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Elections and attendance! While We’re Waiting

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Happy Tuesday, WFNY!

And happy election day! Another year, another Tuesday, another election While We’re Waiting from yours truly. Man, it’s crazy how many times elections seem to fall on Tuesdays, isn’t it?1

Apologies in advance to anyone who actually likes one of these candidates and thinks that these truly are the most qualified and best candidates for President of the United States that this country has to offer, but I find this to generally be the most underwhelming and least inspiring election of my lifetime. But no matter how pathetic I find both of these candidates2, as I stood in line to vote this morning, I found myself looking around the room in awe. So many diverse people with different ages, different races, different socioeconomic standing, different religious beliefs, all standing in the same room to freely choose the next leaders of our country, our state, and our local government. There was no military presence, no violent outbursts, no shouting, no yelling, no threats. Just a bunch of people smiling, making small talk, and waiting to perform our civic duty. It’s easy to become cynical with democracy when our options don’t exactly inspire us, but the process itself is still as inspiring as ever.

But, I know, talking politics is not exactly everyone’s favorite thing around here, so I’ll move on. Let’s talk about something less polarizing and discuss attendance, shall we?

I’m kind of kidding. Sort of? I think? Maybe? I don’t want to have another discussion about attendance at Indians games. Or, at least, not in the regular season, anyway. But I do want to very loosely talk about how many road games Cleveland teams have hosted in Cleveland over the last couple of weeks.

It started, of course, with the World Series and the invasion of Cubs fans into Cleveland. I’ve talked to numerous people who went to either Game 6 or Game 7 and they all said the same thing, that their section was overrun with Cubs fans and they felt like road fans inside their own team’s ballpark.

Then last Sunday, I made the trek to Cleveland for the Browns vs. Cowboys game. We stopped at Winking Lizard before the game, and I looked around the room as we were seated. Romo, Elliott, Carter (props to whoever still wears a Quincy Carter jersey), Smith, Romo, Elliott, Elliott, Elliott, Elliott, Elliott, Elliott, Romo, Witten, Elliott. I wondered to myself if it was like this outside the stadium, what was it going to be like inside it?

Shop Cleveland Cavaliers Gear at Fanatics.comThe answer, it turns out, was that it was going to be much, much worse. I don’t know what it was like in every section, of course, but as we found our seats, I was disheartened to see that we were outnumbered 2 to 1 (although some biased reports say it was 40 to 1, and at times it felt like it really was). And while thankfully the Cowboys fans sitting immediately around us were all perfectly respectful and nice, we, of course, had the typical obnoxious road fans several rows in front of us. You know the type. The kind who, despite being a grown adult, feels the need to turn around and look up at all the fans behind and try to find the few pockets of Browns fans there and loudly antagonize them. It was miserable. And what can we say as Browns fans? “Oh, no way, man, YOU guys suck!” Sick burn. Unfortunately, this franchise has hit a point where they are completely and wholly indefensible.

So what is going on, Cleveland? Why are we constantly being outnumbered by opposing fans at our own home games? The reasons are almost certainly quite different with the Indians compared to the Browns.

I’ve heard reports that some Indians fans were able to buy additional seats for the playoffs when they purchased season tickets for the 2017 season. From the Indians’ perspective, this makes sense. A team that has struggled with attendance issues for years, it made sense to try to strike while momentum and enthusiasm were at an all-time high. But the problem? Fans bought those extra seats for the playoffs, and then they turned around and sold them to either pay for their own playoff tickets or to pay off a portion of those season tickets. And once those tickets were sold to the aftermarket sites, they were then priced in a way that was easier for Chicago fans to afford than Cleveland fans. And seeing as how the Cubs had 5 million freaking people at their championship parade, you can see the appetite for tickets to watch their team end a 108 year World Series drought might be pretty insane.

As for the Browns, well, the story is a little different. Years upon years of ineptitude and embarrassment have brought us to this point where excitement for the Browns is at an all-time low. Coming off a Cavaliers championship and an Indians Game 7 extra innings showing in the World Series, well, going to watch an 0-8 Browns team line up offsides three times in the span of like five plays isn’t exactly a fun way to spend a Sunday. On top of that, it was the Cowboys, one of the most popular teams in America, and it was former Buckeye hero Ezekiel Elliott playing back in Ohio again. Put all of those factors together and you have a stadium packed with Cowboys fans and Browns fans being forced to sit in their seats feeling miserable and being berated by asshole Cowboys fans with no ammunition to fire back with.

I don’t think there’s some big picture “problem” with Cleveland sports fans that we need to be worried about going forward. I don’t think there’s something larger happening within society or anything like that. I think Cleveland just ran into a couple of perfect storms that aligned just right. The timing sucks, and let me tell you, it’s been demoralizing as a Cleveland fan to watch it happen and feel helpless to do anything about, but it’s just one of those things.

This has definitely been a rough week for many of us as Cleveland fans. While the Indians truly have nothing to be ashamed of3, it’s still been a bit of a gut punch to watch the Cubs celebrate their Championship in Cleveland in front of a home crowd, and to watch the Browns play a game in Cleveland in front of a home Dallas crowd. Hey, it’s frustrating, sure, but at least we have the Cavaliers, and there’s not going to be any invasion of opposing fans into The Q anytime soon.

  1. Yes, I know. []
  2. And you third party candidates aren’t looking so hot yourselves, to be honest. []
  3. Seriously, what a World Series! And what a run that team just gave to this city! I will never, ever forget the joy and fun that they gave to us all. []

  • RGB
  • Garry_Owen

    I think you pretty much nailed it. Indians: Opportunity to make meaningful money from a wealthy, starved fan-base in an already small market. Had it been the Dodgers, different story. Browns: 17 seasons of putrefaction against an immensely popular team with a kid from OSU that every Buckeyes fan adores (I was rooting for him on Sunday, and will, unless and until some facts out of Columbus show that he’s not who we think he is).

