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Saturday, September 01, 2012

Barra: Boston A “Football Town?” Not Even Close

Tartabullshit!

Whenever I read something about football that sounds like it was written in a barroom by someone as sloshed as Rance Preibus at the RNC, it invariable comes from ColdHardFootballFacts.com.

The latest beer-soaked rant comes from Kerry J. Byrne on August 26: “There is this mythology in certain circles that says Boston is a so-called baseball town. We looked into the myth of the ‘beloved 1967 Impossible Dream’ Red Sox years to debunk this ridiculous notion. The ‘Boston as a baseball town’ fabrication has been peddled for years by media outlets with a vested interest in the success of the city’s major league baseball team.”

“The New York Times Co., for example, which owns the Boston Globe, also had an ownership in the Boston Red Sox for many years, (which it sold off earlier this year).”

Byrne’s theory is that the Globe “would often talk up Boston as a baseball town merely in own self interests. Plus, it seems its longtime staffers there simply preferred baseball to football themselves and projected upon the wider region long before the internet skewered its power.”

Byrne is a blow-hard who cherry picks facts—no, actually not facts, just some loosely held notions—and rejects what doesn’t fit and then presents it as fact.

...So there you have it - four of the biggest cities in the country have a fan base that would prefer to see their major league baseball team win—and our second largest city, Los Angeles, gets along quite well without even having a pro football team. The area’s relationship with pro football is pretty much the same as fans in the rest of the country: it’s a TV thing. They never see their favorite team in person, regardless of where they play.

Repoz Posted: September 01, 2012 at 08:39 AM | 57 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, red sox

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   1. Bob Tufts Posted: September 01, 2012 at 09:49 AM (#4224337)
sounds like it was written in a barroom by someone as sloshed ...The latest beer-soaked rant


Ah, quality jorunalism will never die as long as writers can assassinate the character of those that they oppose.
   2. Tripon Posted: September 01, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4224392)
It is true about L.A. though. 18 years without a NFL team, and pro football is seen as a 'TV' thing.
   3. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4224409)
I don't quite understand why a town has to be one or another. Cities vary in the attention people pay to sports, and in how much attention is paid to each sport. Boston pays a metric ton of attention to both the Red Sox and Patriots, but it's not like the Celtics or Bruins are ignored. Even accounting for the fact that the Bruins and Celtics are coming off success cycles where they won a championship, their support level is still in the upper echelon of their sport. Similarly, New York and Chicago certainly don't have any teams that don't draw a lot of coverage and support, other than the Islanders.
   4. Guapo Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4224424)
Anaheim: Disney town
Atlanta: Football town
Phoenix: Basketball town
Baltimore: Football town
Boston: Baseball town
Chicago: Basketball town
Cincinnati: Baseball town
Cleveland: Football town
Dallas: Football town
Denver: Football town
Detroit: Hockey town
Miami: Football town
Houston: Football town
Kansas City: Football town
Los Angeles: Basketball town
Milwaukee: Baseball town
Minneapolis: Hockey town
New York: Basketball town
Oakland: Football town
Philadelphia: Football town
Pittsburgh: Football town
San Diego: Baseball town
San Francisco: Football town
Seattle: Football town
St. Louis: Baseball town
Tampa: Football town
Toronto: Hockey town
Washington: Football town

Any questions?
   5. Flynn Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4224429)
San Francisco's a football town? It's more like a whoever's winning between the Giants and 49ers town. That might change when the 49ers move to Santa Clara, most of the native SF community (we like to meet in a broom closet a couple times a year) is dismayed and annoyed at the decision to leave Candlestick.

Boston is a baseball town though. Every other team in the area has spent several years, if not a decade, recently where they were utterly irrelevant in the local conversation. I don't think that has happened for the Red Sox for at least 50 years. And 50 years ago all of the other teams stank too except for the Celtics, who were drawing 8,000 a game so it's hard to say they were some beloved local institution.
   6. Flynn Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4224432)
Also, Kerry Byrne is a ####### idiot Patriots homer douche. It's an embarrassment to SI that he writes on their website.
   7. puck Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4224435)
I'm sure everyone will chime in, but two I was wondering about: Atlanta could even be characterized further as a college football town, right?

