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Demographics of Fandom
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DawgNBama Online
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Post: #21
RE: Demographics of Fandom
(01-24-2023 05:16 PM)bill dazzle Wrote:  This is a topic that has fascinated me since the 1970s, and I commend Fighting Muskie for starting the thread (and asking that we keep it civil).

I have noticed on this board (started reading it in 2011) multiple comments and observations that, for example, suggested the posters failed to consider (merely by circumstance and not with malice or intent) the average black fan of college sports. It is why I have, in multiple posts, noted the significance of the Memphis Tiger black fan base and the Belmont Bruin white fan base — as I feel awareness of these dynamics is important. No doubt, "demographics in college sports fandom" are worthy of consideration and polite discussion.

In general, I would characterize the "average" college football fan as being more male than female, white than any other race, conservative rather than liberal, suburban/rural than urban, and mainstream than non-mainstream. Obviously, there are MANY exceptions to this rule — including with a decent number of posters on this board.

Men's college basketball might be a bit different from football in that the sport seemingly draws more female fans and fans of color. However, I could easily be wrong on that.

I strongly feel demographic shifts are at least partly influential related to 21st century fandom and have witnessed this first-hand with Vanderbilt football, which has developed a significant black fan base within a mere 12-year period. When James Franklin began his tenure as coach in 2011, the transition was quick. That was also the time that the late David Williams (African America) was AD.

I'm not so sure about that Bill Dazzle, but I will do my best to keep this civil. Go to any neighborhood in the state of Alabama that has few Latinos/Latinas, and you will find Alabama & Auburn fans of all races. The Latino/Latina population in the state hasn't completely embraced Alabama and/or Auburn yet, but that is changing. I used to find more Latinos/Latinas that were fans of the Mexican soccer team than were fans of the local football teams, but now I am seeing more of an even split, if not the popularity of the Mexican soccer team fading!! Troy has fans of all colors as well. Only Samford, aka SAM, has a predominantly white fan/alumni base, that I have noticed. Alabama A&M & Alabama State have predominantly black fan/alumni bases, but because they are HBCU's, that is understandable.
In the state of Georgia, the University of Georgia carries the state with fans of all races. In Georgia, the colors are red & black, not black or white 03-wink Auburn, and to a much lesser extent Georgia Tech and GaSo, does have some pull in the state as well. I'm guessing Mercer & Emory have predominantly white fan/alumni bases. Of course, Albany, Ft. Valley State, Savanah State, etc. have predominantly black fan/alumni bases, but like Alabama A&M and Alabama State, completely understandable.
01-25-2023 12:09 AM
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DawgNBama Online
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Post: #22
RE: Demographics of Fandom
(01-24-2023 05:59 PM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  Let me break up my OP into 2 main questions:

Which schools out there tend to have more rural/conservative fans and which schools to attract liberal/urban fans? A good example here I think is VT and UVA. VT strikes me as the red state school (in terms of who their fans are, not the politics of the university administrators) while UVA strikes me as the blue state school.

Part 2 is whether or not interest in college athletics is consistent across demographics and if they aren’t consistent, who tends to show stronger support.


I definitely see a Red State/Blue State pattern here. Where is college football support waning? It’s pretty obvious to me that the West Coast and the Northeast are seeing a decline in fan participation and those are among the bluest parts of the country. You’ve also got blue pockets like Colorado where the Buffaloes struggle for relevance.

The South and rural Midwest seem to be doing better.

About the only blue/liberal fanbases that I can think of in the state of Alabama come from either UAB or Alabama State, located in predominantly urban areas. Georgia Tech fans tend to be more blue/liberal, but like the above, they're located in an urban area.

The teams that blanket the states of Georgia & Alabama have a more red/ conservative bent to them. I love that, and wouldn't change it for the world!!!
01-25-2023 12:21 AM
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Sactowndog Online
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Post: #23
RE: Demographics of Fandom
(01-24-2023 05:16 PM)bill dazzle Wrote:  This is a topic that has fascinated me since the 1970s, and I commend Fighting Muskie for starting the thread (and asking that we keep it civil).

I have noticed on this board (started reading it in 2011) multiple comments and observations that, for example, suggested the posters failed to consider (merely by circumstance and not with malice or intent) the average black fan of college sports. It is why I have, in multiple posts, noted the significance of the Memphis Tiger black fan base and the Belmont Bruin white fan base — as I feel awareness of these dynamics is important. No doubt, "demographics in college sports fandom" are worthy of consideration and polite discussion.

In general, I would characterize the "average" college football fan as being more male than female, white than any other race, conservative rather than liberal, suburban/rural than urban, and mainstream than non-mainstream. Obviously, there are MANY exceptions to this rule — including with a decent number of posters on this board.

