Sporting events and activities capture the hearts of millions of people worldwide, whether it’s a trip down to the local football stadium, jet-setting across the globe to follow a sports team, or even going one step further and buying a home in a sporting city.
For many cities, sport is a fundamental part of the landscape and culture. This was highlighted earlier this year when BCW Global released its 2022 Ranking of Sports Cities. But what makes a sporting city? It’s a combination of three different factors: a city’s association with sports, views of leaders of International Sports Federations, and major international sports media.
When carrying out the research, BCW used social media analysis tools to identify how many times the word “sport” was mentioned in association with different city names, across platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, along with other blogs and websites.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the British cities that made the entire UK proud by claiming a place on the list. We’ll also explore the top 5 sporting cities around the world. So, if you’re an avid sports fan, these are the places you’ll enjoy living!
What are the best cities in the UK for sports?
The research conducted by BCW revealed that four UK cities made it on the 2022 list of the top 50 sports cities. Let’s explore them!
According to BCW, London is the UK’s greatest sporting city. It also ranked third in the world, following behind Toyko and Paris.
As the largest city in the UK, it’s little surprise that London is such a hotspot for sports lovers. London has a long history of holding spectator sporting events, especially football, which has grown in popularity and come a long way since being played solely at a regional and local level. In fact, it has become the most popular spectator sport in the city. Understandably so, as London is the home to twelve league clubs, as well as the iconic Wembley Stadium.
Aside from football, London also has a strong presence in other major sporting events. Rugby fans frequently head to Twickenham Stadium to watch games, and similarly, tennis lovers flock to Wimbledon each summer. Finally, London has firmly solidified its status as a leader in sports after becoming the first city in the world to host the Summer Olympics three times. What a place for a sports fan to call home!
Manchester ranked eighth in the 2022 list of sports cities and has maintained its top 10 ranking for four years. The ranking also means that it is the only UK city other than London to place in the top 10 this year.
Manchester is a football fan’s dream as it is not only home to the National Football Museum but also boasts two world-famous football clubs: Manchester United and Manchester City. But football is not the only reason Manchester ranks so highly in sports. In the 2016 Olympics, 80 of the 542 athletes that represented the UK hail from the city, making it a hub of sporting talent.
Within the city, you’ll also find several world-renowned sporting venues, including the National Cycling Centre, Manchester Aquatics Centre, and the National Squash Centre. And if that’s not enough, you’ll also find several rugby league teams across the city region, most notably the Wigan Warriors. So, it’s no wonder that the city is on the international sporting map.
Next, we have Glasgow, which is the only city in Scotland to rank in the worldwide list. The city may have ranked 23rd on BCW’s list, but it’s still one to watch closely.
Glasgow successfully claimed the title of the European Capital of Sport in 2023 by ACES Europe — this makes it the only city to win the honour twice. Not altogether surprising, seeing as the city has hosted a plethora of prestigious sporting events, including the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships. There is no sign of slowing down either, as Glasgow is set to host the inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships in 2023.
Of course, these events gain the attention of thousands worldwide while they take place, but that doesn’t mean sports fans at home miss out during the rest of the year. Those who want to watch the great game played at home can choose between Glasgow’s four league teams. In fact, two of these form the Old Firm, which is a fierce rivalry between the country’s most successful football teams, Celtic and Rangers.
Birmingham claimed the fourth spot on the list of best British sporting cities. Most recently, the city hosted the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which drew attention from across the world. In terms of location, the events were held in Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium, Edgebaston Cricket Ground, and Victoria Square, to name a few. Almost all the venues were already in place, showing that Birmingham was more than equipped to hold such a prestigious event.
Aside from sporting events, there are plenty of other things for sports fans to watch. Birmingham is home to major teams competing in rugby, speedway, and cricket. It’s also where you’ll find two of the world’s oldest professional football clubs, Aston Villa and Birmingham City.
What are the top 5 sporting cities around the world?
Venturing further out, we’re going to take a look at the top 5 sporting cities worldwide. Let’s see which ones are considered world-class sporting cities and why they deserve a place on the list!
Toyko was named the sportiest city in the world in BCW’s list. Although the ranking is likely influenced by the fact that the city was the latest host of the Summer Olympic Games, Tokyo has a long-standing history when it comes to sports.
By far, the most popular sport in Toyko is baseball, and fans flock to watch the city’s two professional baseball clubs, the Yakut Swallows and the Yomiuri Giants. Of course, you’ll also find the national sport, Sumo, prevalent in Tokyo as well. In fact, this is where the Japan Sumo Association is headquartered.
Aside from these, Tokyo often hosts other sporting events for sports like tennis, American futbol, swimming, karate, and judo. So, it understandably deserves its top-spot position on the list!
In second place, we have Paris, which is iconic within the sporting world. Whether it’s cyclists completing the Tour de France by crossing the finish line on the Champs-Elysées, or tennis professionals competing in the Grand Slam on the red clay court for the French Open, it’s clear Paris is at the heart of plenty of sports.
If you’re looking for even more to do in the city, you can watch Paris’s football club, Saint-Germain, battle it out on the pitch. If you’re more of a fan of the oval ball, Paris is also home to the rugby union clubs Stade Français and Racing 92. Later on, the city is also set to host the next Summer Olympic Games, which will take place in 2024.
As we’ve previously mentioned, London ranked third in the world thanks to its proud sporting history. With so many stadiums and arenas, the capital city is more than equipped to host a variety of sporting events for fans to come and watch.
4. Los Angeles
Los Angeles takes fourth place on the list. The city is set to hold the Olympics for the third time in 2028, after previously hosting the Summer Olympics in 1932 and 1984. When it comes to hosting such prestigious events, Los Angeles has plenty of high-profile venues that it can utilise, including the Dodger Stadium, the Rose Bowl, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the SoFi Stadium, and the Crypto.com Arena.
The city boasts twelve major league professional teams across football, ice hockey, baseball, basketball, and American football. These teams include world-renowned names such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, LA Galaxy, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Rams.
5. New York
Rounding out the top five is New York, home of the baseball teams, the Yankees and Mets; American football’s Giants and Jets; and the hockey teams, the Rangers, Devils, and Islanders. It’s also the location for the headquarters of the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League.
Sports fans will be familiar with New York’s famous indoor arena, Madison Square Garden — also named “The World’s Most Famous Arena”. It’s used for an abundance of sports and events, from professional ice hockey and wrestling to circus shows. If you still want more, head to the Queens to watch tennis’s Grand Slam tournament, the US Open, or watch thousands of runners participate in the world’s largest marathon, the New York City Marathon. So, whatever your sport of choice, New York has got you covered!