Chicago tops Sporting News list of Best Sports Cities

With the Stanley Cup-winning Blackhawks and fast-rising Bulls leading the way, Chicago is No. 1 in Sporting News' 17th annual Best Sports Cities rankings.

Chicago dethroned Pittsburgh, a first-time winner in 2009, which fell to and No. 12 in 2010's rankings. Rounding out the top 10 are:

Ÿ No. 2 Boston

Ÿ No 3. Los Angeles

Ÿ No. 4 Philadelphia

Ÿ No. 5 Dallas/Fort Worth

Ÿ No. 6 New York

Ÿ No. 7 Phoenix/Tempe

Ÿ No. 8 Atlanta

Ÿ No. 9 Denver/Boulder

Ÿ No. 10 Detroit/Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti.

For Chicago, the top ranking on the SN list is the city's third, trailing only Boston with four.

Legendary Bears linebacker and Chicago native, Dick Butkus on what makes Chicago the Best Sports City: “The Bears have had some down years, but they always sell tickets. You go to a Blackhawks game, whether they're good or bad, the fans are there. The Bulls sucked for a while until Michael Jordan came, but we still had the team and the people would go. ... And Cubs fans ... are they nuts? Why do they go there? I'll tell you why, because they represent their city. ...There's plenty to do in Chicago, too. The people there don't have to go through the hassle of attending games, but they always do anyway.

This year's list is based on the 12 months from summer 2009 to summer 2010 and features 402 cities and towns in the United States and Canada.

The rankings are based on a variety of factors, including each city's number of teams and their regular-season won-lost records, postseason appearances, bowl appearances and tournament bids, championships, applicable power ratings, attendance, fan fervor and more.

Sporting News began its Best Sports City rankings in 1993. Past winners:

2009: Pittsburgh

2008: Boston

2007: Detroit

2006: Chicago

2005: Boston

2004: Boston

2003: Anaheim/Los Angeles

2002: Boston

2001: New York

2000: St. Louis

1999: New York

1998: Detroit

1997: Denver

1995: Denver

1994: Cleveland

1993: Chicago

Note: There was no Best Sports City in 1996 as the ratings were expanded and refined.