Men's college basketball might be a bit different from football in that the sport seemingly draws more female fans and fans of color. However, I could easily be wrong on that.

I strongly feel demographic shifts are at least partly influential related to 21st century fandom and have witnessed this first-hand with Vanderbilt football, which has developed a significant black fan base within a mere 12-year period. When James Franklin began his tenure as coach in 2011, the transition was quick. That was also the time that the late David Williams (African America) was AD.

I think one consideration, especially for Football, is the degree to which the population is made up of recent immigrants. This matters for a couple reasons:
1) it’s likely neither they or their parents went to college in the US.
2) football is not a sport they understand much like you being a Cricket fan.

That said, College Station Texas has a high concentration and certainly doesn’t lack football enthusiasm
01-25-2023 12:45 AM
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Post: #24
RE: Demographics of Fandom
(01-24-2023 06:13 PM)bullet Wrote:  Part of the problem in the northeast is the pros. Part is the cities which have so many other actvities. And part is that the old time powers-Army, Navy and the Ivy League, are pretty much irrelevant.
Even as late as the 60s, the Ivies still drew big crowds and got treated as major by the networks. But then the traditional programs of the region almost all became less significant.

Now in FBS beyond Army and Navy you have UConn, UMass and Buffalo, who are all recent move-ups. The only true northern "east coast" schools are Temple, Rutgers and BC, two of whom are historically bad. And only Penn St., Syracuse, Pitt and Maryland are also in the northeast.


Former big name schools in the northeast in the past were Vermont, MIT, Delaware, Maine, Villanova, Holy Cross, Bucknel, New Hampshire, Carnegie Tech, Lafayette, Fordham, Boston U., Duquense, NYU, URI, Tufts, Colgate and Drexel. There are more, but they moved down.

It is nice to look at the history of schools in which confernce they were in Colorado and Utah did shared a conference with Colorado State, Colorado College, Denver, Utah State, Wyoming, Colorado Mines and Montana State.
01-25-2023 12:55 AM
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DawgNBama Online
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Post: #25
RE: Demographics of Fandom
(01-25-2023 12:45 AM)Sactowndog Wrote:  
(01-24-2023 05:16 PM)bill dazzle Wrote:  This is a topic that has fascinated me since the 1970s, and I commend Fighting Muskie for starting the thread (and asking that we keep it civil).

I have noticed on this board (started reading it in 2011) multiple comments and observations that, for example, suggested the posters failed to consider (merely by circumstance and not with malice or intent) the average black fan of college sports. It is why I have, in multiple posts, noted the significance of the Memphis Tiger black fan base and the Belmont Bruin white fan base — as I feel awareness of these dynamics is important. No doubt, "demographics in college sports fandom" are worthy of consideration and polite discussion.

In general, I would characterize the "average" college football fan as being more male than female, white than any other race, conservative rather than liberal, suburban/rural than urban, and mainstream than non-mainstream. Obviously, there are MANY exceptions to this rule — including with a decent number of posters on this board.

Men's college basketball might be a bit different from football in that the sport seemingly draws more female fans and fans of color. However, I could easily be wrong on that.

I strongly feel demographic shifts are at least partly influential related to 21st century fandom and have witnessed this first-hand with Vanderbilt football, which has developed a significant black fan base within a mere 12-year period. When James Franklin began his tenure as coach in 2011, the transition was quick. That was also the time that the late David Williams (African America) was AD.

I think one consideration, especially for Football, is the degree to which the population is made up of recent immigrants. This matters for a couple reasons:
1) it’s likely neither they or their parents went to college in the US.
2) football is not a sport they understand much like you being a Cricket fan.

That said, College Station Texas has a high concentration and certainly doesn’t lack football enthusiasm

Look at my above posts about the Latino/Latina population in Alabama & Georgia and how their rooting interests. I am not sure about the state of Georgia (don't live there, yet!!), but the Latino/Latina population in Alabama has definitely grown considerably!!!
01-25-2023 01:46 AM
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Post: #26
RE: Demographics of Fandom
(01-24-2023 04:17 PM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  In reading a few other threads, some comments got me thinking about the demographic tendencies of college athletic programs. To what extent do land grants and universities like Fresno St who lean towards more agricultural specialties tend to draw more rural conservative fans? It’s been my observation that interest in collegiate athletics is slipping among the liberal and urban crowd (urban centers are more pro sports focused, the wealthy left tends to be more interested in soccer/lacrosse etc if they have any sports interest at all).

If schools who draw more heavily from blue America are losing support in athletics could this be good news for programs whose fan base leans right?

