Athletes are great with their athletic ability and all that, but it’s really the fans and the atmosphere surrounding them that makes sports what they are. Sports fans can be clever, awesome and make the whole experience of the game that much more fun. Some of the best parts of going to any sports event (except golf and tennis, I guess) are the cheering, chanting, jeering, heckling, tailgating and painting of bodies and spirit apparel.
There’s nothing like being around thousands of excited people, all hoping for the same thing — a win. One thing is for sure, the American population loves its sports, so here are some of the teams and arenas that have the best atmospheres in North America.
College football is renowned for its amazing fan atmosphere. The stadiums are crazy-large — some bigger than many NFL teams’ stadiums — and the fans are all students or alumni with die-hard school spirit. In a ranking of the Top-10 college stadiums with the best atmosphere by The College Football Fan Index, LSU claims the top spot. Fans allegedly tailgate for at least five hours before every game, and opposing team coaches lament the incredible noise created by the crowd, which fills the stadium’s capacity of 102,321. University of Michigan’s Stadium is the largest in America and the second largest stadium in the entire world, with a capacity of 107, 601. Now that’s taking football seriously.
The NFL team with the most dedicated fan base, according to Business Insider, is the Dallas Cowboys. Cowboys fans dub the Dallas Cowboys “America’s Team,” which their number one spot in crowd attendance and ticket prices seems to prove. Honestly, though, I think that’s just the advantage of being a team in Texas. Tony Romo hasn’t been having a great past couple of years and the Cowboys are currently 2-5, so those fans are showing some real optimism.
The New England Patriots, the team everyone else loves to hate, rank second. They obviously have the advantage of having a fanbase that stretches across a whole region of the country, on top of the fact that their team just recently won the Super Bowl. Tom Brady also remains one of the most famous quarterbacks in the league, with four Super Bowl Rings and three Super Bowl MVP titles.
In Hockey, ranked by Forbes, the Pittsburgh Penguins fans hold the top spot with a five-year sell-out streak. The Montreal Canadiens fans came in second, known for having the loudest arena in the league, the Bell Centre, which has been sold out since 2004. Much like the Dallas Cowboys, proving that you don’t have to be a winning team to have a dedicated fan base, the Toronto Maple Leafs hold the number three spot despite currently standing at last place in the league. They’ve sold out every game since 2013 and had the highest average ticket price in the league by 50 percent.
For America’s pastime, the St. Louis Cardinals fans hold the top spot, according to the Bleacher Report. Showing that classic Midwestern love as the team with the most local fans, the Cardinals beat out the Boston Red Sox fan base, who came in a close second. The Sox had the greatest comeback in baseball history in 2004 and swept the Cardinals and hasn’t had a game that wasn’t sold-out since 2003.
In basketball (if you couldn’t tell by the same three jerseys that everyone wears), the top three fan bases, according to Bleacher Report, are those of the Boston Celtics (No. 3), the New York Knicks (No. 2) and the Chicago Bulls (No. 1). However, I learned quickly that I shouldn’t get excited when I see someone wearing a Bulls hat or jersey, because nine time out of 10, they are not from Chicago. The Celtics have legends like Larry Bird and Bill Russel, and they have 17 NBA championships, the most of any franchise. The Knicks have the arena of all arenas, Madison Square Garden. The Bulls have Michael Jordan, whose legacy still carries momentum for basketball fans in and outside of Chicago.
So if you’re from any of these cities and care about sports at all, congrats, you are part of some of the best fan bases in the country. If not, I’m sorry, because your sports experience could be so much more fun.