The Casual Fan in Sports

By Josh:

On Sunday I took some time to watch the Super Bowl. I am not a huge football fan, but as a sports fan it isn’t a big surprise that I watched the game. Honestly I would consider myself just a casual fan of football, and most other sports that aren’t baseball. This got me thinking about how the casual baseball fan is completely different than any other sport.

Every sport has its die hard fans. Individuals who strive to make it to a game every chance they can get. These are your season ticket holders, or those who dream of getting season tickets some day in their life. Sports like football, basketball, soccer and hockey focus their attention on these fans a majority of the time. Why; because that is where their biggest revenue is going to come from for those sports.

Baseball does focus attention on the die hard fans but baseball is unique that it can draw a sizeable percentage of its revenue from the casual fan.

Ticket Costs

The last time I went to a NFL game was in Seattle like 8 years ago. I didn’t sit in great seats, but for three tickets I paid almost $300. That didn’t include parking, gas, food or anything other then the ability to sit in the corner of the stadium in the 200 level. An NBA game isn’t quite as expensive as that but still if you want to sit in the 200 level it can cost $75 a ticket against an average team. Forget if Golden State or Cleveland are coming to town.

For baseball I can get an outfield ticket for $15-20 a ticket. Yes, I can spend a lot more to sit in the box seats but from a casual fans perspective just grabbing a few friends or the family and going to a game is far cheaper for baseball. Plus this doesn’t even take into consideration the hundreds of minor league and wood bat summer league teams that you can buy seats for $8 and be on the field.

Amount of Games

As a casual fan have you ever tried to just hop down to an NFL or NBA game? It isn’t that easy, unless your local team is a last place team and can’t fill a stadium. Even then for football you have to have Sunday’s open. For almost a decade I worked on Sunday’s and going to a NFL game didn’t work for me.

The baseball schedule allows for casual fans to go to games on their days off, and has a lot more availability. Convenience is a huge selling point for baseball to casual fans.

Availability of Baseball

For football you have the NFL, college, and in some areas some semi-pro leagues that most likely don’t draw a lot of attention or fans. Basketball has the NBA, college, and then the D-league that I honestly don’t have any clue where they even play. Soccer is much the same as basketball. Hockey is a bit different as it does have some minor league hockey.

Baseball is easily the most available sport to attend in the United States. You have the MLB, the Minor Leagues, college and wood bat leagues. Minor League teams alone out number the number of teams in the other sports. Wood bat leagues the same. I live in Kelso, WA and I have at least 10 wood bat league teams, 3 minor league teams and 1 MLB team within a 2 hour drive of my house. Four of those I could get to in under an hour including a 5 minute drive through town to get to my home town team the Cowlitz Black Bears.

A casual fan can get off work, pick up their family or meet up with some friends and make it to the start of a game, get tickets, order a hamburger and pop and have a fun summer evening at the ball park.

I bring up all of this to make one simple statement. Baseball is in my opinion the best sport there is for the casual fan. I know some people will make stupid statements like ‘we don’t want casual fans rooting for our team.’

The reality is that casual fans fill ball parks and games are so much more enjoyable when the crowd is cheering and into the game, and the more people you have the louder it can get and the more fun you can have.
Casual or die hard, a fan is a fan and baseball is meant to be enjoyed by everyone.