Define wealthy? If you go to SoFi Stadium, for example, a large percentage of the people that sit in the best seats have a lot of money. They like football. If they cannot get to the game, they give the tickets away to a family member or friend. I have a good friend who owns a post-Production facility in Hollywood and loves sports. He has season tickets to the Dodgers, Lakers, Kings, Chargers, and Rams. He gives many of the tickets to clients and employees and goes to the games he wants to see. He likes to watch sports, play golf and make money. He does not have time for politics and most people that make money don't, other than wanting lower taxes.

There is a myth about people that live in urban areas; that they don't like football, or just like pro sports, or just like soccer/lacrosse, or don't like sports at all. I never see it here in Southern California. Most urban areas have a wide variety of things to do, and college athletics is just one of them.
01-25-2023 02:01 AM
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Gitanole Offline
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Post: #27
RE: Demographics of Fandom
Have you noticed that stadium designs have grown increasingly more stratified by class?

Go back to the 1970s and 1980s and everyone not in the press box sits out in the stadium seating. The haves are distinguished from the have-nots by the yard line their seats face. You can see this egalitarian arrangement in the film 'Black Sunday,' in which even the US president sits outside on stadium seats to watch the Super Bowl.

Now there's the press box, a steadily growing number of luxury sky boxes, and special court section for VIPs in addition to the stadium seating.

Modern football stadiums are increasingly coming to resemble 19th-century European opera houses, with special luxury boxes for the nobility. The well-to-do attend the event as much to be seen as to see, elevated above the common level.

If student attendance is down, might one reason be because it's all too obvious to students at the stadium where they rate in the fandom social order at their own school? Students who watch games on TV enjoy the same kind of climate control the well-heeled VIPs in stadium sky boxes do, while enjoying the same HD video detail they'd get in person from the stadium scoreboard.
01-25-2023 07:12 AM
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Post: #28
RE: Demographics of Fandom
(01-24-2023 04:45 PM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  
(01-24-2023 04:22 PM)Bronco14 Wrote:  I don’t think there’s a connection between political affiliation, no. Maybe for soccer (liberal) & baseball (conservative). Other sports not as much, not even pro & collegiate football.

Yes, it’s hard for college sports to crack pro sports markets, but many college powers aren’t in pro sports cities.

Colleges in rural areas are still dominated by the Left institutionally & recruit heavy from the big cities.

I'd push back that there's a connection, too.

Even in your baseball example, the top MLB markets consistently include NYC, Chicago and Boston and those are quite liberal areas. (To the extent that there's a "conservative" sport, it's NASCAR.)

The Big Ten just signed the largest TV deal of any college conference in history and its power is largely based on its presence in super-blue markets like NYC, LA, Chicago, DC and Philadelphia. Most of the Big Ten schools (such as Michigan and Wisconsin) are way to the left for public universities even by normal academia standards (which is already liberal leaning). The vast majority of students at the Big Ten schools aren't from rural areas at all, but rather large urban and suburban areas (even the more rural flagships like Iowa).

So, the wealthiest conference is a glaring counter-example that college fandom doesn't have much to do with political affiliation.

Now, the fact that young people don't watch much or any linear TV in general is the demographic issue that is much more concerning if you're either a TV network or a supplier of programming to TV networks (which includes sports leagues).

Right but people in rural areas are still UMichigan fans, Badger fans, Buckeyes, etc. Just b/c they live in the middle of nowhere, that doesn't mean they don't support the college teams. These people know the schools are deep Blue but support the athletic teams anyways b/c if you live in Michigan, you're a Wolverine, etc.
(This post was last modified: 01-25-2023 08:11 AM by Bronco'14.)
01-25-2023 08:07 AM
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Post: #29
RE: Demographics of Fandom
(01-25-2023 08:07 AM)Bronco14 Wrote:  
(01-24-2023 04:45 PM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  
(01-24-2023 04:22 PM)Bronco14 Wrote:  I don’t think there’s a connection between political affiliation, no. Maybe for soccer (liberal) & baseball (conservative). Other sports not as much, not even pro & collegiate football.

Yes, it’s hard for college sports to crack pro sports markets, but many college powers aren’t in pro sports cities.

Colleges in rural areas are still dominated by the Left institutionally & recruit heavy from the big cities.

I'd push back that there's a connection, too.

Even in your baseball example, the top MLB markets consistently include NYC, Chicago and Boston and those are quite liberal areas. (To the extent that there's a "conservative" sport, it's NASCAR.)

The Big Ten just signed the largest TV deal of any college conference in history and its power is largely based on its presence in super-blue markets like NYC, LA, Chicago, DC and Philadelphia. Most of the Big Ten schools (such as Michigan and Wisconsin) are way to the left for public universities even by normal academia standards (which is already liberal leaning). The vast majority of students at the Big Ten schools aren't from rural areas at all, but rather large urban and suburban areas (even the more rural flagships like Iowa).