Then, Seattle. Maybe the Seahawks are the most popular team (tallest midget and all that), but it's hard to see a "football town" supporting a soccer team to that extent. Is there much of a dominant loyalty there?
   8. cardsfanboy Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4224437)
I didn't even think it was a debate that Boston is a baseball town? I just assumed it, like New York and St Louis were obvious baseball towns that it was silly to even pretend there is a debate there. Mind you, Boston is a strong other sports town, just like New York but, those other sports are clearly behind baseball.

Kansas City: Football town
Only because of the recent ineptitude of the Royals.
Chicago: Basketball town
No, I'm not even sure basketball supplants Hockey in Chicago(ok it does) but it's not bigger than football or baseball.


   9. PJ Martinez Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4224449)
Boston is a sports town, and yes, the Red Sox reign supreme.

New York is an everything town.
   10. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4224450)
Hartford: Baseball and College basketball town.
   11. theboyqueen Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4224451)
I could argue that Oakland its a basketball town; the raider crowd seems to travel from all over the state. I think this its probably true of most football teams actually. I completely agree with new York as a basketball town. If only the knicks were any good!
   12. robinred Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4224453)
San Diego: Baseball town


San Diego is actually an "outdoor recreation town full of military personnel and transplants" but I am pretty sure that more people care about the Chargers than about the Padres here.
   13. theboyqueen Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4224455)
Also San Jose cricket town.
   14. cardsfanboy Posted: September 01, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4224457)
I completely agree with new York as a basketball town. If only the knicks were any good!


I'm not there, so obviously I don't have knowledge of it, but that seems insane. Of course I live in a town that basketball is tied for fourth (with Soccer when we have a team) but massively behind baseball and hockey and also football.
   15. Flynn Posted: September 01, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4224481)
If New York is a basketball town it's only because it's the more popular of the two sports that only have one NYC team (hockey). I'm not buying it's more popular than baseball.
   16. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 01, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4224494)
Then, Seattle. Maybe the Seahawks are the most popular team (tallest midget and all that), but it's hard to see a "football town" supporting a soccer team to that extent. Is there much of a dominant loyalty there?


The Sounders are the most popular team in town right now, but I think Seattle has to be called a football town because of the popularity of the Seahawks and University of Washington Huskies combined. Husky football is still huge here, perhaps a carryover from the days when Seattle didn't have major-league sports and the Huskies were the closest thing to it. They're much larger than college football usually is in a town with an NFL team.
   17. Dale Sams Posted: September 01, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4224498)
Oklahoma City: Football town.
   18. Gamingboy Posted: September 01, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4224513)
NYC is a baseball town, at least spectator interest-wise. Participation-wise it's basketball, but that sums up most cities.

Phoenix is a baseball town... in March. Same goes for Tampa. Even then, though, it's more a "Baseball Town due to large number of people visiting Spring Training".

Baltimore is a football town, although it was once evenly split and was fully an Orioles town from roughly the time the Colts left to the time that the Ravens won their first Super Bowl. Swimming makes an honorable mention.

Chicago is either a Football town (as the Bears are BY FAR the most followed team) or a baseball town. Depends on whether the Cubs and White Sox combined can equal da Bearz.

Philadelphia is a football town, except for when it's a baseball, hockey or basketball town. Or a Rocky town. Philly basically will get behind any team, so long as it's good. And if they are bad, they will still be behind them. Sort of. In a passive-aggresive self-hating way.

LA is a basketball town, although I sometimes get this feeling it's more of a "what team is getting the most TV time so we can be seen" town.

I don't know about the labeling of San Francisco as a football town. Not anymore. I always get this vibe when I watch TV that San Franciscans care more for the Giants, while the 49ers are more of a team that grabs people from outside of town.
   19. PJ Martinez Posted: September 01, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4224515)
If New York is a basketball town it's only because it's the more popular of the two sports that only have one NYC team (hockey). I'm not buying it's more popular than baseball.

The argument for New York as a basketball town is that people love the Knicks even though they have been bad for most of their history. (All-time record: 2561-2586.) Also street basketball is still big in New York in a way that stick ball hasn't been for 40 years.

