1. Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees (MLB)
Arguably, the most famous rivalry in all of sports, the rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox dates back to 1919, when Red Sox owner Harry Freeze sold superstar Babe Ruth to the Yankees. The trade sparked the rivalry as Ruth went on to lead the Yankees to four World Series. From 1919 to 2003 the Yankees won 26 World Series to the Red Sox none, however, in 2004 the Red Sox captured their first World Series in 86 years after erasing a three game to none deficit in the ALCS. Yankees-Red Sox games are some of the best games of the season, so make sure to get tickets when the Red Sox come to town.
2. LA Lakers vs Boston Celtics (NBA)
The Lakers rivalry with the Celtics is arguably the best rivalry in the NBA as well as the fiercest cross-country rivalry in sports. These are the two most successful franchises in the NBA, and as a result, the two teams have met in the NBA Finals a record 12 times. The rivalry was particularly fierce in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1980s. However, the two have recently met in the 2008 and 2010 NBA Finals. The chance to see these two square off is a can’t miss, so if you can only go to one Lakers home game a year, this is the one to see.
3. Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears (NFL)
Known as the most historical and compelling rivalry in the NFL, matchups between the Bears and the Packers guarantee physical play. It is the league’s longest continual rivalry, and the victories are split almost evenly between each team, so you can expect players to duke it out in zealous fashion. Fans might egg each other on, but at the end of the day one team advances further, and the other team gets a better draft pick when all is said and done. There isn’t a better time to take in a game at Soldier Field then when the hated Green Bay Packers are in town, so if you can only make it to one game make sure it’s a Bears-Packers game.
4. Duke vs North Carolina (NCAAB)
Duke-North Carolina is the biggest rivalry in college basketball, so if you ever have the chance to attend a game between these two Tobacco Road rivals jump at it. The rivalry has produced many unforgettable moments over the years including Duke’s 87-86 triple overtime victory over the Tar Heels in 1968. National media sports outlets like ESPN and Sports Illustrated have ranked the rivalry as the best in college basketball, so make sure to attend a Duke-North Carolina game if you ever get the chance.
5. LA Dodgers vs SF Giants (MLB)
This mutual dislike began in the late 19th century (1890 to be exact), during the days when both clubs were in New York City. When Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley moved his team to Cali, he convinced Giants owner Horace Stoneham to do the same in order to preserve the rivalry. These NL West teams each have the most National League pennants with 21 and six World Series titles. Plenty of broken Big Apple hearts along the way. The Dodgers and Giants are tied for most National League Pennants, each with 23. While the Dodgers have won the National League West 17 times compared to the Giants’ 8 since the beginning of the Divisional Era in 1969, the Giants have more total wins, head-to-head wins, and World Series titles (8–6) in franchise history. Since moving to California, the Dodgers hold the edge in pennants (11-6) and World Series titles (5–3). The Giants’ most recent World Series appearance and championship occurred in 2014. The Dodgers last appeared in the World Series in 2018, with their most recent title coming in 1988.
6. Montreal Canadiens vs Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
The rivalry between the Canadiens and Maple Leafs extends beyond the ice and is a reflection of the rivalry between Montreal and Toronto. The two teams are the most decorated in the NHL having won 24 and 13 Stanley Cups respectively. They have also met in the Stanley Cup Finals five times over the years with their most recent clash taking place in 1967. There is always a lot at stake when these two get together, so make sure to be in attendance for the hotly contested Canadiens-Maple Leafs games.
7. USC vs UCLA (NCAAF)
The term cross-town rivalry doesn’t accurately describe how interconnected these two fan bases are and thus the intensity of this annual rivalry. The two schools are both located in the city of Los Angeles with just twelve miles separating the two campuses. During a few seasons in the 1980s the two schools both played their home games at the LA Coliseum, and as a result, when they played each other both teams wore their home uniforms. This tradition was revived in 2008 despite the fact the two schools no longer share a venue. The winner of this annual matchup has been awarded the Victory Bell since 1941. USC is leading the trophy series 39-31-4.