So, the wealthiest conference is a glaring counter-example that college fandom doesn't have much to do with political affiliation.

Now, the fact that young people don't watch much or any linear TV in general is the demographic issue that is much more concerning if you're either a TV network or a supplier of programming to TV networks (which includes sports leagues).

Right but people in rural areas are still UMichigan fans, Badger fans, Buckeyes, etc. Just b/c they live in the middle of nowhere, that doesn't mean they don't support the college teams. These people know the schools are deep Blue but support the athletic teams anyways b/c if you live in Michigan, you're a Wolverine, etc.

Yeah, here in Ohio the folks in rural areas are probably the most die-hard Buckeye fans out there- more so than the alums (my wife being one of them). Mind you, many of them have not even been to the university to understand it is actually in an urban area or that there are a lot of Progressive faculty or students. They don’t see that- they just see the football product.
(This post was last modified: 01-25-2023 08:39 AM by CliftonAve.)
01-25-2023 08:38 AM
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bill dazzle Offline
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Post: #30
RE: Demographics of Fandom
(01-24-2023 06:51 PM)Skyhawk Wrote:  
(01-24-2023 05:16 PM)bill dazzle Wrote:  This is a topic that has fascinated me since the 1970s, and I commend Fighting Muskie for starting the thread (and asking that we keep it civil).

I have noticed on this board (started reading it in 2011) multiple comments and observations that, for example, suggested the posters failed to consider (merely by circumstance and not with malice or intent) the average black fan of college sports. It is why I have, in multiple posts, noted the significance of the Memphis Tiger black fan base and the Belmont Bruin white fan base — as I feel awareness of these dynamics is important. No doubt, "demographics in college sports fandom" are worthy of consideration and polite discussion.

In general, I would characterize the "average" college football fan as being more male than female, white than any other race, conservative rather than liberal, suburban/rural than urban, and mainstream than non-mainstream. Obviously, there are MANY exceptions to this rule — including with a decent number of posters on this board.

Men's college basketball might be a bit different from football in that the sport seemingly draws more female fans and fans of color. However, I could easily be wrong on that.

I strongly feel demographic shifts are at least partly influential related to 21st century fandom and have witnessed this first-hand with Vanderbilt football, which has developed a significant black fan base within a mere 12-year period. When James Franklin began his tenure as coach in 2011, the transition was quick. That was also the time that the late David Williams (African America) was AD.

I might argue that basketball is more urban than football.

Agree. And that is a factor in fanship. Good point.
01-25-2023 08:51 AM
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Post: #31
RE: Demographics of Fandom
(01-24-2023 06:18 PM)CliftonAve Wrote:  
(01-24-2023 04:17 PM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  In reading a few other threads, some comments got me thinking about the demographic tendencies of college athletic programs. To what extent do land grants and universities like Fresno St who lean towards more agricultural specialties tend to draw more rural conservative fans? It’s been my observation that interest in collegiate athletics is slipping among the liberal and urban crowd (urban centers are more pro sports focused, the wealthy left tends to be more interested in soccer/lacrosse etc if they have any sports interest at all).

Ohio is an exception as the land grant and flagship are one and the same and the Buckeyes draw from all demographics. What’s been your observation in your state/conference?

If schools who draw more heavily from blue America are losing support in athletics could this be good news for programs whose fan base leans right?

Keep it civil folks. I’m only interested in how demographics play into college sports, not the merits of political ideologies.

I think there are other lines to draw and it’s not quite easy to pigeon hole fan bases of schools into one bucket. To use my alma mater as an example, I am guessing most alumni and fans of UC over the age of 50 lean conservative. Most alumni under 40 are far to the left. I suspect Ohio State is fairly similar.

Miami of Ohio and XU alums tend to very conservative.


Ohio State is fairly similar with a bit more urban/rural aspect too. You see the flags in Columbus very left leaning areas and in the country side in very right leaning on game days. The school itself is quiete left leaning, but your try to avoid that in sports boards.
(This post was last modified: 01-25-2023 08:59 AM by ohio1317.)
01-25-2023 08:57 AM
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Post: #32
RE: Demographics of Fandom
(01-25-2023 07:12 AM)Gitanole Wrote:  Have you noticed that stadium designs have grown increasingly more stratified by class?

Go back to the 1970s and 1980s and everyone not in the press box sits out in the stadium seating. The haves are distinguished from the have-nots by the yard line their seats face. You can see this egalitarian arrangement in the film 'Black Sunday,' in which even the US president sits outside on stadium seats to watch the Super Bowl.

