Well here comes part two of my big 4 market rankings. This one will focus on the six markets that have three franchises. If you have not read my rankings of the markets with 1 team or 2 teams you can do so here. A refresher on how my rankings were determined-
There are a few rules I followed in my rankings and are as follows:
- Each market is divided into a classification (1 team, 2 teams, 3 teams, 4 teams) — similar to how high school sports are divided–in order to make it easier to compare.
- MLB and NFL playoff appearances are weighted slightly more because NHL and NBA playoffs have over half of the teams in their leagues in the playoffs.
- For the NBA, NHL and NFL, I use the 2009-2010 seasons as the start of the decade, because the champion of each was crowned in 2010. For example, the Saints were Super Bowl champions in 2010.
- Markets only include teams in the metro area (for example I did not include Green Bay with Milwaukee and Sacramento with the Bay Area.
6 Tampa, Florida (NFL, MLB, NHL)
Largely kept out of misery by the Lightning’s resurgence in the last half of the decade, Tampa still is last in this edition. The Lightning won the President’s Trophy just last season and made a Stanley Cup appearance in 2015 only to fall to the Chicago Blackhawks. Playoff appearances in 11’,14’,15’ and 16’ as well as division titles in 2018 and 2019, have made the Lightning the pride and joy of Tampa. Considering their financial circumstances, the Rays have made a respectable effort the last 10 years, making the playoffs three times and winning the AL East in 2010. They weren’t able to get out of the ALDS in any of their tries. Then theres the Bucs. Zero playoff appearances since 2010 but I will say Jameis Winston does make for some must watch TV.
5 Atlanta, Georgia (NFL, MLB, NBA)
Compared to a lot of other places, Atlanta did not have a terrible decade as far as their professional sports teams go. They might have moved up this list if the Falcons had a 31-3 lead instead of a 28-3 lead late in the 3rd quarter. Either way they made a Super Bowl 51 appearance, won the NFC South 3 times and had two wild card berths. The Atlanta Hawks also made the playoffs eight straight years from 2010-2017 and were the one seed in the Eastern Conference in 2015 before getting swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Braves moved to a shiny new ballpark in 2017 and have hosted playoff games in 2018 and 2019. Two losses in the wild card game (10’ & 12’) and 3 losses in the NLDS (13’,18 & 19’) has left many fans frustrated with the state of Atlanta sports.
4 Toronto, Ontario (MLB, NHL, NBA)
With hockey being king in Canada, you would thing a team from Canada would have won the Stanley Cup recently but unfortunately the Montreal Canadiens championship in the most recent team to do that in 1993. More of the same has came from the Toronto Maple Leafs as they have made four playoff appearances with zero series wins. The city is starved for a hockey winner and Auston Matthews might be the guy to do it. Moving on to the Blue Jays where they made the ALCS in 2015 & 2016 but nothing farther. Both of those seasons coming as the only postseason appearances for the Jays. Kawhi Leonard and the rest of the Raptors gave a championship to a starved city. It had been since the Blue Jays won in ironically enough 1993, since the city had a parade. The Raptors had made the playoffs every year since 2014 but with Kawhi gone, it’s hard to see Toronto repeating.
3 Cleveland, Ohio (NFL, MLB, NBA)
Similar to the Bucs of Tampa Bay, the Cleveland Browns did not crack the playoffs once in the last ten years. As a matter of fact they did not have a single winning season and managed to go 0-16 in the 2017-2018 season. The Indians came within one win of a World Series title in 2016 before losing in game 7 to the Chicago Cubs. Along with that pennant in 2016, they won three straight AL Central titles and made an appearance in the wild card game in 2013. The Cavaliers put Cleveland out of their misery making five playoff appearances, five division titles, four Eastern Conference Championships and ended the championship drought for the city in 2016 by erasing a 3-1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors. Ironically about five months later the Indians blew a 3-1 lead to the Chicago Cubs.
2 Houston, Texas (NFL, MLB, NBA)
Houston has enjoyed playoff success by all three of their teams. Starting with the Houston Texans who have only been in existence since 2002. They have won six division titles since 2010 and have four playoff wins, however they have failed to advance past the divisional round. The Rockets have made the playoffs every season since 2013 and winning the Southwest division in 2015, 2018 as well as 2019. The rockets have not made it all the way to the NBA finals having lost to the warriors in the Western Conference finals in both 2015 and 2018. In 2017 the Astros gave Houston its first title since the rockets won back-to-back in the mid-1990s. Up until 2015 the Astros may have been the worst team in Major League Baseball. Winning the wild card game in 2015 and then three straight division titles from 2017 through 2019. They were able to turn those playoffs appearances into two AL Pennants and the World Series crown in 2017.
1 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (NFL, MLB, NHL)
The Pirates ended a 20-year playoff drought in 2013 and made two other wild card appearances in 2014 and 2015. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 2015 and it seems to have taken a turn for the worst this last season with all the clubhouse chaos and executive turnover. For being the second most successful team in the city over the last decade, the Steelers faired extremely well. They started off with a Super Bowl appearance in 2010 and had four AFC North titles and two more wild card berths. They did not finish below 8-8 over the entire decade which would put them at 45 games above .500 for the decade. The Penguins had one of the most impressive decades of any NHL team. They made the postseason every single season while winning their division twice. On top of the 10 postseason appearances they won the Stanley Cup back-to-back seasons in 2016 and 2017. The city of Pittsburgh has always had a rich tradition of sports success and the 2010’s carried the torch for another 10 years.