The research looked at 48 cities and towns across the country and focused on 12 separate categories, including: value for money, success, atmosphere, history, venues and transport links.
Manchester topped the ranking after scoring highly in the majority of factors examined – beating its closest rival London.
The in-depth analysis took place over several months and gathered opinions from focus groups as well as the views of 5,000 sports via an online survey. This information was then cross-referenced with third party data from more than 100 different sources.
The research was commissioned by UK sport website ESPN.co.uk
Councillor Bernard Priest, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Everyone in Manchester has always known we’re the greatest sporting city in the UK – but now its official, which is fantastic news.
“Hosting the 2002 Commonwealth Games created a lasting legacy allowing us to build a sporting infrastructure that is second to none and I’m proud that has been recognised by sports fans across the country.
“The region’s connection to football obviously played a part in us being awarded this accolade but it’s not just the beautiful game that makes Manchester a great sporting city. The variety of sport taking place in the city along with our transport links and local talent were all significant factors.
“Our world class facilities, which not only include the Etihad Stadium but also the National Cycle Centre, Manchester Aquatics Centre and the National Squash Centre, allow us to host events of an international calibre and provide a home to many national sporting organisations.
“And as well as all of that we should not forgot the brilliant community facilities located in neighbourhoods across the city which have helped Manchester achieve the biggest increase in sport participation nationally over the last 5 years.”
For the full results of the research, conducted in collaboration with the universities of Gloucestershire and Bath, including a detailed statistical breakdown of all 48 cities, please visit www.espn.co.uk/espn/story/_/id/13368888/manchester-beats-london-top-espn-uk-greatest-sporting-cities-2015-study