But New York is just so much bigger than most American cities that I don't think you can call it a "this town" or a "that town." It's a publishing town, it's a finance town, it's a media town, it's an art town, it's a theater town, it's a sports town. I'm not sure anything dominates (apart from money, obviously).
   20. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: September 01, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4224520)
As much as it pains me, Milwaukee is definitely not a baseball town. The support for the Brewers (lately) has been tremendous, and there's obviously a lot of roots, but the Packers run the state. Don't forget the Packers played 4 (3 regular season) games in Milwaukee for years at Co. Stadium through '94. The 'Milwaukee' ticket package still gives those tickets holders 3 games up at Lambeau.
   21. Gamingboy Posted: September 01, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4224522)



But New York is just so much bigger than most American cities that I don't think you can call it a "this town" or a "that town." It's a publishing town, it's a finance town, it's a media town, it's an art town, it's a theater town, it's a sports town. I'm not sure anything dominates (apart from money, obviously).


This, it's a 'town' so big that it really doesn't matter, as it in effect is large enough to be an everything town. New York City is one of the better hockey towns in the USA (not like Detroit, the Twin Cities, Buffalo or Boston, but definitely up there), but it's at best the fourth most popular sport in NYC. Philadelphia and Boston are similar, as is Chicago and to a lesser degree LA.

Also, Tulo makes a good point: it often needs to be taken into a account that sometimes it doesn't matter if there is a team or not there. Brewers are probably the most popular team that actually is in Milwaukee, but Green Bay Packers are king. Even if there wasn't a single NFL team in all of Texas, the Friday Night Lights would still be enough to make Dallas, Houston, etc. Football Towns.
   22. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: September 01, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4224524)
I'm sure everyone will chime in, but two I was wondering about: Atlanta could even be characterized further as a college football town, right?


agree with this. I won't purport to be an ATL market expert, but the only relatively large cities that are more absorbed by college football are Birmingham and Lincoln/ Omaha.
   23. Flynn Posted: September 01, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4224542)
The argument for New York as a basketball town is that people love the Knicks even though they have been bad for most of their history. (All-time record: 2561-2586.) Also street basketball is still big in New York in a way that stick ball hasn't been for 40 years.


Meh. The Yanks have 30% higher ratings than the Knicks - that's after the fluke of Linsanity - and that's not even counting the Mets. A certain subset loves the Knicks, and that allows them to sell out, but let's not overdo it here. The Knicks do not play in a particularly big arena for the NBA (10th biggest in the league) and not that many people watch them on TV (in normal conditions), despite the fact that they play in the winter when there's fewer options for entertainment, even in NYC. Now the Nets are coming and it'll be interesting to see what happens. I suspect they will fall flat on their face if they don't win soon. For better or worse, the Yanks still draw huge TV ratings despite playing twice as many games, which should theoretically spread out the ratings, and the Mets still have that hardcore that's going to give them respectable ratings.

Plus that Rucker Park scene is in decline. Who is the best NYC native playing? Metta? He's in his 30s. So is Lamar Odom. Carmelo doesn't count, he's a Baltimore guy. This isn't like the 60s and 70s when you could count on a future NBA star turning up pretty much every day. There hasn't even really been a hyped kid since Telfair.
   24. SteveM. Posted: September 01, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4224548)
Biggest football town-Tuscaloosa and its not even close.
   25. SoSH U at work Posted: September 01, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4224553)
No, I'm not even sure basketball supplants Hockey in Chicago(ok it does) but it's not bigger than football or baseball.


I think you were right the first time. There may not be more Hawks fans than Bulls fans, but I'd say more folks would list the hockey team as their favorite than they would the Bulls.
   26. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: September 01, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4224559)
I'm sure everyone will chime in, but two I was wondering about: Atlanta could even be characterized further as a college football town, right?


agree with this. I won't purport to be an ATL market expert, but the only relatively large cities that are more absorbed by college football are Birmingham and Lincoln/ Omaha.


Atlanta is not any anything town, per se, but it's more of a college sports town, split between UGA, GT and various other SEC schools, than it is a pro-sports town. When it comes to pro-sports, Atlanta supports the new and supports winners. There's no real "local" base for any Atlanta team as the monied suburbs are very much built on transits moving in from other cities.