Now there's the press box, a steadily growing number of luxury sky boxes, and special court section for VIPs in addition to the stadium seating.

Modern football stadiums are increasingly coming to resemble 19th-century European opera houses, with special luxury boxes for the nobility. The well-to-do attend the event as much to be seen as to see, elevated above the common level.

If student attendance is down, might one reason be because it's all too obvious to students at the stadium where they rate in the fandom social order at their own school? Students who watch games on TV enjoy the same kind of climate control the well-heeled VIPs in stadium sky boxes do, while enjoying the same HD video detail they'd get in person from the stadium scoreboard.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Box_(theatre)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxury_box

Sounds like the Astrodome in '65 and horserace venues before that.

Money talks.

If Money says they will pay more for a certain type of experience, then Owners may very well say "Oh? We'll take your money"...
01-25-2023 08:59 AM
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bill dazzle Offline
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Post: #33
RE: Demographics of Fandom
(01-25-2023 12:09 AM)DawgNBama Wrote:  
(01-24-2023 05:16 PM)bill dazzle Wrote:  This is a topic that has fascinated me since the 1970s, and I commend Fighting Muskie for starting the thread (and asking that we keep it civil).

I have noticed on this board (started reading it in 2011) multiple comments and observations that, for example, suggested the posters failed to consider (merely by circumstance and not with malice or intent) the average black fan of college sports. It is why I have, in multiple posts, noted the significance of the Memphis Tiger black fan base and the Belmont Bruin white fan base — as I feel awareness of these dynamics is important. No doubt, "demographics in college sports fandom" are worthy of consideration and polite discussion.

In general, I would characterize the "average" college football fan as being more male than female, white than any other race, conservative rather than liberal, suburban/rural than urban, and mainstream than non-mainstream. Obviously, there are MANY exceptions to this rule — including with a decent number of posters on this board.

Men's college basketball might be a bit different from football in that the sport seemingly draws more female fans and fans of color. However, I could easily be wrong on that.

I strongly feel demographic shifts are at least partly influential related to 21st century fandom and have witnessed this first-hand with Vanderbilt football, which has developed a significant black fan base within a mere 12-year period. When James Franklin began his tenure as coach in 2011, the transition was quick. That was also the time that the late David Williams (African America) was AD.

I'm not so sure about that Bill Dazzle, but I will do my best to keep this civil. Go to any neighborhood in the state of Alabama that has few Latinos/Latinas, and you will find Alabama & Auburn fans of all races. The Latino/Latina population in the state hasn't completely embraced Alabama and/or Auburn yet, but that is changing. I used to find more Latinos/Latinas that were fans of the Mexican soccer team than were fans of the local football teams, but now I am seeing more of an even split, if not the popularity of the Mexican soccer team fading!! Troy has fans of all colors as well. Only Samford, aka SAM, has a predominantly white fan/alumni base, that I have noticed. Alabama A&M & Alabama State have predominantly black fan/alumni bases, but because they are HBCU's, that is understandable.
In the state of Georgia, the University of Georgia carries the state with fans of all races. In Georgia, the colors are red & black, not black or white 03-wink Auburn, and to a much lesser extent Georgia Tech and GaSo, does have some pull in the state as well. I'm guessing Mercer & Emory have predominantly white fan/alumni bases. Of course, Albany, Ft. Valley State, Savanah State, etc. have predominantly black fan/alumni bases, but like Alabama A&M and Alabama State, completely understandable.

Interesting info, Dawg. And your point is noteworthy in that many college football and hoops fan bases are becoming more diverse.

When I watch SEC football games on TV, I particularly take note of the video shots of the crowd. And during the past 10 to 15 years, the diversity (black, Asian, Latino, etc.) has increased significantly. Georgia, Florida and LSU, in particular, offer a good bit of diversity. Even Tennessee now sports some respectable diversity (which was non-existent not that long ago).

Samford is the Birmingham equivalent of Belmont in Nashville: both have very white fan bases. However, Belmont is seeing some change with that (though the transition has been slow).

HBCU Tennessee State (here in Nashville) has a few more non-black fans (including me) than folks might realize. Some of that can be attributed to the fact that TSU plays football in our downtown Nissan Stadium (making the program more visible than otherwise) and that TSU has a downtown building for classes and staff offices (the Avon Williams Campus).

04-cheers
01-25-2023 09:02 AM
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Frank the Tank Offline
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Post: #34
RE: Demographics of Fandom
(01-25-2023 02:01 AM)SoCalBobcat78 Wrote:  
(01-24-2023 04:17 PM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  In reading a few other threads, some comments got me thinking about the demographic tendencies of college athletic programs. To what extent do land grants and universities like Fresno St who lean towards more agricultural specialties tend to draw more rural conservative fans? It’s been my observation that interest in collegiate athletics is slipping among the liberal and urban crowd (urban centers are more pro sports focused, the wealthy left tends to be more interested in soccer/lacrosse etc if they have any sports interest at all).

