Analysis: Atlanta among top 20 cities for basketball fans

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Three other Georgia cities make WalletHub ranking

Basketball is the second most popular sport in the United States, according to Gallup, and fans are closely watching the NBA playoffs.

Atlanta Hawks fans, unfortunately, are watching other teams play.

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“(T)he Hawks had to fight tooth and nail just to reach the playoffs, finishing ninth in the East before winning two play-in tournament games,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Hawks beat writer Sarah K. Spencer wrote. “Then, they got bounced in the first round.”

But the team’s absence from the playoffs apparently hasn’t dampened its fans’ spirits, according to a new analysis by WalletHub. The financial website crunched the numbers to determine 2022′s best and worst cities for basketball fans, and Atlanta fans finished in the top 20.

WalletHub’s rankings came from comparing more than 293 of the most populated cities across two divisional categories: NBA and NCAA. Within those two categories, they included 21 key metrics, each graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 being the best.

The researchers chose cities with at least one college basketball or NBA team. They then also ranked the cities based on population size, using the following groupings:

  • Large cities: More than 300,000 people
  • Midsize cities: 100,000 to 300,000 people
  • Small cities: Fewer than 100,000 people

When the scores were tallied, Los Angeles — home of the Lakers — claimed the top spot with a score of 63.57.

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Georgia has four cities in WalletHub’s analysis, but only one in the top 20. With an overall score of 38.25, Atlanta finished at No. 14.

Much, much farther down on this list were Athens, Kennesaw and Macon.

Macon finished at No. 220, with an overall score of 13.62. Athens wasn’t too far behind, ranking No. 258, with an overall score of 12.28. Claiming the last spot for Georgia was Kennessaw at No. 278 and a score of just 10.42.

Now the Hawks are traveling 15,000 miles to make some new fans. The Hawks will play the Milwaukee Bucks in two October exhibition games at Etihad Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.

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