Pittsburgh has been referred to as “the city of champions” by many, but a new index by Pittsburgh Today places the city’s professional sports scene behind Boston, Detroit and Philadelphia.
Doug Heuck, director of Pittsburgh Today, which measured Pittsburgh against 15 “benchmark" U.S. cities, said the Steel City came in fourth in their recent Pittsburgh Sports Town Index.
“How a city or region does in terms of its sports teams, frankly, is an important, very important kind of quality-of-life measure,” Heuck said.
He said they derived the formula for the index by assigning a certain value to categories of historical successes of a city’s teams.
“We kind of put it all in a blender and we went through various kind of weighting things to see what would make the most sense, and to see what would come up with a reasonable end product and this is it,” he said.
The index measures nine categories, including number of professional teams, overall winning percentage and total championships won.
Of cities with three sports, Pittsburgh ranks highest in the index and ahead of two four-sport cities. Heuck credits Pittsburgh’s relatively high combined winning percentage and the city's 14 total championships.
Pittsburgh would be higher in the rankings if they had an NBA team, which is the only major sports franchise the city lacks, he said.
“That made the difference for us between third and fourth place," he said. "And just being nudged by Philadelphia, which has each one of the four major sports represented.”
In the category of overall winning percentage, Pittsburgh tied for third place with Detroit at 50.8 percent.