CHICAGO (CBS) – Out-of-towners can laugh all they want about the 102-year futility of the Cubs.
The Blackhawks’ first Stanley Cup victory in 49 years, combined with all the city’s other offerings in pro- and college sports, have earned Chicago the honor of being named Sporting News’ Best Sports City in America for 2010.
Chicago ranks at the top of a lengthy list of 402 cities, because, the magazine said, “there was something special about the Blackhawks’ Rocky road from Bill Wirtz to first.”
But the Blackhawks alone weren’t enough to win the Best Sports City Honor. Also contributing was the fact that the city has two Major League Baseball teams in the Cubs and White Sox, as well as the Bears, and a Bulls team that is “definitely on the rise,” the magazine said.
And in addition to all that, Chicago fans are captivated by DePaul Blue Demons basketball, Northwestern Wildcats football, and even NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, the magazine reported.
“There is the city’s head-over-heels love for sports, all sports, and the people who play them,” Sporting News reported.
Chicago shared the honor with Evanston, home of Northwestern University and the Wildcats.
So does Chicago deserve the honor? In a column this week, DePaul grad student and DePaulia writer Drew Olson says yes.
“This is one of the few cities where athletes can make a legitimate claim when saying that their teams have the best fans in the world,” Olson wrote. He points out even with the city’s long list of championship victories over the past quarter-century, “it is the support that fans show during the rough stretches that separates Chicago from the rest.”
Lovable losers or not, Cubs have been in the top 10 in attendance every year for the past decade, Olson pointed out. Also, the Bulls were the lowest seed in last season’s Eastern Conference Playoffs, but had the best attendance of any NBA team, Olson wrote.
Coming in after Chicago – in order – are Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth, New York, Phoenix-Tempe, Atlanta, Denver-Boulder, and Detroit-Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti.
And at rock bottom at No. 402 is Yakima, Wash., where the Yakima Bears minor league baseball team posted a depressing 28-48 record last year.