Atlanta was a baseball town from 1991-1998ish, then got bored with the repetition. Atlanta was a football town before Mike Vick went to jail - and pulled a lot of support from the locals on the south side during those years. Atlanta was sort of a football town when Matt Ryan debuted well as a rookie, and the support moved back to the northern suburbs and the outlier counties. There was a brief moment in 1988 when 'Nique turned Atlanta into a sort of basketball town, but then they traded for Danny Manning.

Atlanta is not and will never be a hockey town. Atlanta is where hockey teams go to die before being shipped to some godawful nowhere in western Canada.
   27. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: September 01, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4224562)
Washington, D.C., our Nation's Crapital and my home town, is beyond obsessed with Redskins football, even in the midst of the Nationals' pennant race. For God's sake, they run Subway commercials during Nats games featuring RGIII jumping hurdles (but they never once show him eating a sub). They have news updates every 15-seconds on how many nose hairs RGIII has today, and oh, by the way, the Nats won last night. Back to RGIII and the 'Skins...
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: September 01, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4224565)
I think you were right the first time. There may not be more Hawks fans than Bulls fans, but I'd say more folks would list the hockey team as their favorite than they would the Bulls.


That is my impression also, but since I don't actually live there, I didn't want to fully make that claim. There is absolutely no way basketball is bigger than football or baseball in Chicago though. Mind you, I do believe the Bulls (thanks to Jordan) has more fans in other cities than the Black Hawks, but I think his era is far enough removed, that it's no longer nearly as wildly popular within the city as it was a decade ago.
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 01, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4224586)

The argument for New York as a basketball town is that people love the Knicks even though they have been bad for most of their history. (All-time record: 2561-2586.)


That's b/c they're the only NY basketball team (this may change with the Nets in Brooklyn).

But, there's no way they're more popular than the Yankees, much less the Yankees and Mets combined.
   30. BDC Posted: September 01, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4224602)
Even if there wasn't a single NFL team in all of Texas, the Friday Night Lights would still be enough to make Dallas, Houston, etc. Football Towns

Completely true. High-school football is by several orders of magnitude the most important sport in the DFW area. The Cowboys come next, and college football, though it surely has fans here, is well down the list: Texans usually consider college to be an inexplicable gap between high school and the NFL Draft. Unless you're an alumnus, you aren't really spellbound by college football here. The largest local university (UTA; I teach there) does not have a team, and the major local programs (TCU, SMU) have small and relatively elite alumni groups. UT and A&M and Tech obviously have fanbases here, but they are not local teams, and aside from the UT-OU game in Dallas, indeed, it's a TV thing.

That said, I've been impressed in the past couple of years by the outpouring of love for the Rangers in this area. DFW may never be a "baseball town," but as several people have said, it doesn't have to be an either-or thing. There are strong traditions of baseball, basketball, and volleyball in this area, and it's an enormous area. There are a lot of fans of a lot of sports to go around.
   31. Answer Guy Posted: September 01, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4224603)
Boston is a baseball town.

Boston is *not* a football town. Like any other town, they'll support a winner if one drops into their lap. Whenever the Patriots become doormats again - and given the nature of the NFL, it will happen - they will be ignored the way they were during the early 90s, when the team almost decamped to St. Louis. (I grew up in Central MA, and in the 80s the Pats were clearly #4 among the teams in terms of attention. The Bruins ownership spent a decade and change making sure as few people cared about them as possible, and the Celtics fell on hard times as well.) If all this Red Sox drama were about the Pats, you wouldn't see the wailing and gnashing of teeth, you'd just see people tuning out. They're also utterly indifferent to college football outside of a relatively small base of BC fans, sometimes augmented a bit when the Eagles are good.

As for hockey, it's weird. There are parts of the metro area where they love the Bruins and other parts where they seemingly couldn't care less. It's one of the great centers of college hockey of course but venture too far out into suburbia and you might not get that sense.




   32. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: September 01, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4224611)
I want to amend my remarks above with the obvious disclaimer that this perception is mostly the result of media coverage, not anecdotal exchanges with sports fans of various stripes. I don't know which is more important, chicken or the egg and all that.
   33. tshipman Posted: September 01, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4224638)
I don't know about the labeling of San Francisco as a football town. Not anymore. I always get this vibe when I watch TV that San Franciscans care more for the Giants, while the 49ers are more of a team that grabs people from outside of town.


