There are few things which sports fans typically agree on, but one of them is that there are certain organisations that get their blood boiling. Throughout sports around the world most people can reel off a list of teams which they despise, and usually you will find the same names come up each time. Of course the fans of this team will beg to differ, but when all the other fan bases in the league hate your team then it is clear that they are doing something wrong (or possibly right).
There are all kinds of reasons why people hate sports teams. A lot of the time it has to do with success, as people hate winners and particularly when it is at the expense of their favourite team. Franchises which dominate for years become hated by everyone except their own fans, and this is why some of the greatest teams in the world are also hated by many. It is not just success and winning why people hate certain teams however, it can be to do with a philosophy they adopt, their loud and obnoxious fanbase, the attitude of the organisation or even the way in which they conduct their business.
These teams are so hated around the world that people will cheer when they are losing and always throw their support behind the other team. Seeing these teams lose and fall flat on their face can be a great source of entertainment, but as this list will demonstrate this does not happen too often and the most hated teams are often the ones that enjoy the most success.
Here are the top 15 most hated teams in all of sports.
15 San Francisco 49ers
There was a time where the 49ers were the most hated team in the NFL, and this was largely due to their dominance in the 80’s. They may not have won a championship since 1994, but they are still a team which everyone outside of the Bay Area seems to hate. In addition to this, some of their fans have a reputation for being obnoxious and sometimes even violent. Finally, the “who’s got it better than us?” slogan has an air of smugness about it which rubs many NFL fans up the wrong way.
14 Real Madrid
They may be one of the most decorated clubs of all time and play an exhilarating brand of football with plenty of goals, but Real Madrid are hated by people all around the world as well as in their own town. It is not so much to do with what happens on the pitch that makes Real so hated, it is the way in which the club is run. They famously spend record breaking sums on the best players in the world, making it impossible for teams to retain their star players. This is most evident through Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, and each summer the best player in the world will be a rumoured target for Real Madrid. The way they pursue players gives them a bad reputation, and Sir Alex Ferguson even described them as a “mafia” in their approach to signing Ronaldo.
Real Madrid are also known for their fickle fanbase, who have recently been booing their own team despite playing well, scoring goals and winning games.
13 Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are one of the more famous sports teams, and they are also one which is both loved and hated. They have an enormous fanbase, but outside of this they are despised by everyone else. They have enjoyed a huge amount of success on the field, and this means that they are frequently in the spotlight which will also repel many fans due to them being overexposed. This means they have a gigantic fanbase outside of Dallas and all around the world, and this sees many people feel that their fans are “fake”. Many don't like that they've christened themselves as 'America's Team'. The arrogance of owner Jerry Jones also irritates many.
12 Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red wings are despised around the NHL, and this is down to a number of reasons. Firstly, their tough, defensive style frustrates fans, but this is just the tip of the iceberg with the Red Wings. A lot of fans feel that Detroit stole the “Hockeytown” title despite hockey not being the top sport in the city, but they are also the only team to trademark the title. There is then their fanbase to consider, with many people feeling that Red Wings fans feel they are better than everyone else with a sense of snobbery stemming from being an Original Six Team. To top it all off, the controversial throwing of an octopus on the ice when they score in playoff home games polarizes fans around the league with most despising the tradition.
11 Boston Red Sox
There was a time where the country pitied the Red Sox more than anything, as Boston famously went 86 years without a trophy. They then won two championships in short succession, and the feeling of pity was one that was replaced by intense disdain. This came at a time where all the teams in New England were performing well in other sports too, which certainly added fuel to the fire for all the teams in the area. The Red Sox are also widely hated due to their gigantic payroll, which is only outdone by the New York teams. Despite this, Red Sox fans still complain that the Yankees only win because they spend so much money which does not help their case either.
10 Manchester United
Manchester United are supported by millions of people all around the world and are one of the most dominant and successful football teams of all-time. This also makes them one of the most hated teams in the game, largely due to the amount of “glory supporters” that they have. In England in particular, a huge percentage of Man United fans are from the other end of the country and have no ties to Manchester nor have they ever visited the area (let alone a game). This is hugely frustrating for other fans, who got a huge amount of pleasure following United’s slump after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. Manchester United are improving and becoming a force to be reckoned with once again however due to their ability to attract and pay for the top talent, and this also means that the hatred shows no signs of slowing down just yet.
9 USC Trojans
The USC football team is hated by a huge amount of college football fans, and this largely comes down to the arrogant aura you find both with the fans and the organization itself. Seeing as USC is also a private school, much like Duke, it is commonly seen as elitist which of course makes it intensely disliked by many people both in America and around the world. Fans therefore love to watch the Trojans lose, and no one more so than intense rivals UCLA (a public school). USC have enjoyed a great amount of success over the years and produced a number of top talents, and this contributes to the air of arrogance that surrounds the team and the fans.