8. Pittsburgh Penguins vs Philadelphia Flyers (NHL)
Flyers and Penguins fans flat out hate each other. These two teams have been battling it out for instate supremacy since they both entered the league in 1967 and things have only gotten more tense between the two over the years. The Flyers and Pens have met in the playoffs six times with their most recent matchup in 2012 producing one of the best playoff series in recent memory. There’s a lot on the line when these Keystone State foes get together making a matchup between them a must see for hockey fans everywhere.
9. New York Yankees vs New York Mets (MLB)
The intracity rivalry between the Mets and Yankees always makes for a fun game to watch. There are always a lot of bragging rights on the line when the Mets and Yankees meet, and you’ll hear plenty of trash talking making a Mets-Yankees game at Citi Field a can’t miss experience. The Big Apple brawl to some, the Subway Series to others…Yanks vs. Mets is perhaps the most heated intra-city rivalry in all of sports (or maybe just New York). While the Pinstripes have dominated the baseball world for almost a century, it’s been the exuberance of the often-youthful Mets that has this feud picking up steam. But let’s be honest—the 2000 World Series was the most ruthless fan war in recent time, before the Yanks trounced the Mets in five games.
10. Wisconsin Badgers vs Minnesota Gophers (NCAAF)
Sure Wisconsin leads the oldest rivalry in FBS with a 37-24-3 record, but it’s the winning prizes that have us intrigued…and hungry. Amid the 120 editions dating back to 1890 have been two interesting awards. The illustrious Slab of Bacon, a piece of wood with an M and W inscribed in it (depending on how it is hung), was given out until 1943, when it was allegedly lost. Paul Bunyan’s Axe was the replacement in 1948, giving players plenty to play for.
Each year the Minnesota Golden Gophers play the Wisconsin Badgers for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. The rivalry began in 1890 when the Gophers crushed the Badgers 63-0 and is the most played rivalry in FBS history. The two schools had played for the Axe every year since 1948 when it replaced the Slab of Bacon, which was stolen by Wisconsin in 1943. The Gophers lead the all-time series 59-57-8 and hope to hold off the Badgers and extend their slim lead this coming season.
11. Richard Petty vs David Pearson (NASCAR)
The greatest rivals in the history of Nascar, Petty and Pearson were as tight knit as they come, as they finished first and second in either combination 63 times from 1963-1977. But it was the final lap of the Daytona 500 in 1976 that cemented their legends. After crashing into each other in preparation of eluding one another, Pearson rolled across the finish line at 20 miles per hour, while his equal laid on the grass amid a dead engine. An awe-inspiring moment in racing history.
12. Manchester United vs Liverpool (UEFA)
Some call it the North West derby, others pure madness, but either way this historic rivalry never ceases to amaze us. Both hailing from the North West of England, these clubs are the most successful England soccer teams, as they have 119 honors between them (60 for Manchester United and 59 for Liverpool). The pinnacle of England footballing.
13. Chicago Cubs vs Chicago White Sox (MLB)
These two teams originally met in 1997 and the rivalry has been building since. The proximity of the two teams makes it very easy for fans from both the Cubs and Brewers to attend games in the park of the opposing team. Incidents such as the Cubs fan base buying more tickets to Miller Park than Brewers fans, as well as both teams battling for the National League Central crown on multiple occasions, have made this match up a fun and interesting one to watch.
14. California Golden Bears vs Stanford (NCAAF)
The Stanford Cardinal have been Cal’s arch rivals since 1892 making it the oldest college football rivalry in the West. The rivalry had produced many memorable moments over the years with the most famous coming in 1982 when the Cardinal band entered the field with time left to play as Cal returned the game-winning touchdown. Stanford holds the all-time series lead is taking home the Stanford Axe in 60 of the schools’ 117 meetings. If you can make it to only one Stanford game, then The Big Game is the one to see.
