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In Defense of Bandwagon Sports Fans

Written by Logan Rosengard

It’s common for someone to boycott a company that is underperforming or not buy from a company who is producing a product that is not high in quality. News companies spend money on reporters to review products so that the common person is educated on whether to buy it or not. Nobody complains when a mass amount of people buy something that has a high level of hype, so why are bandwagon fans in sports criticized for doing the same thing?

What is a ‘Bandwagon’ Sports Fan?

According to Wikihow, a ‘bandwagon sports fan’ is someone who is a fan of a team, usually a winning team, and has shown no loyalty to said team in the past. You can probably picture said fan right now: Jersey of the best player, memorabilia from the most recent championship, always saying how ‘big of a fan’ they are of the team, the list goes on. What’s so bad about being a bandwagon fan, anyways? Is there something about following a winning team when they start getting hot that makes someone lesser of a fan? Is it because it’s a disrespect to the rest of the diehard fans for them to be grouped together?

Sports are Products

When you turn on your local sports channel, you are paying the organization a fraction of their profit. When you buy a jersey or a t-shirt of your favorite player, you are feeding the team’s profit. When you go to a game at their stadium with your friends or your dad, guess what? You’re feeding them money.

Sports, like a pair of Jordan 1s or a new Apple computer, are a product. When a product is terrible or when it’s company isn’t doing too hot, you don’t buy that product or support that company. Similarly, you don’t go to see a sports team if they’re playing like hot garbage. When a product is really good or when a company is doing really hot and producing high quality goods, people buy it because it’s good. When a sports team is doing great in the standings, are in the championship for their league, or win said championship, you buy and support them. Just like the consumer market, when a team is quality it will be bought, when a team is bad it won’t.

So, Really, What’s the Difference?

The flak that bandwagon fans get is mind boggling. There is minimal pushback when someone buys the hot new thing in stores or starts playing the hot new song on the radio. When a person claims to be a fan of a team right after they get hot, they are immediately put in a negative box. Would you want to support a team if they were playing bad?

The Miami Marlins of the MLB are the worst selling team in the past few seasons. Marlins Park holds a capacity of a little over 35,000 seats. Currently they sell a little over 10,000 tickets a game. In 3 seasons if the team is at the top of the NL and starts selling out games, do the other 25,000 fans in attendance on a nightly basis not count towards the actual fan count for the team because they showed up again when the team got hot?

Three seasons ago the Ottawa Senators had 16,000 fans a night, during a season where they were a game away from a Stanley Cup Final appearance. Now? They’re at the bottom of the league in attendance and are on the cusp of having a talented, young team in a season or two. When the fans start coming back and filling seats do they get tallied in the attendance totals?

The argument that a fan who shows up when a team is getting good is as dumb as saying that a person who buys quality beef is doing it because it’s the best on the market. That’s the point. Just like you wouldn’t buy low quality products for everyday use, you wouldn’t go see a bad team play. Some fans' patience may be higher for a team's lack of success, but at the end of the day you are going to go see a team more during a good season than a bad season. That makes each and everyone one of us a bandwagon fan.

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