If schools who draw more heavily from blue America are losing support in athletics could this be good news for programs whose fan base leans right?

Define wealthy? If you go to SoFi Stadium, for example, a large percentage of the people that sit in the best seats have a lot of money. They like football. If they cannot get to the game, they give the tickets away to a family member or friend. I have a good friend who owns a post-Production facility in Hollywood and loves sports. He has season tickets to the Dodgers, Lakers, Kings, Chargers, and Rams. He gives many of the tickets to clients and employees and goes to the games he wants to see. He likes to watch sports, play golf and make money. He does not have time for politics and most people that make money don't, other than wanting lower taxes.

There is a myth about people that live in urban areas; that they don't like football, or just like pro sports, or just like soccer/lacrosse, or don't like sports at all. I never see it here in Southern California. Most urban areas have a wide variety of things to do, and college athletics is just one of them.

Agreed. I said in another thread that I'm always perplexed by people that talk as if there's some type of dichotomy between pro and college sports fans or that people in urban areas have "too many other things to do". I watch the Illini, Bears, Bulls, White Sox and Blackhawks with intense interest, even watch most Cubs games on top of it, and watch the major NFL and college football games along with the postseason and major tournaments for sports across the board because I simply love sports. I also still manage to spend quality time with my family, go the symphony, musicals and museums and all of the other cultural activities here, etc. People (or at least most people) aren't one note, whether they live in an urban or rural area.

I also think that people mistakenly conflate when there is more interest in a particular sport in a particular region *relative* to the rest of the country with more *outright* interest in a sport compared to others. As someone else alluded to, Seattle has arguably the best MLS fan base in the country... yet it's also a rabid NFL fan base and has great interest in college sports for being a large pro sports market. The NHL is rarely more outright popular compared to the NBA in any US market that has teams in both leagues (save for maybe Minneapolis and Detroit), but it's just more noticeable when a market has a particularly strong hockey fan base because that's not the norm *relative* to everywhere else nationally (and then we perceive that a market has more hockey fans than basketball fans outright even though that's virtually never the case when you look at the overall numbers).

Similarly, just because a market has more interest in pro sports compared to college sports doesn't mean that such market has *no* interest in college sports. A small slice of a market like NYC or LA is still a much more massive amount of people than all of the people in Birmingham and Columbus. On the flip side, even though Birmingham and Columbus are consistently the top 2 TV markets in the country for college football... they still watch the NFL in greater numbers on average. Even the best college football markets still watch the NFL more than everything else. (That goes back to my point about people often mistakenly conflate "relative interest" with "outright interest".)
(This post was last modified: 01-25-2023 09:29 AM by Frank the Tank.)
01-25-2023 09:27 AM
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Fighting Muskie Offline
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Post: #35
RE: Demographics of Fandom
(01-25-2023 08:07 AM)Bronco14 Wrote:  
(01-24-2023 04:45 PM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  
(01-24-2023 04:22 PM)Bronco14 Wrote:  I don’t think there’s a connection between political affiliation, no. Maybe for soccer (liberal) & baseball (conservative). Other sports not as much, not even pro & collegiate football.

Yes, it’s hard for college sports to crack pro sports markets, but many college powers aren’t in pro sports cities.

Colleges in rural areas are still dominated by the Left institutionally & recruit heavy from the big cities.

I'd push back that there's a connection, too.

Even in your baseball example, the top MLB markets consistently include NYC, Chicago and Boston and those are quite liberal areas. (To the extent that there's a "conservative" sport, it's NASCAR.)

The Big Ten just signed the largest TV deal of any college conference in history and its power is largely based on its presence in super-blue markets like NYC, LA, Chicago, DC and Philadelphia. Most of the Big Ten schools (such as Michigan and Wisconsin) are way to the left for public universities even by normal academia standards (which is already liberal leaning). The vast majority of students at the Big Ten schools aren't from rural areas at all, but rather large urban and suburban areas (even the more rural flagships like Iowa).

So, the wealthiest conference is a glaring counter-example that college fandom doesn't have much to do with political affiliation.

Now, the fact that young people don't watch much or any linear TV in general is the demographic issue that is much more concerning if you're either a TV network or a supplier of programming to TV networks (which includes sports leagues).

Right but people in rural areas are still UMichigan fans, Badger fans, Buckeyes, etc. Just b/c they live in the middle of nowhere, that doesn't mean they don't support the college teams. These people know the schools are deep Blue but support the athletic teams anyways b/c if you live in Michigan, you're a Wolverine, etc.