15. Army vs Navy (NCAAF)
The Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy is awarded to the winner of the three-way rivalry between Army, Navy, and Air Force. While Army and Navy typically play on a neutral site, the Navy-Air Force matchup alternates between Annapolis and Colorado Springs, so if you want to see this matchup be sure to attend the game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on the first Saturday of October. The Midshipmen’s 17 victories are only three short of Air Force’s 20, so they’ll look to knot things up soon. It’s always a big game when Army and Navy square off no matter what the sport. The two service academies have one of the oldest rivalries in college sports making it a can’t miss whenever these two get together. Don’t miss it when the Black Knights and Midshipmen face off on the court as you’ll be in for a good one.
16. Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Auburn Tigers (NCAAF)
The University of Alabama and Auburn University play each other annually in the Iron Bowl, arguably one of the most heated and hardest-fought rivalries in all of sports. The game is alternately held at each school with the Crimson Tide hosting in even years and the Auburn Tigers are hosting in odd. As both schools are proudly among the most winningest collegiate football programs, this game is one of the best of the year.
17. Detroit Red Wings vs Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)
The Red Wings and Blackhawks may no longer play in the same division or even the same conference, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a can’t miss game when Chicago comes to town. The two teams have been competing on the ice since 1926, and at one point the two teams even shared the same owner. The two teams have met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs 15 times with the Hawks winning the most recent matchup four games to three after overcoming a three games to one deficit. There is still a lot of hate in the building when these two get together, so don’t miss your chance to see the Wings take on the Hawks.
18. Real Madrid vs Barcelona (UEFA)
Perhaps the most watched club football match in the world (other than the UEFA Champions League Final), Real Madrid vs. Barcelona is a matchup that always instills stress among the fans. As the two richest, largest and most successful clubs in Spain battle for that next trophy (Barcelona has 75, Real Madrid has 74), fans go into frenzies. With conflicting political views, these cities are always eager to reign supreme.
19. Ohio State vs Michigan (NCAAF)
Depending on who you ask, The Michigan – Ohio State rivalry is the biggest rivalry in all of college football and maybe all of collegiate athletics. These teams have met 111 times with the first meeting taking place in 1897. Michigan currently holds the series lead 58-46-6 and will look to expand on it in the coming years. This rivalry has gained significant traction over the past forty years due to it normally determining the Big Ten Conference champions, which it has done 22 times. The game has even had National Championship implications as in the past both teams have come into the game with National Championship in their grasp.The matchup is also a border war, making it one of the most exciting games to watch in all of college football. It’s known as The Game, a blood-thirsty, hard-fought battle between two powerhouses, both looking to determine the Big Ten Conference title and the eventual Rose Bowl matchups.
20. Joe Frazier vs Muhammad Ali (Boxing)
Ali was a hero to the blacks, a chatty, bordering far beyond arrogant loud-mouth with hands of steel. But he seemingly depicted his rival as the white man’s hope, an “Uncle Tom” if you will, who was different and eventually seen as a villain. However, Frazier (R.I.P.) just yearned for the moment he could pay back his talkative opponent with a nice collection of stellar crunches. Three fights, 41 rounds and constant bloodshed. These two survived three murderous attempts from each other and remain the greatest rivalry ever.
21. Dallas Cowboys vs Washington Redskins (NFL)
The rivalry between the Cowboys and Redskins began before the Cowboys even entered the league when the Cowboys founder Clint Murchison bought the Redskins’ fight song to use as leverage to get George Preston Marshall’s approval for the expansion. The first meeting between these two rivals took place on October 9, 1960, when the Redskins defeated the Cowboys 26-14 for their only victory of the season, however, over the years Dallas has gotten the better of the ‘Skins taking a 66-44-2 lead in the all-time series.
22. Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer (Tennis)
As the only male pair to have finished six consecutive calendar years as the top two ranked players on the ATP Tour (2005–2010), Federer and Nadal continue to lead the tennis world. They’ve played 28 times, with Nadal leading the series 18–10, and have played in a record eight Grand Slam finals. But Nadal’s victory at the memorable 2008 Wimbledon final was perhaps the greatest tennis match in history.
