This is a bit of a surprise to me

Turns out the Braves are the third most popular team in all of baseball.  They are behind the Yankees and the Red Sox.  Okay, okay – before you freak out….. too late.

“Of COURSE we are behind the Yankees and the Red Sox, ESPN spends ungodly coverage on them, and OMFG they are so annoying, rawrgh!”

Okay – got that out of your system?  See, the Braves actually USED to be the most popular team in the country.  From 1993-1999, the Braves beat the Yankees by wide margins.  All that TBS and Andy Griffith was good for business.  Man I wish we had owners who cared…

6 Comments so far

  1. jolomo on July 17th, 2009 @ 6:05 pm

    The full poll results are an interesting read. Baseball fans are highly educated, wealthy, old and live on the east coast :) Here’s a fun map that tries to show where fans live link to map

  2. crackwilding on July 17th, 2009 @ 9:37 pm

    I call bullshit. If they’re so popular, why is turner field a mausoleum?

    And then, half the people that do go to their games are fans of the other team.

  3. bking on July 18th, 2009 @ 12:36 am

    I think the Braves showing on a national survey might be in part due to their long-time affiliation with TBS. Even though it has been a few years since all their games were broadcast nationally, that is still a heck of a lot of kids growing up watching Glavine, Smoltz, Maddux, Chipper, et al rack up division titles. If you ask folks in Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, etc, you’ll likely find they grew up watching the Braves and re-runs of Andy Griffith during rain delays.

    Maybe these folks aren’t going to make it to Turner Field every night, but I think they are still allowed to count the Braves as their favorite team, even if they don’t count in the imaginary masochistic "keep shelling out money during a recession to see your sucky team lose so you can call yourself a die-hard fan" category.

    Sure, the Braves aren’t great right now and so unsurprisingly Turner Field isn’t full. That doesn’t mean the team hasn’t enjoyed a national following for a few decades. Your MLB attendance chart shows that the Braves are 14th in home attendance, but 8th in road attendance. I think that is at least some small evidence that they have a healthy national following – they are a better draw on the road than at home. Several mediocre seasons in a row will dampen turnout unless you are New York, Boston, or Chicago.

  4. crackwilding on July 18th, 2009 @ 8:49 am

    They hardly ever sold out when they were successful, even during the playoffs. I hear people say this a lot: they suck, so no one goes. The excuse used to be: they make the playoffs every season, so no one goes. The bare fact is: no one goes.

    You’re right about TBS, but Atlanta is no baseball town.

    "they are a better draw on the road than at home." That’s not what the numbers show at all. Their road attendance numbers are marginally higher, but that’s simply because more than half the teams they play regularly have higher attendance. It’s not like other teams are out there slavering over the next visit by the Braves so they can get an additional 25,000 receipts.

    In fact, you can see the opposite effect for the teams at the top of the list — they hit the road and the attendance numbers go down sharply. The Yanks and the Sox bring out a huge contingent of fans everywhere they go — you can hear them during broadcasts drowning out the locals. But when they are playing in dead fish towns, though that contingent may be an improvement for local attendance it’s still a dropoff from their home numbers.

  5. bking on July 18th, 2009 @ 12:01 pm

    I’m not comparing the total numbers, I’m comparing the rankings. Their ranking improves – and I think this is a fair metric for how good of a draw a team is, at least between leagues or divisions. Everyone is playing in the same parks over all, right? So the comparative attendance rankings should be comparable.

    Really, though, we should be using the percentage numbers, not the raw attendance numbers. The size of the stadium affects this, which is why Boston isn’t in the tops for raw attendance but regularly sells out.

  6. crackwilding on July 18th, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

    I really can’t figure out what you’re talking about with regard to rankings.

    As for the size of the stadium, sure, a giant stadium makes 28,000 people look like 2800, but the Braves are still only drawing 28,000 people. As for the Braves’ inability to sell out a postseason game, the size of the stadium is a cheap excuse. The Dodgers and Red Sox sold 115,300 seats to an *exhibition* game last spring, so surely the Braves ought to be able to sell less than half of that to a World Series game. 53.5k showed up to see Hank Aaron break Ruth’s record, but the 96 series drew crowds 2000 short of that. Lame. The year after they won their Championship in 96, the average crowd was still only 35,000, good for third in the league, but down almost 13,000 from three years earlier. WTF?

    Lame, lame, lame. You can talk rankings (12th-14th for the last decade) or how many people watch them on TV, but seeing a game at Turner Field is less exciting than a kids’ t-ball game.

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