Basketball is one of the most popular and ubiquitous sports in America, which is one of the most sports-obsessed nations in the world. Previously, we proved America’s love for hoops compared to the rest of the world, then delved into which states in the Union are most inclined toward basketball. Now, it’s time to do the same dive into what American cities like basketball the most.
We will use the same imperfect method again: Google Trends. I am yet to find a better way to do this, and until I have census capabilities, this is the system we’re going with. If that offends you, I am not sorry. The data includes the last five years of Google searches so it remains recent without screwing too strongly to the here and now.
What American Cities Like Basketball the Most?
1. Louisville, KY
This might surprise you if you’re stuck only in the professional basketball sphere, but if you have any connection to the college or high school games, this shouldn’t surprise you. Kentucky was No. 1 in our list of states by basketball interest, and Louisville is its biggest metro center. It’s home to the Louisville Cardinals, the Kentucky Wildcats aren’t far away and have tons of influence in the city, and basketball is at the core of what the ‘Ville is all about. You don’t need pros in town to love basketball.
2. Raleigh, NC
Similarly to Louisville, only those who live just in the NBA and WNBA sphere will be shocked by this. There are few states in America with more love for hoops than North Carolina, which was seventh on our states by basketball interest list, and Raleigh is at the epicenter of it all. With NC State in town and Duke and North Carolina so close, plus Wake Forest in the state, Tobacco Road is one of the biggest hotbeds for college hoops in the nation, and that generally translates for a lot of interest in the sport.
3. Omaha, NE
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Now, this one is a bit of a surprise to me, but when you think about it further, it does make sense. Omaha is located right along the border with Iowa, and Iowa ranked second in our states by basketball interest list. Nebraska was high, too, coming in at six. Combine those together, and you get Omaha and the third city in this ranking. Creighton is local, and it is known for good support, especially considering its lack of postseason success. That area of the country clearly has an inclination toward hoops, and it shows here.
4. Indianapolis, IN
Home to the NCAA headquarters, Indianapolis and college basketball are synonymous with one another. Really, the whole state of Indiana is forever linked with hoops, and Indianapolis is the state’s metropolis, so it makes good sense for the city to find itself in the top five. The Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever both play in town, plus Butler University and a handful of smaller-conference competitors call Indianapolis home. There’s plenty of interest in the Indiana Hoosiers, Purdue Boilermakers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish in town, too (although Notre Dame doesn’t normally get the same basketball attention as the rest).
5. Kansas City, MO
The College Basketball Hall of Fame, also known as the College Basketball Experience, is located in Kansas City – a sign of how much this city support basketball. Even without a pro team in town, Kansas City is one of the hottest hotbed for hoops hype. With some major college programs relatively nearby, like Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri, hosting a great number of Big 12 Tournaments, and a popular site for NCAA Tournament games, it’s all a testament to how much KC embraces basketball.
The Best of the Rest
These are several of the cities also high up in the list of basketball interest:
6. Charlotte, NC (Score: 44)
7. Atlanta, GA (39)
8. Columbus, OH (38)
T-10. Philadelphia, PA / Plano, TX / Washington, DC (31)
13. Phoenix, AZ (27)
14. Dallas, TX (26)
15. Boston, MA (25)
16. Austin, TX (23)
T-17. New York, NY / San Diego, CA / Houston, TX (22)
T-20. Los Angeles, CA / San Antonio, TX (21)