San Francisco's a football town? It's more like a whoever's winning between the Giants and 49ers town. That might change when the 49ers move to Santa Clara, most of the native SF community (we like to meet in a broom closet a couple times a year) is dismayed and annoyed at the decision to leave Candlestick.


I think that it's tough to evaluate. Before the WS win, definitely a football town. After the Niners move to Santa Clara, I think it will be definitely a baseball town. Right now, I could see an argument either way.
   34. robinred Posted: September 01, 2012 at 05:44 PM (#4224658)

LA is a basketball town, although I sometimes get this feeling it's more of a "what team is getting the most TV time so we can be seen" town.


If this were true, LA would be dying to have an NFL team, and trust me, a lot of people don't care about that. I am not sure what you mean by "being seen", but I get this feeling that like a lot of people, you base your ideas on life in Los Angeles on the fact that a lot of movie and TV actors live there.

LA of course is not really a "town" in any sense, but to use the term, it is a "Lakers town" not a "basketball town", when they have the kind of team they do now, and the Lakers are about the only thing that unifies LA sports fans (and a lot of SoCal) in some respects. But while all LA and SD teams have their hardcore fanbases, LA and SD are also "win or we will find some other cool stuff to do and we have plenty of options in this weather" towns. Bill Simmons, now living the second-tier celeb/Pacific Palisades McMansion life in LA after growing up in Boston, has made some accurate observations along these lines about LA sports fans (and some dumb ones).
   35. robinred Posted: September 01, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4224663)
But New York is just so much bigger than most American cities that I don't think you can call it a "this town" or a "that town." It's a publishing town, it's a finance town, it's a media town, it's an art town, it's a theater town, it's a sports town. I'm not sure anything dominates (apart from money, obviously).


LA, as different as it is from NY, is a bit like this too, and so, in their own unique ways, are all cities, I would think.
   36. Flynn Posted: September 01, 2012 at 06:22 PM (#4224674)
As for hockey, it's weird. There are parts of the metro area where they love the Bruins and other parts where they seemingly couldn't care less. It's one of the great centers of college hockey of course but venture too far out into suburbia and you might not get that sense.

Boston is really weird like that. There are suburbs that have produced four or five NHLers and are nuts for hockey and then the neighboring town hasn't produced any and couldn't care less. There's no rhyme or reason either. It's not a class thing (Southie and Charlestown have each produced several NHL players) and it's not an ethnic thing.
   37. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: September 01, 2012 at 06:48 PM (#4224688)
But while all LA and SD teams have their hardcore fanbases, LA and SD are also "win or we will find some other cool stuff to do and we have plenty of options in this weather" towns.


This is something akin to what I was getting at with Atlanta. There's no unifying "thing" about Atlanta. There are lots and lots of different little things and the interstate system.
   38. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 01, 2012 at 07:14 PM (#4224698)
If New York is a basketball town it's only because it's the more popular of the two sports that only have one NYC team (hockey). I'm not buying it's more popular than baseball.

The Knicks sold out every game during the Isiah Thomas era (*) and the '70 and '73 teams are revered as ushering in the modern era of pro basketball and the definitive guide as to how pro basketball should be and was meant to be played.

The Yankees would never, ever fill Yankee Stadium with teams as bad as the Isiah Knicks and interest in them would drop precipitiously. Their popularity is primarily a function of them buying players and winning.

Basketball town.

(*) And not cheaply -- check out the team's website and StubHub for how expensive tickets are.
   39. robinred Posted: September 01, 2012 at 07:15 PM (#4224700)
This is something akin to what I was getting at with Atlanta. There's no unifying "thing" about Atlanta. There are lots and lots of different little things and the interstate system


Yep. SoCal is a lot of different things and people connected geographically by a bunch of freeways and highways and to some extent by the Pacific Ocean.

When the Lakers are the Lakers, like they are now, they do draw interest from Camarillo to TJ and all points in between among people who care about sports.
   40. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 01, 2012 at 07:31 PM (#4224709)
As for hockey, it's weird. There are parts of the metro area where they love the Bruins and other parts where they seemingly couldn't care less. It's one of the great centers of college hockey of course but venture too far out into suburbia and you might not get that sense.


