What’s up sports? Charlotte scores in top 10 percent of US cities

Hornets ticket prices are the cheapest in the NBA

Nov. 9. With the North American sports worth on the order of $80 billion, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2022’s Best Sports Cities.

Charlotte ranked 28th out of 392 cities.

Americans spend a lot of money on sports every year. Money pours in from ticket and merchandise sales, media rights and sponsorship fees, not to mention the lucrative fantasy-sports market in North America with over 60 million players.

And the eSports (competitive video games) industry is expected to reach $1.8 billion in global market value this year.

To determine the cities where the game is always on regardless of season, WalletHub compared 392 cities across the five largest sports in the U.S.: football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer.

Best sports cities

Charlotte came in at No. 28 with a total  score of 26.31; with a football rank of 25, basketball 25, baseball 75, soccer 41; and hockey 450.

The top ranked city is Los Angeles with a total score of 50.91; football 5; basketball 1; baseball 3; soccer 1; and hockey 24.

Charlotte superlative

Charlotte has the lowest average ticket price for an NBA game, $63.11, less than a third of San Francisco, the city with the highest at $203.30.

Do publicly funded sports stadiums make fiscal sense for cities?


“Most of the studies I have read on this show it probably is not a good investment from a purely fiscal sense. Much of the evidence indicates the state and local governments could get more bang for the buck with other types of public investments.

“But sports can bring intangible benefits. I wrote an article on the impact on Charlotte as it became a “Major League” city with the addition of the NBA in 1988 and the NFL in 1995.

“Uptown Charlotte now has a 70,000-seat stadium that is home to the NFL Carolina Panthers and Charlotte FC of MLS, an arena for the NBA Charlotte Hornets, a stadium for Triple-A baseball, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

“These facilities, which have all been built in the last 25 years, also host several additional sporting and entertainment events. This has helped to transform Charlotte and given the city national stature in the way that only sports can. Charlotte is now one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S.

“There are of course other factors, such as the weather, cost of living, employment opportunities, and quality of life issues, but having major league professional teams and the facilities that house them, certainly helped to raise the national profile of the city.”

—Patrick McConnell, associate professor of sports media

High Point University


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