Utah is a marginal college football and NBA state. BYU, Utah and the Jazz are the extent of it. There are Bronco, Raiders and 49er fans. MLB and NHL are basically non-existent. People attend the AAA Bees games if there are fireworks afterwards. It is a typical small-market town.
So how do real sports fans in these areas select their teams? They elect traditional winners, big spending or big market teams. There are a ton of day-of-the-game fans of the Yankees, Red Sox, Cowboys, Patriots, Steelers, Packers.
You have to have a real reason to be a fan of a non-local team. You had better have a good story if you are a Yankee fan living in Utah: grew up back there, dad and grandpa were Yankee fans, etc.
How come there are no Royals or Rangers fans? No Texans or Lions fans? Because most people are bandwagon fans -- occasional fans that get involved if "their" team is doing well.
It is too painful to be a fan of teams that rarely make it beyond .500. I sit alone for most of my teams, not all.
On the good side, I am a fan of the Buckeyes and the Utes. I grew up in Columbus; spent every fall Saturday either watching or attending Buckeye games. I am a University of Utah graduate.
I love baseball. I listen to games on MLB.com all season long -- $15 for a full year's worth of all the games via local radio streams. I am a Reds fan. I grew up in Ohio during the 70s and the Big Red Machine. The Reds have not done anything since 1990. I also like the Twins (lived in Minnesota for five years) in the AL. I have a casual interest in the Indians, Cardinals, Rangers and Rockies (having lived in those towns) when they are not playing the Reds or Twins.
In the NFL, I am a Browns fan. I do not like the Bengals or the Broncos. I detest the Steelers. Being a Browns fan is very tough. They have never played in a Super Bowl. They always lose more than they win. When I was 10, I won a candy bar selling contest, selling the most bars on our football team. The prize? A trip and ticket to the Browns-Oilers game in Cleveland. I also like the Vikings in the NFC (four Super Bowls, four losses). I dislike the Packers.
I am not a big NBA fan, but pull for the Jazz. I might use free tickets, but I might not.
I am a big NHL fan, one of ten in Utah. Growing up in Ohio, we did not have an NHL team. I became a Red Wings fan (big Gordie Howe fan). I also like the Bruins (a Bobby Orr fan) in the Eastern Conference.
Finally, I like soccer. I follow FIFA World Cup from the qualifications through the tournament. I follow the UEFA Champions League. I follow La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and the Scottish Premier League. I live for the English Premier League. And specifically, my personal emotions are a direct result of how well Liverpool performs (right now, not very well). I have a tough time with MLS, but don't dislike it. I will listen to and pull for RSL.
BTW, I do follow Aussie rules football (a St. Kilda fan who dominated this year but lost to Geelong in the Grand Final) as well as rugby and cricket when they are getting ready and playing their respective world cups. I like to golf but rarely watch it on TV. I am not an auto racing fan of any type, nothing against those that do, just does not interest me. I will follow the occasional cycling event like the Tour de France, but have lost interest over the years.
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