Is Peoria basketball hell?
A report released Tuesday pegged Peoria the third-worst basketball town in America.
I know, I know. Surveys, studies and polls drop out of the sky all the time, with the regularity and impact of pigeon droppings. Wipe it off and move on.
But third worst? Nationally?
That’s the declaration by WalletHub, a personal-finance website that crunches all sorts of numbers all the time. Like, in 2015 when it pounded Peoria as a crummy baseball town. Or last year, when it painted P-town as a lackluster place to look for a job.
This week’s report, “2017’s Best & Worst Cities for Basketball Fans,” puts Peoria at No. 291 out of 293 cities in the nation. The rankings are based on 17 metrics measuring the success and fan base of NBA and college teams. Obviously, Peoria suffers for a lack of a pro team, but that’s the situation for all but 29 other burgs. In other words, 263 cities tied at 30th for “NBA rank.”
So, according to WalletHub’s calculations, a lot of the local ranking fell on the shoulders of Bradley University. Blame was spread among players (No. 282 in performance level compared to other NCAA Division I teams), the school (No. 149 in basketball stadium capacity) and fans (No. 208 in fan engagement, which involves Twitter and Facebook traffic per capita). That pretty much smacks down everyone, eh?
Overall in the report, No. 1 was Los Angeles. In Illinois, the top honors went to Chicago, which ranked No. 9. For those Peorians tasting sour grapes, you might point out that Chicago happens to have an NBA team. Then again, Rosemont has no pro or college teams (DePaul played it’s last game at Allstate Arena in March), yet ranked 45th.
And, perhaps most remarkable was the 128th status of Charleston, home to Eastern Illinois University, which because of budget woes seems on the brink of extinction with every payroll run. Yet aside from Champaign (No. 88), no other…