As we previously listed the top 5 most bandwagon sports cities in America, we thought it would only be fair to discuss the opposite. These are cities that you will have a hard time finding fans for outside of their region, let alone at all. That doesn’t mean they don’t have dedicated fans. Quite the contrary actually. These are the die hard fans that have suffered through years of torment that no one outside of their city would ever put up with. This list also isn’t supposed to represent the cities with the worst professional sports teams either but there usually happens to be a correlation. While there are plenty of cities that could have made this list, it is reserved for cities with multiple pro sports teams. So, without further ado, here is the list of top 5 least bandwagon sports cities in America:
Cleveland is a notoriously sad sports city; possibly the saddest. A lot of professional teams have had their fair share of droughts but nothing like the Browns. Since 2010, the Browns total record is 29-99, including one of only two 16 loss seasons that they managed to accomplish last year. Combined that with their 1 win season in 2016 and they became the first NFL franchise to have multiple seasons with 15 or more losses. If it wasn’t for the Indians playing in the 2016 World Series or the LeBroners following his every move, Cleveland would be much higher on this list. LeBron fans alone nearly knocked Cleveland off this list entirely but then I thought about the Browns. As if living in Cleveland wasn’t bad enough, they have had to suffer more sports tragedies than most other cities, making Cleveland one of the least bandwagon sports cities in America.
The Bayou City is easily the largest city on this list, making it an interesting selection. Anyone that has lived in Texas for any amount of time however knows that no one supports a Houston team unless they are from H-Town. Seriously, Houston sports teams have one of the smallest total land area for any fan base. Although the Astros have recently seen huge success as the first MLB team in Texas to win a World Series, they were notoriously sad in the past. They may have a rich history of great players but most Texans remember the days of an empty Minute Maid Park for the depressing Lastros.
For a state infatuated with football, Houston has had their share of bad luck, from losing the historic Oilers franchise to hopeless Texans seasons year after year. The Rockets are probably Houston’s best hope for a fan base outside of the city but the rest of the state seems to be dominated by hardcore Spurs fans. As the rest of the Lone Star state ruthlessly supports Dallas and San Antonio, the only Houston fans you can seem to find are the ones within driving distance of the stadiums.
Just as American history runs deep in the capital city, so does sports history. Even with a rich history, Washington D.C. has managed to consistently be overshadowed in sports. For instance, the Washington Capitals, founded in 1974, are the oldest team in the NHL to have the fewest Stanley Cup appearances. The Wizards franchise has been in D.C. since 1973 and only claims one championship. The Washington Redskins, who have been in the area since 1937, are one of the oldest NFL teams, yet only claim 3 Super Bowl victories. Not to mention, it’s a hard selling point to recruit new fans when your team name is constantly in the news for racism.
While history may have its roots in D.C., it’s hardly a sports landmark. Although they have been in Washington for 44 years, the Capitals are still technically just an expansion team compared to the original six. The Nationals, who have only been in Washington since 2005, will always be remembered as the Montreal Expos no matter how good Bryce Harper is. Prior to the Nats, Washington has had two other pro baseball teams that they couldn’t hold onto, now the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers. Even the Wizards changed their name in ’97 from the Bullets in an attempt to avoid the negative stigma of the extremely high homicide rate in D.C. You know it’s a bad situation when Michael Jordan can’t help. Regardless of the history, no one outside of D.C. is willingly supporting those ever-changing franchises. All the while George Washington is rolling in his grave.
Detroit is known for a few things; crime, a devastated economy and disappointing sports teams. That’s not to say their teams haven’t had their fair share of success, because they have. The Pistons have won 3 championships, the most recent in 2004, yet have never been able to amass a wide-reaching fan base. The Lions have never won a championship, post AFL-NFL merger, and the last time the Tigers won the World Series was in ’84. The Red Wings are Detroit’s best argument for a bandwagon and probably the only reason they weren’t number 1 on this list.
Hockeytown, as it is nicknamed, loves their hockey like they love their unknown style of pizza. The Red Wings are third in the NHL with 11 titles and although the last was in 2008, that didn’t stop the city from building the team a brand new stadium last year in downtown. Unlike most NHL teams, Little Caesars Arena was built specifically for the Red Wings with the Pistons only joining later. Unfortunately for Detroit, hockey isn’t a big enough sport to create a bandwagon city. That doesn’t matter though. Detroit loves their teams and their city, even if no one else does. In a rough city that practically no one willingly visits, Detroit can only love Detroit.
Minneapolis is the quintessential city for no one outside of it to actually care about it. The only people that live there either grew up in the plains and equate Minneapolis to New York City or have never left to realize how much less cold the rest of the world is. That being said, Minneapolis is actually a really nice city (for about half a year when it’s above 50 degrees). In terms of sports, the rest of the world has pretty much the same mentality they already have of the city itself; a back thought at best. The Twins, who have been in Minnesota since 1961, have claimed a humble 3 World Series titles, one of which as the Washington Senators. Never notoriously bad or good, the Twins always seem to be rebuilding for something and the fans always seem OK with it. They even put up with the metrodome until 2009, arguably the worst pro sports venue at the time, for both baseball and football.
The Minnesota Timberwolves may be one of the absolute least bandwagon teams of all time and the Wild just feels like a band aid attempt at healing the loss of the North Stars to Dallas in ’93. Even with the recent success of the Vikings, you will be hard-pressed to find someone wearing a jersey that isn’t actually from somewhere up north. Although the Minnesota fandom doesn’t stretch much further than the Great Plains, they are depressingly dedicated to their teams. The people of Minneapolis might be so isolated that they are the only ones that actually care about their own city but they are happy with that and just glad to be part of everything. That Midwest mentality is exactly why Minneapolis is the absolute least bandwagon sports city in America and possibly the world.