As someone who is constantly inundated with pitches and lists about where Minneapolis-St. Paul ranks in this category or that one, I consider myself somewhat of a gatekeeper.

Most of these offerings are well-meaning, but the majority aren’t worth further distribution.

But one that came to my attention today on the “sportiest cities in America” — seems more interesting than most for two reasons: the methodology and the weird list that it ended up producing. It helped, of course, that Minneapolis-St. Paul was high on the list, but our metro area routinely finds itself in the mix on similar lists about biking, the outdoors and sports in general.

This ranking, which appears in Men’s Health, is based on these criteria:Percentage of people with little to no leisure time activity, percentage of people with vigorous activity 5 or more days a week (CDC); Ratio of sports spending to average total household spending (Bureau of Labor Statistics); Percentage of people participating in spectator activities; attending games, tailgating, fantasy leagues (GfK Mediamark Research & Intelligence, LLC); Percentage of people participating playing sports (GfK Mediamark Research & Intelligence, LLC); Ratio of sports related business to total businesses (US Census Bureau); Acres of parkland per resident, park spending per resident (The Trust for Public Land).

Phew. That’s a lot of stuff and an eclectic mix. Minneapolis-St. Paul checks in at No. 5 after you take all of these things into account. But the top 25 is literally all over the map:

1. Austin, Texas; 2. Anchorage; 3. Raleigh, N.C. 4. Madison, Wis. 5. Minneapolis/St. Paul;6. Washington, D.C. 7. Plano, Texas; 8. Seattle;9. Denver; 10. Virginia Beach, Va. 11. San Jose, Calif. 12. Fargo, N.D.; 13. Fort Worth, Texas 14. San Diego 15. Charlotte, N.C. 16. Chesapeake, Va.; 17. Portland, Ore. 18. Aurora, Colo.; 19. Bakersfield, Calif.; 20. Boston; 21. Sioux Falls, S.D. 22. San Francisco; 23. Columbus, Ohio; 24. Atlanta 25. Colorado Springs

Seriously, this is the strangest list of 25 cities I’ve ever seen. Kudos to Fargo for beating San Diego and to Sioux Falls for edging out San Francisco. And good job to Minneapolis-St. Paul. We can feel good about how sporty we are, even if we’re no Anchorage or Madison.

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