Manchester revealed as ESPN’s Greatest Sporting City in UK

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Manchester revealed as ESPN’s Greatest Sporting City in UK

  • Research from ESPN and universities of Gloucestershire and Bath reveals North West city is Greatest Sporting City in the UK in 2015
  • More than 5,000 fans questioned to rank 48 UK cities and towns
  • Measured on 12 factors fans identified that make a great sporting city, including value for money, success, history, choice and more
  • Manchester tops London, which comes in second; Glasgow third, Sunderland fourth, Leeds fifth, Liverpool sixth

Manchester has ranked as the UK’s Greatest Sporting City 2015, according to research from ESPN and the university of Gloucestershire and the University of Bath. The accolade for the city comes after leading UK sport site commissioned the original research project to discover the UK’s top city in which to be a fan.

Manchester topped the ranking after scoring highly in most of the 12 factors that fans identified as key to a great sporting city. Among the categories: value for money, success, atmosphere, history, venues, transport links and more. Further detail about the research is included below.

Manchester was followed by London in second and Glasgow in third. Completing the top five were Sunderland in fourth and Leeds in fifth.

At the other end of the list, Blackpool came last, behind Luton in 47th, Stoke-on-Trent in 46th and Bolton in 45th. Despite being the UK’s “second city”, Birmingham came in 17th place. There is also a northern dominance in the top ten, with six of the top ranked cities located in the north of the UK.

Full results for the research, conducted in collaboration with the universities of Gloucestershire and Bath, including a detailed statistical breakdown of all 48 cities, will be available at

National Ranking City Total score (out of 100) Notable facts
1 Manchester 67.77 First for Local Talent and Venues
2 London 65.09 Rated first for Choice, and second for History
3 Glasgow 62.67 Ranked first for History, and second for Success
4 Sunderland 58.86 Scored highly for Value For Money and Transport
5 Leeds 56.86 Highest score was for Success
6 Liverpool 53.32 Scored highly for Community
7 Bristol 52.76 Ranked first for Success
8 Derby 51.24 Rated as best city for Value For Money
9 Edinburgh 50.66 Best rating was in Transport
10 Cardiff 50.30 Rated well for Venues and Participation
11 Doncaster 50.00 Rated well for Success and Value For Money
12 Gloucester 49.19 Highest ratings were Success and Community
13 Sheffield 48.49 Ranked second for Participation
14 Southampton 48.41 Ranked third for Local Talent
15 Milton Keynes 47.27 Best score was for Participation


Steven Saunders, Senior Editor of, said: “We set out to examine what really makes a great sporting city and knew that begins with fans. The factors they identified range from classic sporting themes, such as success and history, to more consumer-focused concerns, such as value for money and venues. A great sporting city has to perform well in a variety of the categories, and Manchester should be proud of its victory. The city’s high score for local talent shows that it’s not just the big name buys like Aguero and Rooney that make Manchester such a great sporting city, but the likes of Mark Cueto as well.”

Commenting on the research, Professor Andrew Parker, University of Gloucestershire, said: “Manchester has definitely earned its selection as the ESPN Greatest Sporting City in the UK. Our research, over several months, gathered opinions from in-depth focus groups, followed by an online survey of more than 5,000 sports fans across the UK, which was then cross-referenced with third party data from more than 100 different sources. It was very thorough and the results provide much food for thought.” delivers fans in the UK multi-sport news, coverage and video – from football, cricket, rugby, and Formula 1 to golf, boxing, tennis, the best of US sports and more. The site’s London-based editorial team delivers coverage for UK fans, leveraging ESPN’s global reach and sports news organization, featuring an unmatched collection of journalists covering every major sport around the world.

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