Manchester, 2011

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.

“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.” – Steven Saunders, Senior Editor of

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. 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.

Blackpool Tower in 2015

“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.” – Professor Andrew Parker, University of Gloucestershire 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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