Any sporting fan will know that a the pride taken in a local team is of huge importance to any sports fan, especially those known for competing in the ‘Big Four’ leagues of Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and National Football League.

PlayUSA have studied the trophy cabinets of all US states to measure which state can be deemed the most successful in terms of championship wins across the top 4 sports leagues, revealing which states are truly the biggest winners.

Leagues Ahead – Top 5 States

With the big four drawing in thousands of fans to their stadiums each year and even more viewers to the screen, which team is truly the biggest winner? The research revealed that the sporting powerhouses topping the leagues were:

New York – The state of New York is not shy of silverware, with 52 wins across all 4 disciplines. Baseball is the state’s flagship sport with 35 wins collected from the Yankees, Mets, Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Massachusetts – Topping the chart for NBA wins with a total of 17, Massachusetts takes the silver position with 37 wins overall. And basketball’s not their only success story. Home to the MBL’s Boston Red Sox, where Babe Ruth launched his career, it’s clear to see how Massachusetts have earned their second place spot.

California – California has accumulated 37 wins across predominantly basketball and baseball in addition to

9 Super Bowl wins and 3 Stanley Cups. Teams like the Warriors, Rams and Kings have made California a force to be reckoned with in recent years.

Pennsylvania– Home of this year’s Super Bowl winners, the Philadelphia Eagles, Pennsylvania have won a total of 30 championships, including 4 NBA wins and 12 MLB wins.

Michigan– With a total of 11 NHL wins, making it the most successful hockey state, it has also achieved 4

MLB wins from the Detroit Tigers and 3 NBA championships from the Detroit Pistons.

The Best From the Beginning

Many colleges in certain states have a strong sporting culture, aligning this as an potential indicator for National selections and popularity.

Yet an interesting finding from the study illustrates how many of the states with the best college sporting programs surprisingly didn’t rank particularly high enough, in terms of professional championships.

With only 3 of the states listed within the top 10 best college sports programs, Florida, closely followed by California and Michigan, was previously featured as one of the best. However, in terms of championships, they fell short as 9th with only 9 wins, including 3 NBA, 3 NFL, 1 NHL and 2 MLB wins.

On the other hand, while New York was ranked as the most successful sporting champions, they didn’t place in within the top 10 of the best college sports programs.

The Coast that Boasts the Most

East and West Coast comparisons also reveal some interesting stats. The East Coast takes a landslide victory against the West, with 138 wins across 5 states, compared to the West’s 39 gained only in the above mentioned California.

However, a state’s success doesn’t impact the loyalty of their fans. The survey revealed that sports fans in the West were more likely to support a team from their state, with 73% keeping their sporting loyalties close to home. However, fans from the East of the country were more likely to remain loyal to their teams than their Western counterparts, with

51% claiming they would never change which team they supported, even if drastic changes were made such as the team moving state, versus 45% of those from the West.

Go Big Four or Go Home

Studying the wins of each state within the big four leagues across the decades, the research ranks all states who have had at least one win within these leagues and ranks them from most to least successful. To accompany this, PlayUSA have tapped into the loyalty of sports fans across the USA, delving into their views regarding politics on the pitch, and which sports Americans typically support outside of the Big Leagues.

Whilst the big leagues dominate U.S. sporting news and viewership, are they the be all and end all? The survey revealed that this might not be the case.

22% of men surveyed said they also follow Major League Soccer, although only 10% of women do the same. Another contender for fandom is college level sport, as 41% prefer watching this compared to the Big Four. In the Southeast, this stat is even higher, at 52%, compared to 33% of Northeastern respondents. However, when analysing the results by league, 72% of NFL fans from the Southeast favoured the Big League over the college level equivalent.

For the full research and to find out how your state has performed over the years, click here.


We researched the winners from the big four major national US sports leagues since each competition began, then divided the winning teams by their state of origin. For the ranking, we used a weighted index in which each state was assigned a score for each metric out of ten. These scores have then been combined into an average, which was used to provide a final ranking of each state’s performance as compared with other states.

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