But what does the Mich St fanbase look like? If I had to guess, it’s a little more rural and conservative.

A program like Michigan is a bad one to use. They are a super-program that’s going to attract from all walks of life because they are historically successful. Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ohio St are similarly tricky because they are the lone big time program in their states (no offense fellow Bearcat fans).
01-25-2023 10:39 AM
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Frank the Tank Offline
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Post: #36
RE: Demographics of Fandom
(01-25-2023 10:39 AM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  
(01-25-2023 08:07 AM)Bronco14 Wrote:  
(01-24-2023 04:45 PM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  
(01-24-2023 04:22 PM)Bronco14 Wrote:  I don’t think there’s a connection between political affiliation, no. Maybe for soccer (liberal) & baseball (conservative). Other sports not as much, not even pro & collegiate football.

Yes, it’s hard for college sports to crack pro sports markets, but many college powers aren’t in pro sports cities.

Colleges in rural areas are still dominated by the Left institutionally & recruit heavy from the big cities.

I'd push back that there's a connection, too.

Even in your baseball example, the top MLB markets consistently include NYC, Chicago and Boston and those are quite liberal areas. (To the extent that there's a "conservative" sport, it's NASCAR.)

The Big Ten just signed the largest TV deal of any college conference in history and its power is largely based on its presence in super-blue markets like NYC, LA, Chicago, DC and Philadelphia. Most of the Big Ten schools (such as Michigan and Wisconsin) are way to the left for public universities even by normal academia standards (which is already liberal leaning). The vast majority of students at the Big Ten schools aren't from rural areas at all, but rather large urban and suburban areas (even the more rural flagships like Iowa).

So, the wealthiest conference is a glaring counter-example that college fandom doesn't have much to do with political affiliation.

Now, the fact that young people don't watch much or any linear TV in general is the demographic issue that is much more concerning if you're either a TV network or a supplier of programming to TV networks (which includes sports leagues).

Right but people in rural areas are still UMichigan fans, Badger fans, Buckeyes, etc. Just b/c they live in the middle of nowhere, that doesn't mean they don't support the college teams. These people know the schools are deep Blue but support the athletic teams anyways b/c if you live in Michigan, you're a Wolverine, etc.

But what does the Mich St fanbase look like? If I had to guess, it’s a little more rural and conservative.

A program like Michigan is a bad one to use. They are a super-program that’s going to attract from all walks of life because they are historically successful. Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ohio St are similarly tricky because they are the lone big time program in their states (no offense fellow Bearcat fans).

FWIW, Michigan State alums are as ubiquitous in the Chicago area as any other Big Ten fan base. In fact, for whatever reason, a disproportionate number of Chicago bars in the most trendy urban neighborhoods (such as Lincoln Park and Wrigleyville) are owned by Michigan State people. These are probably the most purely urban and liberal neighborhoods in the entire country outside of New York City and San Francisco.
(This post was last modified: 01-25-2023 10:51 AM by Frank the Tank.)
01-25-2023 10:48 AM
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sctvman Offline
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Post: #37
RE: Demographics of Fandom
Living in the Charleston metro area it is very divided among politics based on which team is most popular.

South Carolina's fan base generally has more minorities than anyone else. They also have more middle-class fans than anyone else. Clemson has the more bandwagony fan base. With Clemson's admission standards going up, a larger chunk of folks couldn't think about getting in now.

College of Charleston is more WASP liberal because of the downtown fan base. You do see a lot of minorities (especially Black) in the student section as basketball games are one of the only main gathering places they can hang out. You see a lot of private school sweatshirts in the crowd. There are also conservatives, but far less prevalent.

The Citadel and Charleston Southern are almost entirely right-wing conservatives, with Citadel fans mostly 55+ alums. Basketball leans even older than that.

The other major fan bases here, Ohio State, Michigan, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, the NC schools and West Virginia generally lean toward non-alums, especially the first 5. A large chunk of people who move here from OH and MI just latch on to the Buckeyes and Wolverines even if they have never stepped foot on either campus.
01-25-2023 11:05 AM
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Post: #38
RE: Demographics of Fandom
(01-25-2023 07:12 AM)Gitanole Wrote:  Have you noticed that stadium designs have grown increasingly more stratified by class?

Go back to the 1970s and 1980s and everyone not in the press box sits out in the stadium seating. The haves are distinguished from the have-nots by the yard line their seats face. You can see this egalitarian arrangement in the film 'Black Sunday,' in which even the US president sits outside on stadium seats to watch the Super Bowl.

Now there's the press box, a steadily growing number of luxury sky boxes, and special court section for VIPs in addition to the stadium seating.

