So who is the greatest sporting city in the North East?

Former Sunderland defender Younes Kaboul squares up to Newcastle's Aleksandar Mitrovic during the fierce rivals' last derby.
Former Sunderland defender Younes Kaboul squares up to Newcastle's Aleksandar Mitrovic during the fierce rivals' last derby.
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New research suggests Newcastle is the greatest sporting city in the region and that Sunderland does not even make the country's top 20.

The conclusion was reached after the University of Bath spoke to sports fans nationwide about factors such as value for money, success, atmosphere, history, venues and transport links.

While Newcastle has risen two places to ninth, Sunderland has fallen from 10th to 24th in the annual ratings with Middlesbrough plunging even further from 20th to 46th.

Liverpool was crowned the greatest sporting city nationally, replacing Leicester in top spot, with 2015 winner Manchester in second and London once again taking third place.

Leeds has moved up one place to fourth whilst Sheffield has broken into the top five for the first time after rising 13 places to fifth. Blackpool finished bottom out of 49 locations.

The university carried out the research on behalf of satellite television sports network ESPN and surveyed cricket, rugby union and rugby league fans as well as football supporters.

Assistant Professor Thomas Curran, University of Bath, “We are now in our third year of research and it continues to provide fascinating insights for both

professional clubs and cities to consider.

"The factors range from classic sporting themes, such as success and history, to more consumer-focused concerns, such as value for money and venues, which shows that it is possible

for cities to improve their rankings if they focus on the right areas.”

Supporters ranked value for money as the most important of 12 factors with 20 per cent of fans choosing it while 17 per cent of fans said a city’s match day

atmosphere was the most important.

Club success for a city’s professional teams received 15 per cent of votes.