What is the sports capital of the world?

It’s an interesting question.

It occurred to me as I pondered a similar non-sports-related question: What is the capital of the world?

This brought me to the question that I will give my vision on in this article: what is the sports capital of the world? My criteria were which city had the highest participation levels (if available), the most professional sports teams, and how many of those parties are successful.

Less attention is paid to the birthplace of athletes who play non-team sports. So now I’ll run through the top candidates and finally the city that I believe is the sports capital of the world.

New York City

Two NFL teams, two MLB teams, two NBA franchises and three NHL clubs. New York is the city with most sides of America’s ‘big four’ sports (American football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey). Together they have 49 national titles.

That is undoubtedly a tick for one criterion. However, I can’t bring myself to give my title to an American city. This is because in those four sports, their only competition is other American teams.

Those sports don’t have enough great professional teams, which makes the joke that the US is so good at baseball that they are the only country to have won the World Series. However, have no doubt that New York is high on the list of sports capitals.

Melbourne

Melbourne is my Aussie choice and there are several reasons for this. The first and most obvious is that half of the AFL sides are based in Melbourne. As a result, a ridiculous amount (98, to be exact) VFL/AFL titles have come out of the area, but if I make this claim against US cities, I have to do the same against Melbourne AFL teams.

After all, the sport started in Victoria.

Further on, there are over 100,000 registered cricketers in Victoria (I am aware this is different from Melbourne) and the city has two Big Bash franchises, with one win for the Renegades. The city has three ALM Championships and, of course, a Super Rugby team. It also earns bonus points for hosting the Australian Open and Australian Grand Prix and is very close to my pick.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 30: Spectators stand for the national anthem at the start of the state memorial for former Australian cricketer Shane Warne at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 30, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia.  Warne passed away suddenly on Friday, March 4 at the age of 52 while on holiday in Thailand.  (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

(Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

Mumbai

It may not seem like an obvious choice, but if you look deeper, you realize that all of Mumbai is sports mad. The Mumbai Indians have won 5 IPLs and two of the now-defunct Champions LeagueT20, making them the Indian Premier League’s most successful franchise.

The Mumbai cricket team represents the city in premier games and is the most successful Indian provincial side. Five percent of Indians play cricket and if you use the same multiplier for Mumbai, less than 1 million people play cricket in Mumbai. A million!

It’s not just cricket either – a huge variety of sports are played in India’s second largest city.

London – the sports capital of the world

The sporting capital of the world. It ticks all the boxes. Next season, 13 London teams will participate in the English Football League and there will be four more professional clubs. London clubs have won 21 top English titles, 42 FA Cups and two Champions Leagues.

Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are all global sports brands. Half of the four teams that have made it to the play-offs in English rugby this season are based in London: Saracens and Harlequins.

Cricket is big in London too, with Surrey and Middlesex practicing in the capital, Middlesex playing at the home of cricket, Lord’s.

Using the UK average 1.5 million Londoners play football and the number is high with cricket and rugby and is constantly increasing. It’s not just those three though, with an even greater variety of sports than Mumbai.

I’m sure many of you think Melbourne is the sports capital of the world, so tell me why in the comments and also give me some cities you think I missed.