23. India vs Pakistan (Cricket)
Following the partition of India in 1947 and the independence of the Muslim state of Pakistan, these two cricket teams have had a vigorous, heavily intense rivalry that is only suspended during times of war. Violent fans, millions of expected viewers and testy matches have helped sustain this flourishing competition. No crickets chirping during these games.
24. Texas Longhorns vs Oklahoma Sooners (NCAAF) - Red River Rivalry
The Texas/OU Sooners rivalry is one of the biggest in all of college sports. The name comes from the river that forms part of the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma. Red River Shootout trophies are given out at the game, most notably the Golden Hat which is a gold ten-gallon hat that the athletic department of the winning school holds onto until the next showdown. Even the governor’s of Oklahoma and Texas get involved: the losing Governor has to present a side of beef to the winning governor who is then given to charity. This rivalry game makes for a great tailgating experience.
25. Chicago Cubs vs STL Cardinals (MLB) - Route 66 Rivalry/I-55 Series
The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals play in a rivalry dubbed the Route 66 Rivalry. The rivalry between the Cubs and Cardinals is among the best in baseball and the two teams have a long history having played each other since the 1800s. There are few better times to be at Wrigley then when the Cardinals are in town.
26. Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore Ravens (NFL)
The Steelers’ rivalry with the Ravens is a relatively new one. However, that doesn’t stop it from being one of the fiercest in the NFL. The rivalry between these two teams dates back to 1996 when the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore to fill the vacancy left by the Colts when they moved to Indianapolis. These two foes have squared off against each other in many big games as they’ve met in the playoffs four times over the last fourteen seasons. The Steelers lead the all-time series 24-18 and hold a 3-1 lead in the postseason.
27. Kentucky Wildcats vs Louisville Cardinals (NCAAB)
College basketball is king in Kentucky, so it shouldn’t surprise you that there is a great deal of animosity between the two largest programs in the state. The Kentucky-Louisville rivalry is one of the best in college basketball and was even ranked the third best rivalry in college basketball by college basketball analyst Dick Vitale. Kentucky and Louisville are always among the best teams in the country, so you’ll be in for a treat when attending a Kentucky-Louisville game.
28. Detroit Pistons vs Chicago Bulls (NBA)
The Pistons-Bulls rivalry dates back to the 1980s when Michael Jordan and company squared off against the Bad Boys. The two teams met in the playoffs four years in a row from 1988 to 1991, and the Pistons even developed a famous strategy for beating Jordan known as the “Jordan Rules.” The rivalry remains one of the most hotly contested to this day thanks to the Pistons and Bulls sharing the Central Division. If you want to attend a high stakes game at Little Caesars, then make sure to circle the Bulls games on your calendar.
29. Peyton Manning vs Tom Brady (NFL players)
It was sparked by Peyton and continued/finished by Eli…the Manning family against Tom Brady. While Peyton is statistically perhaps the best to ever play the game, he could never seem to beat his arch nemesis (excluding the 2006 AFC championship game). His younger, seemingly less talented brother, however, beat Brady in two Super Bowls (2008 and 2012), cementing his name among the best winners in history. Brady’s still scratching his head.
30. Magic Johnson vs Larry Bird (NBA players)
31. Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)
The Cavaliers–Warriors rivalry is a National Basketball Association (NBA) rivalry between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. While the two teams have played each other since the Cavaliers joined the league in 1970, their rivalry began to develop in the 2014–15 season, when they met in the first of four consecutive NBA Finals, from 2015 to 2018. Prior to the streak beginning, no pair of teams had faced each other in more than two consecutive Finals. Of these four series, the Warriors won three championships (2015, 2017, and 2018) and the Cavaliers, one (2016). The Finals streak ended in the 2018-19 season, during which the Cavaliers missed the playoffs following LeBron James’ move to the Los Angeles Lakers.
32. New England Patriots vs New York Jets (NFL)
The rivalry between the Patriots and Jets is comparable to the fierce Red Sox-Yankees matchup in baseball. The two teams have been playing twice a year since the start of the American Football League, and as a result of the two cities, strong animosity towards each other have developed a strong rivalry over the years. The rivalry encompasses players, coaches, and fans making it not only one of the fiercest in the AFC East, but also the NFL.
