Gotta Support the Team . . .

Published: December 3, 2010

Writers have been saying for years that New Orleans is not a pro sports town, and that we won’t keep the Saints or the Hornets.  Some even say we don’t deserve them.  I’m sick and tired of it. 

You know who can’t support professional sports? L.A.

They let 2 NFL teams walk (in the past 20 years), they have 2 basketball teams 2 baseball teams, and 2 hockey teams left.  They also lost one of the two NASCAR races from their track in Fontana.  That’s another 100,000+ tickets . . . poof!  We kept the Saints come Hell AND High Water, built an NBA Arena, and attracted a team twice in the past 12 years.  From a sports flux perspective, we are attractive, and Los Angeles is, well, repulsive. 

(Regular season numbers in the following, and only considering what are generally understood to be major sports leagues and NASCAR.  These are not 2010-2011 numbers. These are for seasons ending in 2010, the season the Saints were champs of for NFL.)

Let’s talk about teams in the cities today:

Los Angeles, metro population 15.2 million, 3, sports, 6 teams, 2 large races, 9,777,830 tickets sold, 0.6433 sales per capita

Team Tickets Sold Percent Capacity
Lakers 778,877 99.7
Clippers 670,063 85.7
Kings 709,853 93.6
Ducks 621,903 88.3
Dodgers 3,562,320 78.5
Angels 3,250,814 89.1
NASCAR (not a team) 92,000 *2 (no data, WAY conservative) 100


New Orleans, metro population 1.2 million, 2 sports, 2 teams, 1,180,366 tickets sold, 0.9836 sales per capita

Team Tickets Sold Percent Capacity
Hornets 620,366 88.5
Saints 560,000 100 (from Katrina forward, in fact)


In raw sales and revenue generated, Los Angeles wins.  They have 3 teams in Staples (Wow! I want to shake the schedule guy’s hand, the the guys that work that floor over).  The other teams have their own places.  Our 2 teams each have their own space.  In this fashion, LA is probably getting more return on investment, too.  From an economic perspective, Los Angeles is a great place to put a sports team, and this should make it clear why the NFL wants to get in there.  After all, their sales per capita is only 0.6433.  There’s lots of support left on the table compared to New Orleans’ 0.9836 sales per capita.  Of course, Los Angeles repeatedly fails to support the NFL with the dollars it needs.  Repulsive. 

Our sales per capita is 1.5291 times that of Los Angeles. 

So over 50% more support, tickets sold per capita, based on populations metro area. All this stuff is post-Katrina here, folks. If you want to argue that there’s a larger distance to travel, less private transpiration, etc. in LA . . . cry me a river.  Move to New Orleans if you want a nice commute. They have the economic edge, in boom times and in busts.  They haven’t had the natural disasters we’ve had to deal with (these are pre-BP numbers, not that that deal was in any way natural). They have the `super stars’, the titles, Hollywood, the weather, everything. Everything a superficial casual observer would want to generate support.

But not the love. And, frankly, not the honor.

I DARE someone to step up to mic on this particular issue. 

There’s plenty of room there to support your teams more.  In 2008-2009, we were at 98.7% capacity for the Hornets.  We were close to not being able to support the teams any more in terms of buying tickets.  Maxed out.  How’s that for support?  Who says we can’t and don’t support the team?

We may not be much, and we may not have much, but we give what we have to our boys and they know it. That’s not hooey. We have an order of magnitude more love for our teams. Those numbers means it’s obvious, and it is to the senses. When you walk the streets, it’s clear. When you listen to the radio, it’s clear. And Lord help you when we win it all, because it’s clear.

Can I get an Amen?

I could go on for hours, but the numbers don’t lie.

I’m still daring you. There just isn’t a font size that truly captures my emphasis on my dare here. This is like way past double-dog dare.

You can’t win. Just sit down and take it. Just start insulting me or my city, because that’s all you can do in this matter. You’ve lost. Resort to the tactics of mouth-breathers. Or how about this: shut up and buy a ticket. Maybe you can cut our lead to 50%  next year. Hey, I think you can. And attend your championship parades.  75% of our population was at ours . . . Not so much for the Lakers.  And I don’t want to hear “Well, winning isn’t new here . . .” as the issue is support, not who is `better through history.’ Hang you hat on that if you want, but his doesn’t have anything to do with your head; this is about your heart. 

Still no takers? I thought not.

I feel much like I imagine Kid did after he battle-rapped Play in House Party. It feels good.


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