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Old 12-21-2009, 09:55 PM
 
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what are the most popular sports teams in your metropolitan area? this includes major and minor league professional franchises plus college sports teams.

- AND -

what are the most popular sports leagues in your metro area? this includes major and minor league professional sports leagues, college, high school (if applicable), and non-team sports like NASCAR.

please list your choices in the order of current popularity/media coverage, from most to least.

if the relative order of team or league popularity in your area has changed over the years, please indicate that. for example, some cities used to be hardcore baseball towns back in the day, but now support their football teams first and foremost.

also, if a team or sports league simply isn't on the radar in your area, please indicate that as well.

the reason i'm asking is because i'm interested to see if there are any areas of the country where the current popularity of the local sports teams does not correlate to the relative popularity of the sports leagues. in other words, some cities might be baseball towns at heart, but the local football team might be more popular at the moment.

note:
i am only asking about spectator sports, not participatory sports.
so the fact that lots of local kids play youth lacrosse in your region is irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion. nor am i interested in knowing whether your area is a hotspot for locals and/or tourists to go golfing, surfing, skiing, rock climbing, etc.
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Old 12-21-2009, 11:55 PM
 
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listed below are the teams i grew up with in the nyc metro. i have not included the preferences of transplants from other cities who continue to root for their hometown teams.

current popularity ranking of the nyc area's sports teams
1) yankees (mlb)
2) mets (mlb)
3) giants (nfl)
4) jets (nfl)
5) knicks (nba)
6) rangers (nhl)
7) nets (nba)
8) devils (nhl)
9) islanders (nhl)

numbers 6-9 above are more debatable than numbers 1-5.

honorable mention (i.e. most popular non-local teams)
-dallas cowboys, miami dolphins, oakland raiders, pittsburgh steelers, green bay packers, san francisco 49ers, minnesota vikings (nfl)
-boston celtics, los angeles lakers, chicago bulls (nba)
-notre dame (college football)

sports teams with small-to-modestly-sized niche followings (i.e. somewhat on the radar, but not enough of a local fanbase or media buzz to make the list above)
-local college sports teams like rutgers football, st. john's basketball, seton hall basketball, fordham, hofstra, etc.
-non-local college teams such as duke basketball, michigan football/basketball, university of miami, etc. this is primarily due to locals who attended college in other parts of the country or kids who developed an affinity for whichever college football or college hoops team is trendy/dominant at the moment. unlike notre dame, the popularity of these non-local college teams seems to come and go.
-ny red bulls (major league soccer)

tiny niche following with minimal-to-zero local media coverage
ny liberty (wnba), high school football teams, any minor league teams, any teams from incipient leagues like arena league football, major league lacrosse, etc.

not on the radar whatsoever
NASCAR


current popularity ranking of sports leagues in the nyc area
1) mlb
2) nfl
3) nba
4) nhl
5) division 1 college football
6) division 1 men's college basketball

nyc has always been a baseball town, and the yanks and mets (and prior to their departure, the baseball giants and dodgers) are indisputably the most popular teams in the nyc metro.

IMO there is a small-to-moderate gap in popularity between mlb and the nfl, then a fairly large drop down to the nba and an even bigger one between the nba and nhl.
top-level men's college sports are a distant fifth and sixth, as they do not enjoy the widespread appeal of the "big 4" IMO.

to be fair, there is actually a decent amount of local interest in D1 men's college football and basketball due to extensive national media coverage. but because there hasn't been a dominant local college sports team in decades, the region's college rooting interests are extremely fractured. this means that the overall level of interest in men's college sports is far larger than the fanbase of any particular college team.

ultimately, i have never considered nyc a college sports town by any stretch of the imagination.

all other sports leagues are not really on the radar and tend to have individual/niche followings rather than mainstream, regionwide popularity and media coverage. major league soccer is at the top of this list, after which there is a significant drop down to women's pro/college sports, high school football, and incipient/minor league sports. and again, nascar is completely out of sight, out of mind.

Last edited by pbergen; 12-22-2009 at 12:48 AM..
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:39 AM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
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That may be true in the North, but it doesn't play in the South where college sports rule. And they are often the only game in town and have traditionally been the only game in town.
In the South, people have loyalties to a college team like they do to a pro team. Some of the strongest supporters never went to the university they root for. Kids grow up a Vol family, a Bulldog family, a Razorback family. Season tickets are inherited even though no one in the family ever set foot on the campus except to go to a game.
It doesn't hurt that the SEC delivers quality sports and treats their fans better than most pro teams. These are very slick operations.
In Knoxville and Tennessee, people root for the Tennessee Volunteers. Doesn't matter what they're playing, there will be a crowd there. They've lined up at 6 a.m. to buy tickets to a women's softball game that started at 6 p.m. Before big games -- football, basketball in particular -- you will see very few people in Knoxville who aren't wearing orange.
In Knoxville, the sports are:
1. Vols Football
2. Lady Vols Basketball
3. Vols Basketball
4. Titans Football and anything Peyton Manning is playing (Once a Vol, always a Vol).
5. High School Football
6. NASCAR
7. High School Basketball
8. Local dirt track racing
9. All other Vols and Lady Vols sports.
Before Bruce Pearl turned things around, men's basketball would have been much farther down the list. He's really brought it up.
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Old 12-22-2009, 01:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knoxgarden View Post
In Knoxville, the sports are:
1. Vols Football
2. Lady Vols Basketball
3. Vols Basketball
4. Titans Football and anything Peyton Manning is playing (Once a Vol, always a Vol).
5. High School Football
6. NASCAR
7. High School Basketball
8. Local dirt track racing
9. All other Vols and Lady Vols sports.
Before Bruce Pearl turned things around, men's basketball would have been much farther down the list. He's really brought it up.
interesting; thanks for the input.