33. Missouri Tigers vs Kansas Jayhawks (NCAAB)
Missouri and Kansas have a long-standing rivalry across all sports. However, the rivalry has been dormant since 2012 when the Tigers moved to the SEC. The rivalry between these two states dates back to before the Civil War, so make sure to be in attendance when this rivalry kicks off again. Stemming from the Civil War era, when Missouri’s pro-slavery society attempted to influence Kansas’ entrance into the union, this collision isn’t only the oldest college sports rivalry west of the Mississippi River, but features plenty of bad blood between fans.
34. Florida State vs Miami Hurricane (NCAAF)
These two schools first met in 1951 when the Hurricanes beat the Seminoles 35-13. Since then the series has been close with Miami holding a slight 31-28 all-time lead. However, the Seminoles have won the last five in a row. This rivalry has been particularly heated since the late 1980s as both teams have found themselves near the top of the rankings in recent years. Field Goals have been particularly pivotal in the rivalry having decided several of the most famous contests including Wide Right I, II, III, and IV as well as Wide Left.
35. Atlanta Falcons vs New Orleans Saints (NFL)
The biggest rival for the Atlanta Falcons are the New Orleans Saints. The rivalry has even garnered the nickname the “Southern Showdown” or “Dixie Championship” due to its importance among the fans. Currently, the Falcons lead the all-time series 49-43, but since Sean Payton and Drew Brees showed up on the scene, the Saints have dominated the series with 13 victories out of the last 17 matchups. These are by far the most intense games for fans to go to as the rivalry is the oldest and most established in the NFC South.
36. Harvard vs Yale (Different Sports)
The rivalry between Harvard and Yale is the third most played rivalry in Division I college football and is one of the best rivalries in college sports. Sports Illustrated named the rivalry the sixth-best in college sports and no matter what the sport or contest there are always bragging rights on the line between the two Ivy League schools. Harvard and Yale flat out hate each other, and it’s no different on the gridiron. The Bulldogs hold a 66-59-8 lead in the rivalry, but you won’t want to miss it when the Crimson take on Yale. Harvard-Yale is one of the most famous rivalries in college sports. While the football game may get the majority of the press, there is lots of bad blood between these longtime rivals on the court as well. A Harvard-Yale game should be on the bucket list of any college sports fan, so make sure to get your tickets to Harvard-Yale.
37. BYU vs Utah (NCAAB and NCAAF) - Holy War
The Holy War is the name given to the rivalry between the BYU Cougars and Utah Utes. The rivalry between the two universities stems from the stark contrast between the cultures of these two Utah-based institutions. BYU is a private religious institution while Utah is a state public school. The two schools have been playing since 1896 and the winner of the annual contests walk away with the Beehive Boot. The Utes lead the all-time series 57-34-4, but the Cougars hope to narrow the gap this season.
38. Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC (MLS) - 401 Derby
The 401 Derby between the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC is one of the most intense rivalries in Major League Soccer. The derby is named after Ontario Highway 401, which connects the two cities. The rivalry mirrors the one between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maples and like that one both the distance between the two cities and their cultural differences fuel the flames. If you can only attend one Montreal Impact match, then make it be a 401 Derby match between the Impact and Toronto FC.
39. LA Galaxy vs San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) - California Clasico
The rivalry between the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes is one of the oldest and fiercest rivalries in Major League Soccer. The California Clasico mirrors the long-standing Southern California-Northern California rivalry, and there are always a ton of bragging rights on the line when these two meet. The rivalry was at its fiercest from 2001 to 2005 when both teams were consistently among the top teams in the league, but you’ll still be in for a great contest when attending a California Clasico.
40. Toronto Argonauts vs Montreal Alouettes (CFL)
Montreal and Toronto have a fierce rivalry that extends beyond sports making any contest between Montreal and Toronto intense. The Als-Argos rivalry mirrors the rivalry between the two cities as well as the Canadiens and Maple Leafs making every matchup between these two a must-see.
