When it comes to supporting their teams, sports fans are a class of their own. They can make total strangers feel like brothers up in the bleachers, but on the other hand they can also tear a city apart over something so trivial. Rabid or reserved, a fan is still a fan. No self-respecting sports team can call itself a team without them. Here are the top 10 most popular sports teams.
13 Greenbay Packers
Organized in 1919, the Packers are the third-oldest franchise in the NFL. They joined the American Professional Football Association, which would later become the NFL in 1921. The Packers have already won 13 league championships, however, nine of these were prior to the organization of the Super Bowl. They have also gone on to win Super Bowls in 1967, 1968, 1997 and most recently in 2011. Their most famous players include BJ Coleman and Reggie White while their most famous coach is Vince Lombardi.
12 New England Patriots
Originally called the Boston Patriots, the team changed its name after relocating to Foxborough in 1971. Between 2001 and 2010 the team set the record for most wins by a football team in a decade. They also became the second team in the NFL win three Super Bowls in four years after the Cowboys. They won the Super Bowl in 2001, 2003 and 2004. Among their most famous players are Bruce Armstrong, Ben Coates and Drew Bledsoe.
11 Pittsburgh Steelers
The oldest franchise in the American Football Division, the Steelers were originally named after a baseball team. The team shares the same record with the Cowboys regarding Super Bowl appearances. They won the Super Bowl in 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 2005, 2008 and more recently in 2009. Its more recognizable players include Rod Woodson, Dermontti Dawson and Mike Webster.
10 Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have the record for the most Super Bowl appearances (a record they share with the Pittsburgh Steelers). They are also the only NFL team to record 20 straight winning seasons from 1966 to 1985. The also won the Super Bowl in 1971, 1977, 1992, 1993 and 1995. They are also the next most valuable sports franchise in the U.S. and the second in the world after Manchester United. Among its most famous players are Troy Aikman, Larry Allen and Emmit Smith.
8 Miami Heat
From February 3 to March 27, 2013 the Heat won 27 consecutive games, coming second to the longest winning streak at 33 consecutive games by the LA Lakers. Among its most famous players are Dwyane Wade, Alonzo Mourning and Shaquille O’Neal.
7 Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks have won three division titles in (1987, 2007 and 2010), two conference championships (2006 and 2011), and one NBA Championship (2011) since their opening season in 1980-1981. Their most famous players include Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Dennis Rodman.
6 Portland Trailblazers
They’ve managed to enter the NBA finals in 1977, 1990 and 1992, but they only won the Championship the first time. Nevertheless they still have a solid fan base. They have qualified for the playoffs 29 times and once had a 21-game winning streak from 1983 through 2003. Their best record was 63–19, in 1991; the worst record was 18–64 in the team's second season. Among their famous players are Clyde Drexler, Arvydas Sabonis and also Scottie Pippen.
5 Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls are still one of the most loved NBA teams in history. Even as critics said it can no longer repeat its record of so many successive NBA finals wins, the fans refused to leave its side. Among the most famous of the players to play for the team are Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Derrick Rose.
3 Real Madrid
Their fans worldwide are around 450 million according to Siemens AG.
Unlike most European football clubs, Real Madrid is owned and operated by its own members since its founding in 1902. It is reportedly also the world’s richest football club in terms of revenue with an estimated annual turnover of equivalent to $675 million. Its player roster includes Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casilas and Sergio Ramos.
Figures place their fans around 480 million worldwide. Founded in 1899, Barcelona owned and operated by its own members. Next to Real Madrid it is also the world's second-richest football club in terms of revenue, with an annual turnover of the equivalent of $636 million. In 2009, Barcelona became the first Spanish club to win the La Liga, Copa del Rey, and the Champions League. Also that year they became the first football club to win six out of six competitions in a year. They also have a record two FIFA World Cup victories. Their most famous players include world’s current number one Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho and Carles Puyol.
1 Manchester United
Manchester United Football Club was founded as the Newton Heath Football Club in 1878 and later changed its name to Manchester United in 1902. It plays in the Premier League and has won many trophies in English football, including 20 league titles, a record 11 FA Cups, three European Cups, one UEFA Super Cup, and one FIFA Club World Cup. According to a survey, their fanbase has doubled over the last five years, now it’s 659 million. That’s almost a billion fans from all over the world. Most fans are not from the United Kingdom, according to the survey, in fact only one percent of the teams fans are in the UK. The bulk of their fans are in the Asia Pacific region with 325 million, the Middle East and Africa with 173 million and China with 108 million. The club is set to embark on a marathon tour of South Africa and China in hopes of striking out into new markets. Their most famous players include the most decorated player in English history Ryan Giggs, Bryan Robson and Nemanja Vidic.
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