I think it was Steve Buckley who described Boston as a "baseball/hockey town with a baseball/football media." I think there is a lot of truth to that. For about 20 years we had one viable sports radio station in town and they almost completely ignored the Bruins and the NHL and I think that had a big effect. One of the many great things about the B's Stanley Cup run was watching that station's ratings go in the tank.
   41. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: September 01, 2012 at 08:13 PM (#4224727)
Speaking of the Bruins, they are the one team I can't catch on the radio out here in the hinterlands of central Connecticut. Celts and Red Sox are on WEEI which I can catch on two repeaters; one out of Springfield and one out of Westerly, RI. Pats are on a couple of rock stations I can catch. But this might be a moot point if the NHL and players don't reach some agreement.
   42. AndrewJ Posted: September 01, 2012 at 09:27 PM (#4224785)
Given the precarious state of the current NFL -- we might be one class-action lawsuit ruling away from a major shakeup -- Los Angeles might have lost its teams at just the right time.
   43. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 01, 2012 at 09:59 PM (#4224806)
The Yankees would never, ever fill Yankee Stadium with teams as bad as the Isiah Knicks and interest in them would drop precipitiously. Their popularity is primarily a function of them buying players and winning.
Well, this isn't really an apples-to-apples comparison. The Yankees would have be filling a place that's more than twice as big, and doing it twice as often. There's no "right" way to compare this. I suspect the answer, as noted above, is that NYC is so big that it's an everything town.
   44. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 01, 2012 at 10:17 PM (#4224817)
Yeah, a sellout at MSG would be a very bad crowd at Yankee Stadium.

In New York City, all the basketball fans talk about the Knicks, but EVERYONE talks about the Yankees.
   45. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: September 01, 2012 at 10:36 PM (#4224840)
Yes, New York is unquestionably a baseball town. When I lived in Chicago for five years I felt it was a baseball town, but perhaps the Sammy Sosa era skewed things a bit.

I am from D.C. which is of course massively a football town. Baseball is my favorite sport, I spend tons of time reading baseball articles, collected cards and other things I would never do with any sport, but if you told me I could pick one sports team to win the championship next year I would pick the Redskins.
   46. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: September 01, 2012 at 10:38 PM (#4224845)
The Knicks sold out every game during the Isiah Thomas era (*) and the '70 and '73 teams are revered as ushering in the modern era of pro basketball and the definitive guide as to how pro basketball should be and was meant to be played.


Yes, the Yankees have no teams with that kind of mystique and aura.

The Yankees would never, ever fill Yankee Stadium with teams as bad as the Isiah Knicks and interest in them would drop precipitiously. Their popularity is primarily a function of them buying players and winning.


They've been doing that for about 100 years. How many tickets does it take to fill MSG? I'm not going to bother to look but I would bet the Mets draw better than the Knicks.
   47. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 01, 2012 at 10:51 PM (#4224853)
They've been doing that for about 100 years. How many tickets does it take to fill MSG? I'm not going to bother to look but I would bet the Mets draw better than the Knicks.
FWIW, since they opened Yankee Stadium II, they've never drawn fewer than a sell out at MSG. (MSG is about 19.5K, the Yankees' lowest was in '92, they drew about 21.5K). But again, it's completely apples and oranges. It's a lot easier to sell out a smaller venue for a terrible team. The Mets have dipped below--in some cases, way below--the Garden sell-out as their average a few years, although not since '95, and they haven't been that close since 2003.

I suspect, all things considered, that unless the Mets stay this bad for a few more years, neither baseball team will drop below the Knicks for attendance. That would mean the Yankees filling less than 40% of the stadium, and the Mets just over 45%.
   48. bobm Posted: September 01, 2012 at 11:03 PM (#4224858)
The Knicks sold out every game during the Isiah Thomas era

Not true. Plus, most of those sold seats were empty. Even on this basis, NY is a baseball town - 800K NBA tickets vs 5-6 million MLB tickets.

Tuesday, November 5, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM
Tickets available! Knicks' sellout streak ends at 433 games
By The Associated Press

NEW YORK — The Knicks are off to an 0-4 start, their worst in 15 years, and plenty of seats are available for anyone wishing to witness the ugliness.

