View Full Version : Individuals or teams?

10-12-2005, 04:04 PM
What is the most important factor in determining the teams you root for? The players on the team? The city the team is located in? Some other reason? I ask this because of something my wife noticed on tv. Not being originally from the U.S., she sometimes will notice things that most of us won't.

I had on ESPN one day and they were promoting some upcoming game they would be broadcasting and they were strongly billing it as a matchup between so and so from Team A against so and so from Team B. It was almost like those two athletes were going to be competing against each other in some sort of individual event. It seemed like they were promoting a boxing match with the way they mentioned the individuals more than the teams they played for. My wife instantly popped up and said, "Aren't there other people on those teams as well?"

Since then I have been paying more attention to how team sports are promoted and I have noticed that more often than not the individual matchups are promoted more than the teams. Now to a certain degree I can understand why you would do that when you have a couple great pitchers going against each other and you are saying that the pitching will be great, but then you see a basketball game advertised and they're billing it as This Player vs. That Player and they play that up so much you almost forget who the two players play for.

I also started looking for this in international sports as well, and I don't think I see as much of it in the promotion of some of the European soccer I watch. There is still some mention of some of the great players, but I get the impression that they promote the team more than the players and fans have a loyalty to their team first and the players second.

So I guess the question is this: Are American sports fans becoming more and more fans of the individual athletes than they are of teams? Is this a product of the frequent player movement due to free agency? Are people rooting less for teams now than they are for a favorite superstar? Don't get me wrong. There are players I like and some of them play for other teams, but I am first and foremost a Cincinnati sports fan and a fan of the players second. As much as I like Adam Dunn, I am a Reds fan first and if he ended up getting traded to another team, I wouldn't all of a sudden become a fan of that team just because he happens to be playing there, especially if he was on the Braves or the Yanks. Does anyone else think there is more of an emphasis on individual athletes now than there is on the teams, at least in the way the games are promoted by the likes of ESPN?

10-12-2005, 04:34 PM
Very interesting topic, ORH. For the sports that I follow the most (MLB, NFL, NCAA hoops & NCAA f-ball), I go strictly by teams. Sometimes that will even include rooting for a certain conference in NCAA sports during the Big Dance or Bowl games. Even if there is one guy that I really admire or like on a team, I still break it down to which team it is that I will support for that game or series. A lot of times with me it is more a case of which team I despise less. There is only one team in MLB and in the NFL that I like... I wish the rest could lose every single game. Of course that is not possible, so I root for the team that I dislike the least.

There have been times in other sports (ones that I do not follow religiously like the afore-mentioned sports) that I have rooted for an individual to win. A good example would be Ray Bourque and finally getting to hoist the Stanley Cup.

10-12-2005, 05:41 PM
With me it's definitely the city. I support all teams Cincinnati. Well, excpet Xavier. Ok even them as long as they aren't playing U.C.

10-12-2005, 05:51 PM
in the NFL, it's the team; Cleveland Browns...i liked the Titans when they had Steve McNair and Eddie George going strong. i loved how much fun you could see McNair having.
in college, it's the team; Ohio State and then the conference; Big 10.
in the NHL, it's the team; Red Wings & Black Hawks
in baseball, it's the team; Reds, Cubs, Brewers (amazing how that worked out) and the players; Jason Bay, Brian Giles, Ichiro...pretty much anyone who's not the Mets, Red Sox, Yankees, or Braves (except for John Smoltz).

10-13-2005, 08:53 AM
I always root for my team not an individual player. It wouldn't matter to me who plays for my team because I would continue to root for my team. When the Reds started dismantling the BRM I continued to root for the Reds. I didn't switch to the Phillies because Rose and Perez were with them.
It's interesting how the different pro leagues have marketed their leagues. The NBA has marketed heavily toward the individual and not so much each team. The NFL is a complete opposite. They promote each team not too much individual player. Then there is MLB. They choose not to promote very much of anything.
In the long run it's better to root for team than individual. Individuals come and go but teams are almost always constant. Unless of course you were a Montreal Expo fan.