During the now seemingly brief time LeBron James called Miami home, local fans were scrutinized endlessly. Critics said we didn't deserve the Heat's Big Three. Charles Barkley constantly dogged us. People noticed anytime a seat in the arena wasn't occupied for the duration of the game. Well, a new study from WalletHub claims that Miami has the most "friendly and engaged" pro baseball fans in the nation and that Miami is the 13th best American city for basketball. And that's not just for cities with NBA teams but also for the hundreds of towns with NCAA Division 1 basketball teams.
"We looked at 300 of the most populated U.S. cities across 11 key metrics, ranging from the performance level of each city’s NBA and NCAA Division 1 basketball teams to ticket prices to stadium accessibility," WalletHub's report says.
To be named 13th out of 300, Miami was judged on 11 criteria: number of NBA teams, number of Division 1 college teams, average ticket prices, number of championships won, number of division championships, sports bars per capita, fan friendliness and engagement, and NBA franchise value, attendance, and viewership.
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Interestingly, Miami was rated number one overall for NBA "fan friendliness and engagement" and 292nd for college "fan friendliness and engagement" (which presumably involves fans of both the Miami Hurricanes and the FIU Golden Panthers. That metric was decided by the "number of Twitter followers plus number of Facebook 'likes' per capita," according to WalletHub. Oddly, the Miami Hurricanes have official Facebook pages for their football and baseball teams, but the basketball team is represented only on the general Miami Hurricanes page. FIU men's basketball, meanwhile, has its own page. It's liked by 822 people.
Miami also came in third for the best-performing NBA team and fourth for most expensive average home ticket prices.
Storrs, Connecticut, home of the University of Connecticut Huskies, came in first place, followed by Chapel Hill, North Carolina, home to the Miami Hurricanes' ACC rival Tar Heels.