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Sports fans name Manchester as the greatest sporting city in the UK

We love a gratuitous league table around here – and what could be more gratuitous than a sports-based TV channel getting sports fans to rank cities based on their, well, sports?

So it’s with that in mind that we can announce that, according to a recent survey from ESPN and the Universities of Gloucestershire and Bath, Manchester is officially the greatest sporting city in the UK.

The 48 cities included in the survey were ranked according to 12 categories selected by fans: sporting atmosphere, success, value for money, sporting history and so on.

Additionally, each category was weighted by its importance relative to the others. So, for example, value for money lead the board: the ratio between the lowest ticket price for local sporting events and the city’s average weekly wage accounted for 16 per cent of the final score. On the flip side, community, transport, social and local talent each counted for just 4 per cent.

Manchester headed up the rankings for both local talent and quality of venues, and scored highly in many of the other categories too (hence, y’know, the win). London ranked first for choice, and second for history; while Glasgow placed first for history and second for success.

Here’s the top 10:

Not surprisingly, all of the top three cities have hosted the Olympic Games or the Commonwealth games within the last 15 years. This, naturally, has meant a boost in the physical factors such as venues and transport, and probably in other categories too (history, choice, atmosphere, success, community and social).


There is also a strong northern presence in the league tables, with six of the top ten cities located in the north. This comes as a slight surprise given that the big three national stadiums – Lords, Wembley and Twickenham –are located in the south, but it’s not a contradiction, really. Presumably London dominates so much that other southern cities don’t get a look in.

The wooden spoon goes to Blackpool, with the other spots at the bottom of the rankings being filled by Luton, Stoke-on-Trent and Bolton. It’s probably not a coincidence that three of these four have had football teams relegated from the premier league in the last 10 years.

You can read the full league table on ESPN’s website.
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