Playing before the first non-sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden in nearly a decade, New York came back from a 16-point deficit only to fade down the stretch of a 97-88 loss last night to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The crowd was announced as 18,100 — more than 1,600 short of capacity — as New York's sellout streak ended at 433.


From wikipedia:

Isiah Thomas was named the Knicks' president on December 22, 2003 upon the firing of Scott Layden. ...

With the departure of Brown, team president Isiah Thomas took over the head coaching responsibilities. ... The Knicks improved by ten games in the 2006–2007 campaign in spite of injuries that ravaged the team at the end of the year; they ended with a 33–49 record, avoiding a 50-loss season by defeating the Charlotte Bobcats 94–93 on the last day of the season. ...

Owner James Dolan hired former Indiana Pacers President Donnie Walsh on April 2, 2008 to take over Isiah Thomas's role as team president.[82] At the introductory press conference, Walsh, while not proclaiming to be a savior, did set goals which included getting the team under the salary cap and bringing back a competitive environment.[83] Upon the conclusion of the 2007–2008 regular season, Walsh fired Thomas


New York Knicks - Home Game Attendance

  Season Tot Att #G Av Att 
 2010-11 808,879 41 19,728  
 2009-10 799,550 41 19,501  
 2008-09 790,801 41 19,287  
 
 2007-08 783,739 41 19,115 
 2006-07 771,017 41 18,805  
 
 2005-06 776,176 41 18,931 
 2004-05 800,144 41 19,515  
 2003-04 785,739 41 19,164  
 2002-03 779,389 41 19,011  
 
 2001-02 810,283 41 19,763  
 2000-01 810,283 41 19,763  
 1999-00 810,283 41 19,763  
 1998-99 494,075 25 19,763  
 1997-98 810,283 41 19,763 
 1996-97 810,283 41 19,763  
 1995-96 810,283 41 19,763  
 1994-95 810,283 41 19,763 
 1993-94 810,283 41 19,763 

 1992-93 804,840 41 19,630


http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/nycdata/sports/nyknicks-attendance.htm
   49. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: September 01, 2012 at 11:04 PM (#4224859)
Biggest football town-Tuscaloosa and its not even close.

You ain't lying about that. Any Bama fan should love reading this article. A few excerpts:

Over the course of the weekend I spent in Tuscaloosa, I can’t recall entering a single place of business that did not feature some sort of homage to Alabama football. Even a wine store I visited featured — in a display in its front window — a nearly life-size cutout of Saban pointing and yelling with the words Roll Tide emblazoned on it....In Tuscaloosa, Alabama football is the main event, a full-blown circus in the Greatest Show on Earth tradition of P. T. Barnum. To put it bluntly, on any given day, Tuscaloosa is probably the closest thing to a college football theme park that a person could visit....

In the event that you, dear reader, need any further convincing of just how seriously SEC country takes football, consider this: While I was standing along the brick partition that separates the spectators in the stands from the field inside Bryant-Denny Stadium, casually watching the team practice while eavesdropping on a conversation to my left, a conversation in which a stadium usher optimistically described to a fan how Saban has recently begun to exhibit the characteristics of an amiable human being (“When he first came here, it wasn’t a good idea to speak to him unless you were spoken to, but lately, he’ll look right at you and say, ‘Hi,’ every now and then”), a woman with a face as sweet as a red velvet cupcake sidled up next to me. Her name was Suzan McClelland.

The 69-year-old McClelland had left her home in Prattville, Ala., that morning and made the two-hour drive to the stadium in Tuscaloosa with her husband, John (Field) McClelland, riding shotgun. It was a trip, she said, “very reminiscent of the many trips we’ve made together to attend games over the years” as longtime Alabama season-ticket holders. John was alive for those trips. As Suzan navigated her car through rural Alabama this time, however, only her recently deceased husband’s cremated remains, along with a photograph of him, rested in the passenger seat beside her.

Once she reached the city limits, Suzan met up with her brother, Ted, a Tuscaloosa resident, and the two had lunch at a restaurant Suzan described as being “very New York.” Suzan had the shrimp and grits.