8 Boston Bruins
A recent Reddit survey showed that the most hated team in the NHL is the Boston Bruins, and this is a sentiment shared around North America. A large part of this hatred comes down to a crop of players for the Boston team that are not the most likable, most notably Milan Lucic who is famous for several dirty plays over his career. Then of course there is Brad Marchand, hated for diving and various other dirty tactics. This dirty play seems to be a recurring theme with the Bruins, which does them few favors and ensures that even neutrals have disdain for this team. The fans are also notorious for their behavior and attitude, overall making them a franchise which is hated all around the world (and particularly in Canada).
7 Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are the most successful NBA franchise of all time and they had periods where they completely dominated the league (particularly the 60’s). This means that plenty of teams fell at the hands of the Celtics, making them a much hated team in the NBA. They are of course adored in Boston and by many basketball fans, but people also hate winners and the Celtics have a history of winning. Since Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen left Boston they have been forced to rebuild, but they are still hated by many players and fans even though they are no longer challengers. The Celtics have made many enemies over the years with LeBron being the latest, but they of course have a historic rivalry with a certain team from Los Angeles and therefore they are despised over on the West Coast. Speaking of the Lakers…
6 Los Angeles Lakers
Like the Celtics, the Lakers have had periods of domination and have an impressive 16 championship banners in the Staples Center. They are therefore hated by many (and all of Boston), and this remains the case even though they are no longer a playoff team. When you have had huge players including Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant all don the famous purple and gold it is inevitable that the team will be despised by many, even if they play an attractive style of basketball which the Lakers often have. The way fans around the league have taken joy in the Lakers' recent struggles is further proof of just how hated the Lakers are.
The newly crowned Premier League champions have enjoyed a tremendous amount of success in recent times, but they are also one of the most hated teams in football. The London side were always a very mediocre team, but they were then bought by Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich, who pumped gigantic sums of money into the team, very quickly turning them into title contenders. It was at this time where a huge amount of “fans” came out the woodwork, and Chelsea are famous for having plastic fans who were nowhere to be seen prior to the 2003 takeover. In addition to this, the Blues are also despised by many due to the defensive brand of football they play under Jose Mourinho (“Boring, Boring Chelsea as Arsenal fans chant), plus they have a history of sacking their manager at the drop of a hat.
4 New England Patriots
As this list demonstrates, when you win championships and dominate the sport you will be hated by just about everyone except your own fanbase. This is certainly the case with the Patriots, but there is also another reason why this franchise is despised by many NFL fans. In addition to winning, the Patriots have also been caught cheating a few times over the years, which is of course disrespectful to the sport and the fans. They have been caught illegally videotaping opponents, their snow plow operator cleared a spot specifically for their kicker so he could score the winning field goal in 1982, and most recently there has been the “deflategate” controversy where the Patriots have been accused of using underinflated balls. This all ensures that Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and co are the most hated team in the NFL.
3 Duke Blue Devils
The hatred for the Duke Blue Devils is very real, and this is largely due to their incredible consistency as the top team in college hoops. It is not only due to their decorated history however, as Duke fans also contribute to this hatred. The “Cameron Crazies”, as they are known, are incredibly passionate but many also feel that they have a superiority complex attached to this. The Duke style of basketball also irritates many fans, as they are famous for both flopping and stepping in to take charges. Several players that do this in the NBA are Duke alumni, and therefore some feel that the college is part responsible. Finally, many players who went pro are far from fan favorites in the NBA, most notably Christian Laettner.
2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are simultaneously loved and hated, with a passion. Having 11 national titles and seven Heisman Trophy winners contributes to this hatred from college football fans, but there are other factors too. Notre Dame has a television deal with NBC that sees all of their home games televised which leads to overexposure and frustration from other fans. In addition, this and their large fanbase allows them to be one of the most financially valuable football programs and therefore they stay independent and out of a conference. Many fans consequently feel that Notre Dame see themselves as better than other schools, and this generates a huge amount of hate for the Fighting Irish.
1 New York Yankees
You either love them, or you hate them. The Yankees are one of the most successful franchises in all of sports, and their staggering 27 championships means that they have dominated America’s favourite pastime at the expense of every other team. The Yankees fans are also despised as many feel that they are arrogant and feel it is their birthright to win championships, and this hatred unites other fanbases. In addition to this, the Yankees' jaw dropping payroll suggests that they buy success, and this is through buying many of the most hated players in the league like A-Rod. They may have many die hard fans in New York and around the world, but everyone else hates this storied and immensely successful franchise.