Leeds or Sheffield - which has been named the number one Yorkshire city to be a sports fan?

Leeds has beaten Sheffield in a rundown of the best cities in Yorkshire to be a sports fan.

Tuesday, 8th August 2017, 8:00 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 1:04 pm
Leeds has been named ahead of Sheffield in a poll to find the best sports cities in the UK.

While our West Yorkshire neighbours might only have one football team in the Championship compared to two for Sheffield in the shape of the Owls and Blades, it was still enough to score the city top spot as Yorkshire's greatest in the rundown by ESPN.

The city was in the top five nationally for the third consecutive year, rising one place to 4th - and maintained its position as the best city for both cricket and rugby league fans.

Sheffield was second in the region and broke into top 10 nationally after jumping 13 places while Hull also moved into the UK top 20 for the first time.

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But it was bad news for York, Bradford, Barnsley and Doncaster - who all remain in the bottom half of the national rankings

The cities were ranked on 12 factors which fans identified as key to a great sporting city. Among the categories were value for money, success, atmosphere, history, venues, transport links and more.

Sheffield was the biggest climber in Yorkshire, rising 13 places to secure 5th in the national rankings – the rise was partly down to the city’s high scores in atmosphere, local talent and success - noting the Blades' League One title win last season and the Owls' second successive Championship play-off campaign.

Liverpool was crowned the Greatest Sporting City nationally, replacing Leicester in top spot, with 2015 winner Manchester in second and London once again taking third place.

At the other end of the table, Blackpool have completed an unwanted hat-trick, coming last once again, behind Ipswich in 48th and Swindon in 47th. Bath is the biggest climber in the list, rising 23 places from 41st to 18th, while the biggest faller is Middlesbrough, which dropped 26 places to 46th.

ESPN also divided the research into individual sports to reveal the best places to be a fan of football, cricket, rugby union and rugby league.

Liverpool also claims the title of best city to be a football fan, and Leeds maintains its position as the best city for both cricket and rugby league fans, while Bath has overtaken Cardiff as the top town for rugby union lovers.

Commenting on the research, Assistant Professor Thomas Curran of the University of Bath, which carried out the study, said “We are now in our third year of research and it continues to provide fascinating insights for both professional clubs and cities to consider.

"The factors range from classic sporting themes, such as success and history, to more consumer-focused concerns, such as value for money and venues, which shows that it is possible for cities to improve their rankings if they focus on the right areas.”

Steven Saunders, Senior Editor of ESPN.co.uk, said: “ESPN’s aim is to put the fan first, and that approach underpins this research. The study canvases the opinions of thousands of fans across the country and is combined with third party data from hundreds of sources. One of the results has remained consistent over the years – fans continue to rank Value for Money as the most important factor, which is an important consideration for everyone involved in professional sport in the UK.”