Modern football stadiums are increasingly coming to resemble 19th-century European opera houses, with special luxury boxes for the nobility. The well-to-do attend the event as much to be seen as to see, elevated above the common level.

If student attendance is down, might one reason be because it's all too obvious to students at the stadium where they rate in the fandom social order at their own school? Students who watch games on TV enjoy the same kind of climate control the well-heeled VIPs in stadium sky boxes do, while enjoying the same HD video detail they'd get in person from the stadium scoreboard.

No.

Now the rising prices and stratification are definitely a factor for older fans.
01-25-2023 12:06 PM
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Post: #39
RE: Demographics of Fandom
(01-25-2023 09:27 AM)Frank the Tank Wrote:  
(01-25-2023 02:01 AM)SoCalBobcat78 Wrote:  
(01-24-2023 04:17 PM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  In reading a few other threads, some comments got me thinking about the demographic tendencies of college athletic programs. To what extent do land grants and universities like Fresno St who lean towards more agricultural specialties tend to draw more rural conservative fans? It’s been my observation that interest in collegiate athletics is slipping among the liberal and urban crowd (urban centers are more pro sports focused, the wealthy left tends to be more interested in soccer/lacrosse etc if they have any sports interest at all).

If schools who draw more heavily from blue America are losing support in athletics could this be good news for programs whose fan base leans right?

Define wealthy? If you go to SoFi Stadium, for example, a large percentage of the people that sit in the best seats have a lot of money. They like football. If they cannot get to the game, they give the tickets away to a family member or friend. I have a good friend who owns a post-Production facility in Hollywood and loves sports. He has season tickets to the Dodgers, Lakers, Kings, Chargers, and Rams. He gives many of the tickets to clients and employees and goes to the games he wants to see. He likes to watch sports, play golf and make money. He does not have time for politics and most people that make money don't, other than wanting lower taxes.

There is a myth about people that live in urban areas; that they don't like football, or just like pro sports, or just like soccer/lacrosse, or don't like sports at all. I never see it here in Southern California. Most urban areas have a wide variety of things to do, and college athletics is just one of them.

Agreed. I said in another thread that I'm always perplexed by people that talk as if there's some type of dichotomy between pro and college sports fans or that people in urban areas have "too many other things to do". I watch the Illini, Bears, Bulls, White Sox and Blackhawks with intense interest, even watch most Cubs games on top of it, and watch the major NFL and college football games along with the postseason and major tournaments for sports across the board because I simply love sports. I also still manage to spend quality time with my family, go the symphony, musicals and museums and all of the other cultural activities here, etc. People (or at least most people) aren't one note, whether they live in an urban or rural area.

I also think that people mistakenly conflate when there is more interest in a particular sport in a particular region *relative* to the rest of the country with more *outright* interest in a sport compared to others. As someone else alluded to, Seattle has arguably the best MLS fan base in the country... yet it's also a rabid NFL fan base and has great interest in college sports for being a large pro sports market. The NHL is rarely more outright popular compared to the NBA in any US market that has teams in both leagues (save for maybe Minneapolis and Detroit), but it's just more noticeable when a market has a particularly strong hockey fan base because that's not the norm *relative* to everywhere else nationally (and then we perceive that a market has more hockey fans than basketball fans outright even though that's virtually never the case when you look at the overall numbers).

Similarly, just because a market has more interest in pro sports compared to college sports doesn't mean that such market has *no* interest in college sports. A small slice of a market like NYC or LA is still a much more massive amount of people than all of the people in Birmingham and Columbus. On the flip side, even though Birmingham and Columbus are consistently the top 2 TV markets in the country for college football... they still watch the NFL in greater numbers on average. Even the best college football markets still watch the NFL more than everything else. (That goes back to my point about people often mistakenly conflate "relative interest" with "outright interest".)

The NFL has definitely crowded out the colleges in some places. Minnesota in the Big 10 for example. Rice used to fill their 70,000 seat stadium in Houston. SMU filled the Cotton Bowl in the 50s. Georgia Tech downsized their stadium. Schools like Michigan and Washington are exceptions, where they still have really good fan support despite being in a pro market. USC would fill a Memorial Stadium if they were in Fresno. Miami fans are very hot and cold and draws poorly relative to their success. They have averaged in the 20s in mediocre seasons. I don't know Northwestern's history, but I'd be surprised if they didn't draw better in the 40s and 50s before the NFL got big.
01-25-2023 12:13 PM
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Post: #40
RE: Demographics of Fandom
The "rural" fans in many places are the "pro" sports fans. The University of Texas feels like Austin's "pro" team with the nature of the fan base.
01-25-2023 12:14 PM
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