If you’re looking for avid sports fans, you’ll find them thickest on the ground in Columbus, Ohio. A study by Scarborough Sports Marketing gauged adults’ interest in any of the 29 sports measured by the research firm (ranging from NFL football to PGA Golf to Nascar to professional rodeo), and came up with metro-area rankings.
Largely on the strength of their devotion to Ohio State’s football team, Columbus topped the standings, with 66 percent of adults “very interested” in at least one of the 29 sports. Filling out the top five: Boston (64 percent count as avid fans), Buffalo (63 percent), Pittsburgh (63 percent) and Green Bay/Appleton, Wis. (62 percent). Ranking near the bottom of the standings were Los Angeles (51 percent are avid fans of some sport) and New York (50 percent). Chicago (57 percent) was in the middle of the pack.
Another part of the study shows the degree to which football has replaced baseball as the nation’s primary sport. In the 25 markets where local (or nearby) teams have the highest percentages of residents rooting for them, 15 of the cases involved an NFL franchise, while five involved a big-league baseball team. Just one NBA team made this top-25 roster (the San Antonio Spurs), as did just one NHL team (the Buffalo Sabres). Two college-football teams (Ohio State and University of Tennessee) and one college basketball team (University of Kentucky) made this top 25.