41. Montana vs Montana State (FCS) - Brawl of the Wild
The rivalry between the University of Montana Grizzlies and the Montana State Bobcats can be traced back to November 26, 1897 in Bozeman. The fanbases of the two schools is split by the Continental Divide, which is a natural mountainous division of the state. Montana Griz fans on the west side and the Montana State Bobcats fans on the east side of the Divide. In 2001, the two schools formalized the rivalry and made the Great Divide Trophy one of the hardest fought rivalries in the FCS.
42. Bethune Cookman vs Florida A&M (FCS) - Florida Classic
The Florida Classic is played each year between Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman and is the biggest MEAC game of the year. The game is held at Camping World Stadium in Orlando and is a must-see event for any Rattlers fan. The rivalry dates back to 1925, and the Rattlers hold a 50-21-1 all-time lead in the series. Although, the battle of the bands between the two schools is the real show, so make sure to stay in your seat at halftime when attending the Florida Classic.
43. Boca Junior vs River Plate (Super Clasico)
There are few local rivalries as powerful as the one between beloved Argentine football clubs River Plate and Boca Juniors. The Superclasico featuring these two teams is passionate, ruthless and quite popular. They attract about 70 percent of all Argentine football fans between them.
44. Iowa vs Iowa State (NCAAF) - Cy-Hawk Trophy
Arguably the biggest in-state collegiate football rivalry, the Iowa State – Iowa game is one of the biggest tailgating events of the season. Each year the winner of the game takes home the Cy-Hawk trophy as well as bragging rights. Students from both schools use this game as an opportunity to try and outdo each other in tailgating, making it one of the most fun Iowa State games to attend.
45. Cincinnati Bearcats vs Xavier Musketeers (NCAAB) - Crosstown Classic
The Xavier Musketeers and Cincinnati Bearcats meet annually to determine who has bragging rights over the city of Cincinnati. The schools are separated by only three miles, so you better believe that both teams want to win this annual contest badly. Cincinnati leads the all-time series 49-34, but the Musketeers have won 14 of the last 20 meetings, so you’ll be in for a treat when these two Queen City schools meet.
46. Gonzaga Bulldogs vs St Mary’s Gaels (NCAAB)
Gonzaga’s biggest rivals are fellow WCC members Saint Mary’s. The two teams have met twice a year since 1980, and both teams have consistently been among the best teams in the WCC over the last decade. There are more than just bragging rights on the line when Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s meet as every matchup between these two could decide who ends up conference champions. If you can only get to one Bulldogs basketball game, then make sure to get your tickets when the Gaels come to Spokane.
47. Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers (MLS)
The rivalry between the Timbers and Sounders is one of the best in MLS. The Timbers-Sounders rivalry dates back to the original North American Soccer League making it one of the oldest rivalries in the league as well. The two teams have played in many memorable clashes over the years, and in 2004 the Cascadia Cup was added to the fray increasing the bragging rights on the line between these two. If you can only make it to one Sounders match a year, then make sure to be in attendance when the Timbers and Sounders square off.
48. Milwaukee Admirals vs Chicago Wolves (AHL)
Milwaukee and Chicago have a fierce rivalry regardless of the sport, and it’s no different in the AHL. There are always a lot of bragging rights on the line when the Admirals face off with the Wolves making every Admirals-Wolves game a must-see.
49. Colorado Springs Sky Sox vs Omaha Storm Chasers (AAA)
Colorado and Nebraska have a fierce rivalry in college football, and it’s not too different when it comes to Minor League Baseball. You won’t want to miss it when the Sky Sox take on the Storm Chasers so get your tickets to this matchup today.
50. Cal Poly vs UC Davis (FCS) - Battle for the Golden Horseshoe
The Battle for the Golden Horseshoe takes place each year between Cal Poly and UC Davis. The two schools first met on the gridiron in 1939. However, the rivalry didn’t officially begin until 2004. The all-time series between these two is tied at 20-20-2 all-time, so come out and cheer on the Mustangs as they look to break the tie.