so what happens when peyton manning and the colts come into nashville to face the titans? is there a significant number of titans fans who will root against the home team just on those occasions? or do the peyton fans root for the colts all the time, no matter what, simply because he's their star player?
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Old 12-22-2009, 01:53 AM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
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In Knoxville, we root for Peyton, no matter what. In Nashville (which is 170 miles away and in a different time zone) it's a toss up.
You do see some Titan bumper stickers around which increase in frequency the closer you get to Nashville with some pockets of fans in Chattanooga.
It's hard to explain how deep passions run for the SEC teams. I lived in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Redskins fans in D.C. are laid back compared to what you see around the SEC. It's a fun atmosphere. You'll see whole families in town for a game and everyone is in orange, from great grandpa to the baby in the stroller.
It's really amazing.
Minor League Hockey is a pro sport that's made inroads in the South. It's coming on strong and the SEC has added it as a club sport. Minor League Baseball is around, too. But basically those just fill in between the end of basketball and the start of Football.
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Old 12-22-2009, 02:07 AM
 
Location: Southern Willamette Valley, Oregon
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1.) Oregon Ducks Football (Rose Bowl bound, baby!)

The level of popularity for the Ducks far surpasses that of any college or pro team in any place I have ever lived or visited, and that is quite a few places. I think it is safe to say that about 1 in every 4 households in Eugene and its surrounding areas has Duck paraphenalia on their car and/or property. Their home games are that of a pro atmosphere, and their fans definitely know how to tailgate!

As far as media coverage goes, aside from Ducks football, we always get Seahawk, Raiders, 49'ers, and Chargers games, in that order. Trailblazer games are hit and miss.
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ditchlights View Post
1.) Oregon Ducks Football (Rose Bowl bound, baby!)

The level of popularity for the Ducks far surpasses that of any college or pro team in any place I have ever lived or visited, and that is quite a few places. I think it is safe to say that about 1 in every 4 households in Eugene and its surrounding areas has Duck paraphenalia on their car and/or property. Their home games are that of a pro atmosphere, and their fans definitely know how to tailgate!

As far as media coverage goes, aside from Ducks football, we always get Seahawk, Raiders, 49'ers, and Chargers games, in that order. Trailblazer games are hit and miss.
that sounds awesome. i think oregon is incredibly beautiful and would love to visit eugene the next time i'm in the state to catch a ducks game and just check out the city and the campus.

would you say that this intense level of passion for oregon ducks football is a statewide phenomenon, or primarily limited to the eugene area? are the folks up in portland as passionate about the ducks, or are they a pro sports town first and foremost since they have the blazers, timbers, and beavers?
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Southern Willamette Valley, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbergen View Post
that sounds awesome. i think oregon is incredibly beautiful and would love to visit eugene the next time i'm in the state to catch a ducks game and just check out the city and the campus.

would you say that this intense level of passion for oregon ducks football is a statewide phenomenon, or primarily limited to the eugene area? are the folks up in portland as passionate about the ducks, or are they a pro sports town first and foremost since they have the blazers, timbers, and beavers?
It IS a beautiful area and well worth the effort if you have the time, especially for the Civil War game (Oregon vs. Oregon State) or any time USC is in town. It IS statewide, as I spend much time in the Portland area as well as Eugene. Of course, it is nowhere near the heavy concentration as in Eugene, but the Ducks are arguably Oregons premier sports team.

As far as team spirit, the popularity of the Beavers would come in second and the Blazers in third. Most Oregonians are very proud of their Ducks, and incidents like the one that happened in Week 1 this year vs. Boise State are a large embarressment for the program.

Just out of curiosity, who are the Timbers?
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Old 12-22-2009, 01:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ditchlights View Post
Just out of curiosity, who are the Timbers?
the timbers are a soccer team in the USL. in 2011, the team is slated to move up to major league soccer as an expansion team. there was also a team in the (now defunct) north american soccer league back in the 1970s and early '80s named the timbers that had a pretty large following.

it's interesting that soccer, which is a niche sport at best in the most of the u.s., seems to have a relatively large following in the pacific northwest.
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Old 12-22-2009, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Southern Willamette Valley, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbergen View Post
the timbers are a soccer team in the USL. in 2011, the team is slated to move up to major league soccer as an expansion team. there was also a team in the (now defunct) north american soccer league back in the 1970s and early '80s named the timbers that had a pretty large following.

it's interesting that soccer, which is a niche sport at best in the most of the u.s., seems to have a relatively large following in the pacific northwest.
Thank you for the info. I have never been much of a soccer fan. For me, it's mostly football and hockey. I would love to see Portland get an NHL team. Hockey is very underrated, unfortunately. It is impossible to even catch a game anymore on network television where we live. Even the Versus network has eliminated their hockey coverage, it seems. They do not even televise a Stanley Cup Finals game until Game 3 or 4. Sad. I find ice hockey to be much more entertaining than basketball or baseball or golf. I know, I'm in the significant minority.
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