The Top 10 Cities for Sports Fans

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If you're a retailer, marketer, or a market researcher, understanding where sports fans live is invaluable. We examined Unacast foot traffic and consumer personas in some of the largest U.S. cities to give you a breakdown of the top cities for sports lovers.

In this analysis, we'll spotlight the top 10 cities for sports lovers — those with the highest number of residents categorized in the “sports fans” persona. 

The Top 10 Cities for Sports Fans in 2024

1. Nashville – Country Beats and Stadium Seats

Nashville, famous for its lively music scene, has proven to be a bonafide sports destination. With 19 percent of residents categorized as “sports fans,” Nashville tops our list of cities with the most sports fans in 2024 (tied with Charlotte, below). Crowds thrive at the Nissan Stadium, home to the NFL’s Titans. It's also the site of the yearly spectacle that is the NFL Draft. The energy from venues like the Nissan Stadium and Bridgestone Arena are unparalleled, making Nashville a sports city to know about.

2. Charlotte – The Queen City of Sports

With 19 percent of residents classified as “sports fans,” Charlotte is tied for first place as a top city for sports enthusiasts. Charlotte is a sports powerhouse with the presence of the NFL's Carolina Panthers and the NBA's Charlotte Hornets. The city's rich racing heritage can be experienced at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a mecca for NASCAR enthusiasts.

Charlotte also has a wealth of 5K runs, half-marathons, and even the All-American Marathon. Outdoor enthusiasts can take in a round of golf at the Quail Hollow Club or test their mettle at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. From professional sports to high-adrenaline activities, Charlotte is a city that keeps the heart racing.

3. Boston – City of Champions

It's impossible to discuss top U.S. sports cities without mentioning a city that has witnessed over a century of sports history. Home to legendary franchises like the Red Sox, the Celtics, and the Bruins, Boston is a city of champions. Fenway Park is a living museum of baseball, while the TD Garden hosts basketball and hockey. 

For those who want to learn from champions, the city's various sports museums and the proximity of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield make for a pilgrimage that's as educational as it is entertaining. It’s likely no surprise that 18 percent of Bostonians are categorized as “sports fans.”

4. Indianapolis – The Crossroads of Sports

Indianapolis is an often underappreciated gem for sports enthusiasts. Nicknamed the "Amateur Sports Capital of the World," the city's claim to fame is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the largest sports facility on the planet. The city has also made its mark with the NCAA Basketball Tournaments, hosting the Final Four, as well as the headquarters of the NCAA itself.

But Indy doesn't just cater to motorsports and basketball fans; it's also home to the Indianapolis Colts, an NFL powerhouse. The city's extensive bike trails and the annual Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini-Marathon offer recreational sports for those watching their health as much as they watch games. With 18 percent of residents classified as “sports fans,” Indianapolis is tied for third place as a top city for sports lovers.

5. Miami – Where the Sun Never Sets on Sports

top cities for sports lovers

Miami’s vibrant culture is reflected in its sports scene. From the Miami Dolphins of the NFL to the Miami Heat of the NBA, champions are born and bred under the Miami sun. The city is also a haven for soccer aficionados with the Inter Miami CF team now in the mix.

Uniquely, Miami stands as the sole city to offer Jai Alai, a fast-paced court sport that's becoming increasingly rare. The Magic City is also a destination for international sports events, such as the annual Miami Open, one of the premier tennis tournaments in the world. Miami offers the Miami Marathon, as well as the Dolphin's Cancer Challenge, a bike ride that benefits the local cancer centers. With 17 percent of residents designated as “sports fans,” Miami rounds out our top 5 cities for sports lovers.

6. Denver – The Mile High City of Athletic Adventures

Denver, known fondly for its mile-high altitude and fervent sports culture, is a city where fans breathe in the excitement of the game. The city plays host to a variety of outdoor sports activities, such as skiing and snowboarding in the nearby Rockies, as well as a diverse range of professional sports teams.

