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smzimbabwe

Why root for the home team?

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Most of the players aren't local, they just happen to work in that town. Getting in an argument with another person on another board who says that I have no loyalty to the home team because I root for other non-local teams to win. College, I can understand, I root for the U of Washington because I went there, but before that, I had no interest in them, but living in Boise the last 20 years, I get a lot of "why aren't you a BSU fan?". I liked most Seattle teams while I lived there, they were a good #2 or #3 team, but most of my favorites are scattered around the country, and that's because I had no local team to follow while growing up, so picked favorites on a wide range of criteria. So what draws you to your "home" team even though they may not operate the way you like and if you moved, would your favorite teams change as well?

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Sense of belonging and shared happiness with others around me. Except the Raiders, which was a joke that turned real.

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Always lived in Philly and the big 4 sports there are a part of the city's DNA. Players come and go, but many stay and play together for a while and you can really get attached to a group of players. The 1993 and 2008 Phillies became a part of everyones family. Also, even in the worst of seasons, they are the team with your city on their chest and they represent the city.  

 

When you're dad takes you to a ballgame when you're a little kid it can be something that'll always be a part of you. 

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It's easy to root for the home team because of access to their games, media coverage, and other fans, but it's by no means necessary. Root for whoever you want, sports fandom is almost always completely arbitrary.

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8 hours ago, Lenny Dykstra said:

When you're dad takes you to a ballgame when you're a little kid it can be something that'll always be a part of you. 

 

Which is the reason I like the Twins. My dad worked in St. Paul when I was younger (so he lived there during the week and came home on the weekends) but sometimes my family would go out there on the weekend and going to games at the Metrodome was always a fond memory for me. I can't explain why but I always thought it was a cool place for baseball. 

 

8 hours ago, ElwoodCuse said:

It's easy to root for the home team because of access to their games, media coverage, and other fans, but it's by no means necessary. Root for whoever you want, sports fandom is almost always completely arbitrary.

 

This is true. Speaking to baseball as an example, this is why I'm a Jays fan (I'd consider the Twins my "2nd team"). 

 

That said, sometimes this also backfires. It the exact reason I don't like the Leafs. I don't care about joe blow who might play on the 4th line or end up in the AHL in the middle of August. 

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11 hours ago, smzimbabwe said:

Most of the players aren't local, they just happen to work in that town. Getting in an argument with another person on another board who says that I have no loyalty to the home team because I root for other non-local teams to win. College, I can understand, I root for the U of Washington because I went there, but before that, I had no interest in them, but living in Boise the last 20 years, I get a lot of "why aren't you a BSU fan?". I liked most Seattle teams while I lived there, they were a good #2 or #3 team, but most of my favorites are scattered around the country, and that's because I had no local team to follow while growing up, so picked favorites on a wide range of criteria. So what draws you to your "home" team even though they may not operate the way you like and if you moved, would your favorite teams change as well?

I get this a lot! I was born in Ohio and lived in Ohio most of my life (around the Dayton area) and people ask me, "Why the Steelers? You're in Bengal Country!" Or, "Why the Pirates?", and so on, and so on. 

The main reason being is my parents are both from Pennsylvania (Dad from Johnstown and Mom from the Punxsutawney Metropolitan Area). All my Dad would talk about is Steelers football (it helped that he, along with his brothers and his Dad, worked in the Steel Mills in Johnstown) and Pirates baseball. When we would go "home" to Pennsylvania to visit family, that is all my relatives would talk about. I also had an Aunt who is a diehard Penguins fan. 

You can't go wrong with family and I always felt my roots were in Pennsylvania and not in Ohio. It also helped that I was born in the 70's, so I remember the 4 Super Bowls the Steelers won, the We Are Family Pirates World Series, and Pitt football being National Champs.

I consider myself to be somewhat blessed as a sports fan for the teams I follow. When one falls off the competitive map there is another to pull Pittsburgh sports fan through the ruff times. 

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I'm definitely a homer. Where I'm from is what my fandom is based off. Having lived in Minnesota my whole life, I'm a huge Wild fan, and a Vikings Fan, and a Twins fan, and a Gophers fan! (I'd be lying if I said I was a Timberwolves fan, or a basketball fan in general.)

 

That sense of identity and belonging to where I live, and where I'm from, is the only thing that has made sense, to me, for being a sports fan.

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I'm a complete homer. I'm a Yankees, Rangers, Jets, and (very casual) Knicks fan. On top of that, I'm an NYCFC fan despite supporting Manchester United, just because they're New York City's MLS team.

 

Sports teams are part of the identity of a city. They bring people together; they're part of the shared currency of the city and its metropolitan area. They travel around the country representing the city and its people. And for people that move away from their original home, their fandom can serve as a continued link to their hometown long after they've moved away.

 

New York is a somewhat strange case with all of that, since we have multiple teams in each sport, so the city never fully 'unites' behind a certain team. But each one of our sports teams runs through the blood of the city and the Tri-State Area nonetheless. And the rivalries between the respective fanbases in town make it all the more interesting.

 

As for Manchester United? I have no personal connection to any cities in England - never even visited there, regrettably; my only 'personal' connection is that many of my ancestors come from Oxfordshire. But Manchester United were the first English team I ever heard of, and for years were the easiest to watch in America (back in those dark days before the NBCSN Premier League contract). So United it was. I have no connection to Manchester, though I'd love to visit and take in a match at Old Trafford someday.