    As for a-hole fans of other teams, I generally like to take a Churchill approach. There are a couple of legendary exchanges that he had with his rival, Lady Astor. In one, she reportedly said to him, “Sir, you are disgustingly drunk.” To which he replied, “Madam, you are disgustingly ugly, and I will be sober in the morning.” In another, she said to him, “Sir, I neither care for your politics nor your mustache.” To which he replied, “Madam, I cannot fathom a reason that you would be intimate with either.” So, when an a-hole fan loudly proclaims that our team sucks, the best response is simply, “Sure, but you’re an a-hole.” Or something to that effect. Churchill would have a better response. Wish he was running for President. That guy was a great American.

  • RGB

    Sunday, I ran into a group of Packer fans. They looked at me with obvious pity, and didn’t know exactly what to say.
    I broke the ice with “Somebody’s got to do it.”

  • Garry_Owen

    I would have just snickered, and said in my best Chris Farley voice, “packers.” But I’m a juvenile.

  • mgbode

    If I owned two tickets to a Game 6 or Game 7 of the World Series that someone was willing to give me $20K to take off my hands, then I would allow them to do so.

    Would be a heck of a party thrown including a brand new killer entertainment system at home to watch those games on too.

  • mgbode

    And Andrew, I am with you on this election. I voted for all but POTUS because even the two third-party candidates were unworthy of my vote. All the down-ticket stuff was interesting and worth attention.

  • boomhauertjs

    You couldn’t pay me to go the Steelers game which is going to be at least 75% Steeler fans. Nice job Jimmy.

  • NankirPhelge

    Ha ha ha, normally I see “attendance” in a headline and I keep moving. Combine it with “election” and you’re almost begging people to not read this. But I enjoyed the audacity of your headline so much, Andrew, I had to drop in.

    It’s about time Haslam started feeling some blow-back attendance-wise from the crap-fest he has inflicted on “the best fans in the world blah blah blah.”

    My protest vote went to Jill Stein.

  • Garry_Owen

    I should note, however, that the first anecdote might actually have been a W.C. Fields bit. But . . . I like it, anyway. And I’m getting old.

  • tigersbrowns2
  • tigersbrowns2

    good post GARRY

  • Chris

    Cleveland needs a wall. A big one. ‘uge. Cubs and Steelers fans are going to pay for it!

  • tigersbrowns2

    LMAO !!

  • Harv

    Agree that the different home game invasions require different analyses. With the Browns, at least the private vendors who laid out a fortune for their kiosks have a chance to recoup their investment from someone. They sure weren’t consulted about this roster. And if the conversion of First Energy to an away game doesn’t fill Sashi, Berry, Jimmy and Paul (from his secret remote location) with the appropriate fear and loathing, if they feel no more urgency than Big Show, this FO isn’t going anyplace anyway.

  • woofersus

    Yep, 100%. I love the tribe, but five figure paydays vs. seats to an important sporting event is always going to come out with me watching at home. (though I did attend my first mlb playoff game during the ALDS) This was sort of a unique event I suppose, with the Cubs being the Cubs, and all the wealthy/celebrity fans looking for tickets on Stubhub, but still, when watching event becomes something worth thousands the wealthiest fans will be the ones watching. It’s a trend that has already been in place and will continue. It’s just exacerbated during the playoffs.

    Overall, this season will be very good for attendance next year, though, which will be good for payroll. Can’t complain.

  • woofersus

    Some of those guys wearing Elliot jersey’s may well have been Browns fans. Some of them also yelling “you suck” at the Browns still may have been.

  • CB Everett

    Couldn’t hurt. Perhaps he could run Congress with “rum, sodomy, and the lash.”

  • Garry_Owen

    Those three were all down-ballot candidates in my state.

  • Steve

    “they were then priced in a way that was easier for Chicago fans to afford than Cleveland fans”

    This ignores all laws of economics. It’s really simply, just like with regular season tickets, Chicago fans were willing to pay more than Cleveland fans. The price is far more dependent on what the demand actually is than anything else.

  • If you interpreted what I wrote as blame, that was certainly not my intention. I’m not blaming anyone for anything. Simply saying that it was annoying. That’s all.

  • Steve

    You can call it blame, or just the reason, or probably any number of terms. But the number of Cubs fans, and the subsequent annoyance, is getting unduly put on season ticket holders, the people who supported this team from day one, and its by so many people that didn’t want to make the investment during the season. You didn’t want to pay $20 a seat for the regular season? Fine, but no, you don’t get face value World Series tickets.

  • The_Matt_of_Akron

    I think Andrew’s (and others’) point is that Cubs fans were willing to pay more than the average Cleveland fan’s opportunity cost of missing the game. Adding more season tickets holders getting face value tickets wouldn’t have changed the number of Cubs fans, if they were still willing to pay >10x face value.

  • Chris

    I really wish there is a summary of the most popular write-ins this year. I’m sure there are some great ones.

  • Steve

    More season ticket holders means fewer extra tickets available to season ticket holders, which means fewer tickets on the secondary market.

  • The_Matt_of_Akron

    I guess I don’t understand why more season ticket holders means fewer extra tickets. And my assertion is that regardless of whether the ticket is the primary or “extra”, there is a price at which point the average Cleveland fan will sell it, and the Cubs fans seemed to be willing to pay that price.

    I hope we sell tons of season tickets during the offseason, make it back to the World Series, and you are proven correct and we go back to having a Cleveland dominated crowd.

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