5 Los Angeles
This one comes with an asterisk, since Los Angeles has Major League Baseball, NHL hockey and not one, but two NBA basketball franchises. What America’s second-largest city doesn’t have, however, is the National Football League. Since the Raiders and Rams moved to Oakland and St. Louis, respectively, Los Angeles has had to settle for being a college football town—not always a bad thing when those colleges are USC and UCLA. Still, it seems strange to see cities like Jacksonville and Indianapolis fielding teams while the Coliseum sits empty on Sundays.
4 Mexico City
Mexico City metro region is the most populous in North America, ahead of even the Big Apple. Yet the best sports that Mexico’s capital can see is Mexican League baseball and international soccer, despite its proximity to the United States. Even the influx of Latin players into pro sports doesn’t seem to help rumors of international expansion grow into anything more than rumors.
3 Louisville, Kentucky
Another college town with a rabid NCAA fanbase, Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky, a state where college basketball is king and no major-league teams play. An NBA team might be able to tap into the Bluegrass State’s love of hoops and the attention that comes from the annual Kentucky Derby horse race. And even if there are no other teams in the state, there are plenty of potential Midwestern rivals in neighbors like Ohio and Tennessee.
2 Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas, can lay claim to the dubious distinction of being the largest city in the United States that does not have a team in any of the four major professional sports leagues. The capital of the Lone Star State may not spring to mind as an athletics mecca despite the presence of the University of Texas, but it has a larger population base than such sports-crazed cities as Baltimore and Boston. Not only that, it is ripe for serious regional rivalries with teams based in Dallas and Houston.
1 Las Vegas
Las Vegas has found that being the mecca of sports gambling is a double-edged sword. Sure, you can bet on just about any game, but you can’t actually watch one in person—just on the casino big screens. The stigma of sports betting may have scared off the major leagues, meaning the Strip’s spotlights shine only on minor league and college squads. Sure, there are bigger cities in North America than Vegas, but not many can make the case for being so sports-crazed.