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Since I'm not from a "major" sports city, my teams are sort of all over the place. The Magic were, at the time, the only hometown team and that meant that even if you don't like basketball, you were a Magic fan and had at least 1 Magic shirt. My first baseball game was actually Game 162 (yes, THAT Game 162) where Longoria hit it into what is now known as the "162 Landing", and ever since I've sort of had an emotional connection to the team. I used to play soccer, so when Orlando City came into town they were an instant hit with me. My true "secondary city" is Houston due to the fact that I was born there, so I am a Texans fan. Finally, I didn't really ever get into hockey before the Golden Knights showed up, and I decided what better way then follow a train wreck from the ground up. I was a casual Islanders fan before that (because my mom is a diehard)

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I'm from Ohio so most of the teams I root for come from Ohio. I also root for the San Antonio Spurs. When I moved here in 2000 they had Robinson and Duncan and they had an attitude that this was their town too. Robinson even opened an academy here and most of the Spurs, even the retired players, live here full time. 

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Because if I don't, nobody else will. The Sudbury Wolves are in a rebuilding phase. We're getting a new arena built at the request of the new team owner, which will (sadly) cost taxpayers at least $100 million, and go on an undeveloped parcel of land which will need more taxpayer dollars to fund transit infrastructure.

The on-ice team is in a rebuilding mode, but since there are no other major sports within a 4-hour drive, most hockey fans here support Toronto or Montreal (Sudbury is 30% Francophone). 

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Because if they don't win it's a shame?

 

...I'll see myself out...

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I root for the Boston teams because I grew up there and the media covers them, yes, but as much as anything else, it's a thing to bond over with family and neighbors with whom you may have other cultural differences with. Even absent anything else, we all share our weather complaints and sports complaints.

 

I had mentioned this in the soccer thread but it might be more relevant here, but this is a thing I find interesting about MLS for a couple reasons. One, soccer has an academy system that theoretically leads to more local guys on your pro soccer team than the other major sports. But also, due to the league itself's relative youth even compared to NFL's expansion era or WHL-era hockey teams, it seems like MLS teams are the "home teams" for city transplants that otherwise root for teams they grew up with far away. Like, Atlanta or NYCFC or Seattle (or now Nashville?) are more likely to be the outliers in someone's team affinities than a Big Four team. I don't have data on that, just an observation based on surprising patterns I've observed in MLS, and the number of Red Sox/Patriots fans in my Facebook feed I see wearing non-Revolution gear.

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Like others mentioned, I like certain teams because of my parents. My father was born in Pittsburgh and his whole family is from the area. He grew up in Ft. Lauderdale though when Miami began their glory days. I like the Hawks and Atlanta United because they're my hometown teams. However, I can guarantee you if Pittsburgh had a basketball and MLS club, they would be my favorites over Atlanta. 

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1 hour ago, Digby said:

I root for the Boston teams because I grew up there and the media covers them, yes, but as much as anything else, it's a thing to bond over with family and neighbors with whom you may have other cultural differences with. Even absent anything else, we all share our weather complaints and sports complaints.

 

I had mentioned this in the soccer thread but it might be more relevant here, but this is a thing I find interesting about MLS for a couple reasons. One, soccer has an academy system that theoretically leads to more local guys on your pro soccer team than the other major sports. But also, due to the league itself's relative youth even compared to NFL's expansion era or WHL-era hockey teams, it seems like MLS teams are the "home teams" for city transplants that otherwise root for teams they grew up with far away. Like, Atlanta or NYCFC or Seattle (or now Nashville?) are more likely to be the outliers in someone's team affinities than a Big Four team. I don't have data on that, just an observation based on surprising patterns I've observed in MLS, and the number of Red Sox/Patriots fans in my Facebook feed I see wearing non-Revolution gear.

 

MLS tends to be a thing that most adults picked up on within the past decade or so. For most, that's after they moved away from their hometowns. I know a ton of NYCFC fans who are New York transplants who root for their old hometown teams in other sports.

 

Give it 30 years or so, when the current crop of kids who grew up with MLS are well into adulthood, and I'd bet MLS fandom similarly tracks fandom for the other big 4.

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Ultimately, and I've said it before, sports fandom is an intensely personal thing. It's like falling in love, you can't force it if it's not there.  And sometimes you can't deny it even if you want to. 

 

But for myself, I can never cheer for a team if I don't have a personal connection to the city. That's my own personal hang up. I tried really hard to get into MLS a couple years back, before New York had a club. So I tried to adopt first the Union (because I liked their branding) and then the Timbers (because I went to Oregon and used to go up to games in Portland). But they both felt forced and artificial to me, so I never really got into it. And then, when we got a club of our own, I fell madly in love. You just can't force this. 

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2 hours ago, kroywen said:

 

MLS tends to be a thing that most adults picked up on within the past decade or so. For most, that's after they moved away from their hometowns. I know a ton of NYCFC fans who are New York transplants who root for their old hometown teams in other sports.

 

Give it 30 years or so, when the current crop of kids who grew up with MLS are well into adulthood, and I'd bet MLS fandom similarly tracks fandom for the other big 4.

Totally, and then the pro lacrosse teams in Pittsburgh, Asheville, and Google City USA will be the weird outliers for the youngs.

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When I started following the VFL/AFL in the late 1970's, the league consisted of 11 teams in Melbourne and one team not in Melbourne - the Geelong Cats. I decided to follow them, being the only team not from Melbourne. Since then two teams from my home town of Sydney have entered the league (Sydney Swans and GWS Giants), but I still continue to follow the Cats.

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Rooting for the home team with fellow locals can definitely strengthen the bonds of the community.  They can also be a galvanizing force when a particular market goes to some sort of crisis (the local example for me would be Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Saints surprising come back success the following year).

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