Have you ever wondered which team is the most successful in each sport?
To find out, a comprehensive rubric was developed to award points based on a team’s playoff success, with progressively more points given for advancing further. This rubric was then used to determine the most historically successful team in each professional sport, as well as to measure how dominant they are compared to other teams in the league. The analysis considers both the highest percentage of rubric points earned and the gap between the best team and the second-best team in the rubric’s points.
GENERAL POINTS RUBRIC
16 pts – Champions
8 pts – Reached Final Match
4 pts – Reached Semi-Final Match
2 pts – Reached Quarter-Final Match
1 pts – Reached Playoffs
MOST SUCCESSFUL FOOTBALL TEAM
Real Madrid have won the European championship 14 times, including five consecutive times between 1956 and 1960. More recently, the Spanish club also won three consecutive times from 2016 to 2018. In addition, the team has been runners-up on three occasions. The team has featured many Balon d’Or winners, including Ronaldo, Christiano Ronaldo, and Alfredo Di Stéfano. Bayern Munich is the second most successful team, but it has only won the European championship six times, eight less than Real Madrid.
The 5 Most Successful Clubs in European Football
MOST SUCCESSFUL BASKETBALL TEAM
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have had fairly consistent success throughout the decades. The franchise has won the NBA finals a 17 times in its record 32 appearances in the NBA Finals. The Lakers’ most recent championship came in 2020. The team won 5 championships in both the 1980’s with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and in the 2000’s with Kobe Bryant. In the early days of the NBA, it also won 5 championships with George Mikan. The Boston Celtics are the only other NBA team that has had somewhat similar success.
The 5 Most Successful NBA Franchises
MOST SUCCESSFUL CRICKET TEAM
Chennai Super Kings
The Super Kings have participated in 9 Indian Premier League Finals, by far the most in the league. The team won the IPL title 4 times, in 2010, 2011, 2018, and 2021. They also have the highest win percentage of matches among all teams in the IPL. The team’s achievements are even more impressive considering that they were suspended for two years due to their involvement in the spot-fixing controversy. The Mumbai Indians have won the IPL title a record 5 times, but only came out second in the overall rankings.
The 5 Most Successful IPL Franchises
MOST SUCCESSFUL BASEBALL TEAM
New York Yankees
The Yankees are by far the most successful team in MLB history. The have won the World Series a record 27 times. Although no other teams come close, the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals are the next most successful. In the first two decades of the World Series, the Yankees had won zero championships. Then from the 1920’s to the 1960’s the Yankees became especially dominate. However, the team has slowed down in recent years. Its last World Series win was back in 2009.
The 5 Most Successful MLB Franchises
MOST SUCCESSFUL ICE HOCKEY TEAM
The Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup a record 35 times. The franchise was especially dominate in the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s, including four straight championships from 1976 to 1979. However, the team has had less success in recent decades. Its most recent Stanley Cup win was back in 1993, though it did go to the finals in 2021. The Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs are the only other franchises to even be somewhat close to their amount of success.
The 5 Most Successful NHL Franchises
MOST SUCCESSFUL AMERICAN FOOTBALL TEAM
New England Patriots
The Patriots have the most appearances in the Super Bowl with eleven and have won it six times. Before the year 2000, the Patriots lagged far behind the Steelers and Cowboys in success, but now these teams are about even. The Patriots had never won a Super Bowl and had only gone to it twice, once in the 1980’s and once in the 1990’s. However, with the duo of quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick, the team became absolutely dominate, making the Super Bowl nine separate occasions between 2000-2020. However, since 2020 the team’s success has again begun to plateau.
The 5 Most Successful NFL Franchises
MOST SUCCESSFUL AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL TEAM
The Magpies are one of the oldest and most successful AFL clubs, having won 15 premierships in their history. They have also finished a record 28 times as runners-up, making them the team with the most Grand Final appearances. Expect for the 1990’s, the club has found relatively consistent success throughout the decades. As a result, Collingwood has a large and passionate supporter base, and their home games are always well attended. Carlton and Essendon have actually won more premierships with 16 each, but their success has not been as consistent.
MOST SUCCESSFUL RUGBY LEAGUE TEAM
The Roosters are one of the most successful NRL clubs, having won 4 premierships, with their most recent win coming in 2019. They have also been runners-up on 4 occasions. Sydney’s sustained success can be attributed to their ability to recruit and develop top-tier talent, and the leadership of their long-serving coach Trent Robinson. They have also won the Minor Premiership (awarded to the team that finishes the regular season with the most points) 5 times.
The 5 Most Successful NRL Clubs
DOMINANCE COMPARED ACROSS SPORTS
- Chennai Super Kings – IPL
- New York Yankees – MLB
- Montreal Canadiens – NHL
- Real Madrid – UCL
- Los Angeles Lakers – NBA
- Sydney Roosters – NRL
- Collingwood FC – AFL
- Mumbai Indians – IPL
- Boston Celtics – NBA
- Melbourne Storm – NRL
Full Ranking of the Most Dominant Sports Teams across Professional Sports