Home to the NFL's Denver Broncos and the NBA's Denver Nuggets, as well as Major League Baseball's Colorado Rockies, Denver's sports scene is as diverse as it is lively. The city has also become a mecca for soccer, with the presence of the Colorado Rapids and a booming fan base. A testament to the city's fitness, the Bolder Boulder 10K race and the Triple Bypass Bicycle Race are annual events that celebrate the city's athletic prowess. Denver residents are categorized as “sports fans” 17 percent of the time.

7. San Francisco – Golden Sports Fans

San Francisco's sports narrative is as colorful as the city's famed Golden Gate Bridge. The Bay Area boasts fervent fan bases and storied franchises, from the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's of Major League Baseball to the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL and the Golden State Warriors of the NBA. The Warriors moved to the state-of-the-art Chase Center in 2019, further enriching the sports landscape with a modern basketball experience.

The surrounding region caters to those who enjoy an active lifestyle both in and out of the arena. The annual Bay to Breakers race is a citywide celebration that brings out runners and revelers, while locations like Lake Merced provide a serene setting for a round of golf. San Francisco's blend of iconic sports venues and outdoor beauty makes it a top choice for any sports fan. We see this reflected in the data with San Francisco residents classified as “sports fans” 16 percent of the time.

8. Austin – A New Frontier in Sports Passion

The state capital of Texas, Austin, is not just about keeping it weird; it's about keeping it fit and fun. The city is home to the Circuit of The Americas, a world-renowned racetrack that hosts the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. The Longhorns of the University of Texas bring college sports energy to the city, with their renowned football stadium, the Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium, a must-visit for any football aficionado. Austin residents were categorized with the “sports fan” persona 16 percent of the time.

9. San Diego – Sunshine and Sport for All

top cities for sports

San Diego, known for its consistently perfect weather, is a sunny paradise for sports lovers. Its residents enjoy Major League Baseball with the Padres, NFL action with the Chargers (recently moved to Los Angeles), and collegiate sports with the San Diego State Aztecs. 

The city's picturesque location means that outdoor activities are a way of life. Hiking in Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, surfing at the famous beaches, or golfing at legendary courses like Torrey Pines Golf Course, San Diego's sports options are as diverse as its community. Sixteen percent of San Diego residents’ devices were designated as “sports fans.”

10. Phoenix – A Weather-Proof Wonder for Sports Buffs

Phoenix, Arizona's sprawling urban area, is a sports fan's oasis, offering a diverse lineup of professional and collegiate athletics. The city is home to the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL, the NBA's Phoenix Suns, and MLB's Arizona Diamondbacks. The annual Fiesta Bowl and Cactus Bowl bring college football excitement to town, accompanied by the raucous fanfare for which Phoenix is known.

The city's enviable climate affords year-round participation in outdoor sports, such as hiking at the Camelback Mountain or playing a round at the iconic TPC Scottsdale golf course. Phoenix is also the host to the Phoenix Marathon, one of the premier road races in the country. With 16 percent of residents categorized as “sports fans,” Phoenix rounds out our top 10 list of cities for sports lovers.


Location data, collected by GPS-enabled consumer mobile devices, lets us understand how people move about the real world. By overlaying this data with information about physical places – stores, restaurants, libraries, as well as events – we can determine the types of places and events a mobile device visits. By understanding these visit patterns over time, we can infer a lot about the interests, lifestyle, and life stage of a device’s owner. A device that regularly visits places like baseball stadiums, sporting events, and sports bars will likely belong to a ‘Sports Fan’, for example, while another device observed at wineries and wine-related events may belong to a ‘Wine Lover’. These Personas describe the behavioral characteristics of a device, or a group of devices, and can be used for advertising audiences, data enrichment, and much more.

In this analysis, we examined the behavioral characteristics, or Personas, of devices belonging to people residing in some of the U.S.’s largest cities. We started by identifying devices with a probable home location in one of these cities and examining the Personas assigned to each. We then calculated the percentage of devices in each city fitting each Persona. Finally, we compared the percentages across cities to rank each city by the prevalence of each Persona. The result provides an intriguing picture of local and national behavioral trends. Check out the full City Foot Traffic Dashboard for more in-depth insights. 


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