Top 10 Greatest Sports Game Franchises

Script written by Nathan Sharp The goal of these games are goals. Get it? Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Sports Game Franchises! Special thanks to our users “Alejandro Pellerano”, “mac121mr0” & “Sean_Poole” for suggesting this topic using our interactive suggestion tool at

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Top 10 Sports Game Franchises

They rake in a ton of cash, and they’re a hell of a lot of fun as well. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten sports game franchises.

For this list, we’ll be looking at what we consider to be the best sporting video game franchises of all time, whether they’re still releasing annual instalments or not. We won’t be including racing games on this list, as that’s its own category entirely, and we won’t be including WWE games either, as that is more dramatized performance than actual sport.

#10: “MLB: The Show” series (2006-)

While we may hear “Oh and he botches it!” eight million times a game, at least they’ll never have to say that about the series. “The Show” is easily the franchise to get if you’re a baseball fan (assuming you have a PlayStation), as it’s clear that a ton of care and love has gone into every release. Character models and animations are realistic, and immersive gameplay elements like pulse pitching really put you into the action. There’s no doubt that this series is baseball gaming’s greatest achievement, and its only hope.

#9: “NCAA Football” series (1993-2013)

While this series has since ended due to legal disputes, “NCAA Football” was a great series for fans of the sport. Originally titled “Bill Walsh College Football,” then “College Football USA,” the modern “NCAA Football” series’ gameplay feels similar to the “Madden” series, complete with tons of different catch animations and lively but repetitive commentary. The series also has a few presentation flaws, like the sound cutting out and small visual glitches, but really, we’re nitpicking here. It was a great series, and one we hope to see return some day.

#8: “Football Manager” series (2004-)

If managing a team rather than playing the game sounds like more your thing, then step right up. This series is meant to be a managerial simulation, and as such, the games are filled with so much depth and detail that you’d be hard pressed to find something you can’t do. While most sporting games can be complex and difficult, “Football Manager” doesn’t hold your hand, and it doesn’t ask you to love it, and as such, it can be incredibly difficult for new players to adjust to it. That said, “Football Manager” is unquestionably a solid series for die-hard football fans.

#7: “Blitz” series (1997-2012)

The football series for people who aren’t football fans, the “Blitz” series was a ton of high-octane, no-holds-barred fun, and it left a big hole in the sports gaming landscape once it wrapped up. Rather than taking a realistic approach, the “Blitz” series went full arcade, complete with extremely fast gameplay, illegal drug taking, players clotheslining each other, and spazzy commentators who would straight up insult you and your stupid play calling. So, next time you’re playing boring old “Madden,” just remember that you can’t do a flying kick into your opponents’ face, and wallow in your boringness.

#6: “PGA Tour” series (1990-)

We know, we know, golf, boring, can’t watch it, can’t play it, yadda yadda yadda. But seriously, have you ever tried a “PGA Tour” game? They are, unabashedly, a ton of fun. The series nails the sense of complexity that the surprisingly difficult real sport has, especially by giving you control over your swings via the swing mechanic. It also has fun little additions like boosts, which modify your stats, RPG style, and the courses are all gorgeous. While the latest Rory McIlroy entry was a step in the wrong direction, the rest of the series is pure golf magic.

#5: “NHL” series (1991-)

Seriously, even if you’re not a fan of hockey, chances are that you’ve played at least one entry in this long-lasting franchise. Come on, admit it, you can’t get enough of viciously slashing players with your stick or causing fights which would make the MMA blush. Silliness aside, the games all run incredibly smoothly, which is a must for such a fast-paced sport, the AI is smart, and there’s a huge amount of variety to the games, including coach feedback which greatly helps new players. Whether you just want to mess around on the ice or play competitive hockey, “NHL” captures the essence of what people love about hockey.

#4: “Pro Evolution Soccer” series (2001-)

While “Football Manager” is great for die-hard soccer fans and for those who want a taste of behind the scenes action, “Pro Evolution Soccer” is a great series for those of us who want a more on-the-field approach. There are a ton of licensed players and clubs (although many popular clubs are noticeably missing), the gameplay is fun, and the stadiums are beautiful. Aside from some poor matchmaking (OK, horrible matchmaking) and a lack of flashy elements, “PES” is a solid series for football fans, with many who claim it is the only football video game on the market worth playing.

#3: “NBA 2K” series (1999-)

When it comes to basketball, there is simply no other. While there are some flaws, like grind-y gameplay and consistently broken modes on launch, these pale in comparison to what the series does right. The games put you right into the action, complete with the ability to string together beautiful dribbling patterns and passes, and the commentary is arguably the best in sports gaming, as it remains both knowledgeable and varied. The huge amount of variety and depth in MyGM is also breathtaking to behold, and is a dream come true for any serious basketball fan.

#2: “Madden NFL” series (1988-)

There are two reasons why this franchise is so popular: football is an extremely well-liked sport which brings a dedicated fanbase, and the games themselves are phenomenal. While the series lagged a little for a while there, there’s no doubt that it has returned to its roots, providing football fans and casual gamers alike with a deep, realistic, and most of all, fun American football experience. By encouraging different tactics and play styles, the series welcomes everyone, and it’s simply impossible to get better football games than these. The series has sold over 100 million copies in its thirty-year run, and it’s not hard to see why.

Before we look at the greatest franchise, here is an honorable mention.

“Fight Night” series (2004-11)

#1: “FIFA” series (1993-)

Sorry “PES,” but the numbers don’t lie. “FIFA” does almost everything that a football, nay, a sports franchise should. It is complex enough for dedicated football fans to enjoy, yet approachable enough for casuals to pick up and play. Clubs and managers are realistic, online tournaments are a ton of competitive fun, the sense of ball control is astounding, and the details and immersion are fantastic, as players animate realistically and the deafening crowd sets the mood. It is one of the highest-selling video game franchises in history, proving that fans, both hard-core and new, simply can’t get enough.

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