjoy three city’s worth of teams — San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland — so there’s never a dull moment. As far as leagues go, Bay Area teams are all pulling their own weight, with no clear star. In the last ten years, the Golden State Warriors have collected a few rings, as have the Giants, making San Fran one of the most decorated cities of the 2010s.
Number of Championships: 19
On the other coast is Philadelphia, our No. 7 spot for cities with the most championships. A lot of Philly’s glory on the field dates a ways back, with the Athletics (which moved to Oakland) and the Eagles (pre-AFL merge) contributing to most of the wins. In 1980, Philadelphia became the only city to send each of their major sports teams to the final championships. The Phillies were the only team to emerge victoriously, but that’s still an accomplishment that cements Philadelphia’s spot as a top ten sports city.
Number of Championships: 17
Pennsylvania is a big state, and so it appears twice on this list, with Pittsburgh coming up next. The Steelers are responsible for much of Pittsburgh’s success with six Super Bowl titles. The team is tied with the New England Patriots for the most Super Bowl wins of all time. Not bad for a franchise that spent the first four decades of its history towards the bottom of the standings.
Number of Championships: 14
Up next, we’re taking to the skies with the St. Louis Cardinals leading the way. With eleven World Series wins, the team is the pride of the city. The Cardinals are one of the oldest baseball teams in the country, dating back to 1882. They won their first championship in 1926 against the Yankees. That’s what we call a legacy.
Number of Championships: 13
Last but not least, our number ten slot belongs to the nation’s capital. There are a couple of legacy franchises in D.C. doing the heaviest lifting. The Washington Football Team (soon to be renamed, we hope) has won three Super Bowls and their soccer club, D.C. United is one of the most decorated teams in the league, with four MLS cups to their name.
If we can sum up what most of these cities have in common, we’d use only one word: legacy. It can take time to build successful franchises, and as athletic salaries only increase, competition for the best players is only getting more intense. Still, the cities with the most trophies never fail to impress us, especially when teams across leagues contribute to the greater good.
Which city is your city? Check out our local collection of vintage-feel t-shirts that will help you root, root, root for the home team.