Hosting a political convention may not be as demanding as hosting the Olympics Games, but in the coming weeks, Tampa, Fla., (home of the Republican National Convention, which begins on Monday) and Charlotte, N.C., (home of the Democratic National Convention, which runs Sept. 3 to Sept. 6) will both receive thousands of enthusiastic visitors and be thrust into the harsh media spotlight.
But politics aside, how do these two historic, East Coast cities stack up against each other in civic accomplishment? Which city has the better real estate prices? Which city has cooler celebrity residents? Which has a better nickname? Here’s my decidedly unscientific breakdown.
Charlotte: The Queen City
Tampa: The Big Guava
WORLD HEADQUARTERS LOCATION
Charlotte: Bank of America
Tampa: Ironman Triathlon
AVERAGE REAL ESTATE PRICE PER SQUARE FOOT
AVERAGE ANNUAL FAMILY INCOME
AVERAGE COMMUTE TIME
Charlotte: 27.4 minutes
Tampa: 28.3 minutes
RANKING ON CNN-MONEY’S “BEST PLACES TO LIVE 2012″ TOP 100 LIST
Charlotte: Not included
Tampa: Not included
RANKING ON STERLING’S BESTPLACES STRESSFUL CITIES 2012 LIST
Charlotte: The Charlotte Bobcats, owned by Michael Jordan, ended last season with a 7-59 record, the worst in NBA history.
Tampa: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL, the Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL, and the Tampa Bay Rays, an overachieving Major League Baseball club based in nearby St. Petersburg.
Charlotte: Nascar Hall of Fame
Tampa: Busch Gardens Water Park
LIKELIHOOD THAT IT’LL BE DECIMATED BY A HURRICANE
Charlotte: Medium. Although located closer to western North Carolina, inland from the coast, the name Hugo still makes locals flinch.
Tampa: High. Hurricane Isaac is building steam just off the coast of Puerto Rico, and meteorologists predict it will barrel toward Florida.
Charlotte: Nascar driver Jeff Gordon, evangelist Billy Graham
Tampa: Former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan, Bubba the Love Sponge
MOVIE FILMED IN THE CITY THAT MAY BE SENDING THE WRONG MESSAGE
Charlotte: Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
Tampa: Cop and a Half
MOVIE FILMED IN THE CITY THAT MAY BE SENDING THE RIGHT MESSAGE
Charlotte: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Tampa: Magic Mike
COSTUMED OUTLAW POPULATION
Charlotte: Biker gangs, including the Hell’s Angels.
Tampa: People dressed like pirates, especially (but not exclusively) during the Gasparilla Pirate Festival in January.
Charlotte: Mailboxes, news racks, benches, planters, trash bins to be temporarily removed.
Tampa: Ordinance banning water guns, hatchets, and chains—but not actual guns.
Charlotte: Former Guinness World Record holder of world’s biggest stir-fry, at 1,805 pounds (defeated last year by the University of Massachusetts).
Tampa: Bayshore Boulevard, world’s longest continuous sidewalk, at 4.5 miles.
BEST PLACE TO GET A $40 FILET MIGNON AND WATCH EXOTIC DANCERS
Charlotte: The Men’s Club
Tampa: Scores Gentleman’s Club
CHANCES OF A SHARK ATTACK
Tampa: Just 11 shark attacks in 2011, but during the last major election year, 2008, there was a record 28.
Charlotte: Funnel bacakonator (funnel cake with bacon), available at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Tampa: Deep Fried Butter and Krispy Kreme Hamburgers, available at the Florida State Fair in Tampa.
(This story originally appeared, in a slightly different form, on the Bloomberg Businessweek website.)