After lunch, Ted and Suzan, now with her husband’s ashes lovingly tucked away inside one of her pants pockets, joined a few thousand of their fellow Alabama fans inside the stadium. With her brother by her side for emotional support, Suzan walked down from the stands and made her way to the stadium’s aforementioned brick partition, right next to yours truly. I then watched Suzan — clearly a bit frightened, but determined — reach into her pocket, pull out the plastic baggie holding John’s remains and empty its contents onto the field.

“Excuse me, but did you just pour someone’s ashes out onto the field?” I asked before Suzan and Ted could scurry away unnoticed.

“Yes, I did; it was my husband,” she replied nervously, her voice cracking slightly. “I was worried I’d get arrested doing this, but he loved Alabama football and wanted to have his ashes spread on the field here. I was worried I’d get arrested, but this was his dying wish, and I didn’t want him to haunt me for the rest of my life if I didn’t do it.”
   50. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: September 01, 2012 at 11:20 PM (#4224866)
I've always thought of Detroit as a football town in deep, deep cover...about a half-century's worth. If the Lions became a Super Bowl contender -- which they just might be this year or next -- or actually win a championship, the Lions would own Detroit. Own it. Lock, stock and barrel, like they did in the 50s.

Here's how I look at it, starting with my own youth:

Circa 1960 thru early 70s: Baseball.

Early 70s thru 1980: Nothing. All four teams sucked. In fact, the Tigers, Lions, Red Wings and Pistons all had at least one season in the 1970s where they finished dead last in their entire respective leagues. (That was my childhood, folks.)

Early 80s thru Late 80s: Baseball, easily.

1988-1993: Basketball.

1993-present: Hockey, with basketball as co-leader in the mid-2000s and baseball a strong second since 2006.

Future: the Red Wings are (finally) on the decline; if the Tigers can get their act together, they can push baseball back to the top. But watch out for the Lions. (You heard it here first.)
   51. Sonic Youk Posted: September 01, 2012 at 11:43 PM (#4224876)
,ma e
, L q Lq w w a e

Edit- whoops, pocket post

   52. King Berenger Posted: September 01, 2012 at 11:52 PM (#4224880)
I guess one has to make a distinction between the most popular sport to watch and the most popular sport to play - thinking about New York, it's the streetball capital of the world, but there's no doubt that in more or less any way you measure the Yankees are the most popular pro sports team. I mean arguably the Yankees are the most important, popular, and successful American sports franchise there ever was, and this, in my mind, definitely continues to this day.

49: I live in Columbus, and I'm sure it has a very similar relationship to Ohio State football as Tuscaloosa does to AU football. I'm guessing Tuscaloosa is even more so, mainly because it's smaller and doesn't really have any other teams to compete in the town - pro sports or UA's other teams. But come to Columbus and it's the same deal - the sheer prevalence of the teams is more than any pro sports could ever be, because the town is invested not just in the team but in the university as well. These kinds of towns could never have real pro teams because the real pro teams are the college football teams. (Columbus has NHL and MLS, but they're really just sideshows to football. Even when OSU's basketball is more successful than football, when they inevitably lose against Florida, the day after everybody goes back to football.)
   53. Perry Posted: September 02, 2012 at 12:10 AM (#4224891)
agree with this. I won't purport to be an ATL market expert, but the only relatively large cities that are more absorbed by college football are Birmingham and Lincoln/ Omaha.


And Columbus, of course.
   54. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: September 02, 2012 at 12:19 AM (#4224894)
No doubt, Tuscaloosa has maximum college football intensity, I was referencing relatively non college town, non small cities, Birmingham and Omaha are w/o question the lone dominant college football dominant TV markets of the US.

Between Lincoln and Tuscaloosa, I cannot imagine two cities with a higher concentration of a single common interest excluding survival.
   55. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: September 02, 2012 at 12:21 AM (#4224896)
49: I live in Columbus, and I'm sure it has a very similar relationship to Ohio State football as Tuscaloosa does to AU football.


Columbus hates tOSU football as much as Bama hates Auburn?
   56. King Berenger Posted: September 02, 2012 at 12:38 AM (#4224905)
UA!!! UA!!!! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
   57. The District Attorney Posted: September 02, 2012 at 08:53 AM (#4224970)
#51: Mr. Gammons, welcome!

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