50 States in 52 weeks: Missouri vs Ohio: who reigns supreme in sports?

Samantha Lande
20 May 2016

Sports fandom is strong in the Midwest with good reason – there’s plenty to cheer for across various games. Two states in particular, Missouri and Ohio, produce some of the most dedicated enthusiasts. But which one has the upper hand? Midwestern native Samantha Lande examines the state of play

Major strengths: baseball, hockey
Worthy stats: Missouri is home to the Kansas City Royals and St Louis Cardinals (baseball), St Louis Blues (hockey), Kansas City Chiefs (American football), Sporting Kansas City (major league soccer)

Heading to St. Louis? Make sure to catch a baseball game, complete with hot dog and peanuts in hand. The St Louis Cardinals have had a long standing history of wins at Busch Stadium, named after the American beer conglomerate. They won the world series in both 2006 and 2011. Busch Stadium has also been home to some international soccer games – Manchester City vs Chelsea in 2013, and the first match in the fourth round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.  If you want to catch a hockey game, St. Louis has an NHL team that rivals the best of them.

Head about 250 miles west, to the very western edge of Missouri and you’ll be in Kansas City. Although at opposite ends of the state, both cities host equally impressive baseball teams and are bitter rivals – with Kansas City claiming the 2015 World Series title. Kansas City also claims the state’s only American football team, the Kansas City Chiefs, with their stadium adjacent to their bat-and-ball counterparts. It’s a unique experience to watch a live American football game in an open-air stadium.

Where to watch a live game: Scottrade Center is home to ice hockey team the St Louis Blues, and is an electrifying setting to watch the pucks fly.

Sports bar to visit: Quench your thirst at Chappell's in Kansas City , a great place to watch sports when you aren't scoping out the large collection of sports memorabilia on display.

Major strengths: basketball, college football, Pro Football Hall of Fame
Worthy stats: The state of Ohio is home to Ohio State University, plus teams like The Cleveland Cavaliers (basketball), Cleveland Indians (baseball), Cleveland Browns (American Football), Columbus Blue Jackets (hockey), Columbus Crew (major league soccer) and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Ohio takes sports very seriously, and rightfully so. It boasts a strong record of successes in multiple sports leagues and is the birthplace of basketball great LeBron James (who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers). Sports start early for Ohioans who take great pride in the Ohio State University, whose college football team is one of the best teams of all time. Catch a game in Columbus, Ohio in the autumn and you’ll see just how dedicated these fans are.  

Two hours away is Cleveland, Ohio where the city has a professional baseball, football and basketball team. Although there have always been rumours that the teams are cursed, [please say why in a line or two – rather than linking] the Cleveland Cavaliers have proven themselves to be the closest to achieving a winning title. Just a short distance from Cleveland, is the Pro Football Hall of Fame where American football lovers can relive the glory days of their favourite players including Terry Bradshaw, Bruce Smith, and OJ Simpson.

Where to watch a live game: Huntington Park may be home to Columbus' minor league baseball team, the Columbus Clippers, but tickets are inexpensive, there are plenty of places to sit and even picnic and there is tons to do for families making this a great place to see a live sports event.

Sports bar to visit: Drop in at Winking Lizard – free popcorn, hundreds of beer options and locations across Ohio makes this the perfect place to root on your favourite team.

For ultimate sports fans, Ohio takes the lead – thanks to the sheer diversity of what they have to offer. Still, Missouri is a fierce contender and who knows what the future of sport holds?