The FanSided Fandom 250 doesn’t have the true pulse of Cleveland’s most passionate fan bases.
The FanSided Fandom 250 is out, each one of Cleveland’s three professional sports franchises made the list. LeBron James also made it, as did the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The FanSided 250 sough to rank the most most passionate fan bases. Teams, people, brands, characters, shows and films were all considered.
While intriguing, the rankings don’t reflect the true passions of Cleveland, and instead serves more as a popularity contest.
First off, look at how teams relevant to Cleveland fared in the Fandom 250.
No. 8 Ohio State
No. 9 LeBron James
No. 55 Cleveland Cavaliers
No. 173 Cleveland Browns
No. 198 Cleveland Indians
From a local perspective, the Fandom 250 has it all wrong.
Things are bad now, but Cleveland is and forever will be a Browns town. When the Browns are good, there’s just nothing like it.
Few remember, because millennials weren’t a live when Bernie Kosar and company owned the AFC Central.
Just imagine a home playoff game at First Energy Stadium.
Remember how crazy we all went when Rajai Davis hit that game tying homer off Aroldis Chapman in Game 7 of the World Series? That’s how crazy a Wild Card playoff game would be on the north shore for the duration of the contest.
You’ve also got to take into consideration how many times the Factory of Sadness sold out during the Lerner era. The Browns played a lot of bad football from 1999. Only recently, has the stadium started to look bare as fans simply don’t want to waste their time watching the product on the field.
Rather than judging the true passion of the fan bases, the Fandom 250 rankings appear to rank what’s hot now.
Don’t get me wrong. Clevelanders love Ohio State. Northeast Ohio is home to countless numbers of alumni. Buckeye nation might be the most well traveled fan base in college sports. It ain’t cheap to get to Tempe, Arizona, but you better believe the Fiesta Bowl will become The Horshoe west when the Buckeyes battle Clemson in the College Football Playoff.
Additionally, the Buckeyes win. They’ve been to two of the first three College Football Playoffs and they produce players you see on Sundays.
That’s all well and good, but in Cleveland, the pro sports teams come first. That’s why a million people showed up for a parade last June.
Speaking of the Cavs, the Wine & Gold are the hottest ticket in town. Delivering a city it’s first major sports championship since 1964 while boasting the best player in the world has something to do with that.
But it wasn’t that long LeBron James was playing in Miami, and tickets could be had for about $5 from a scalper looking to avoid a total loss.
Sure, now every home game’s an event, and it’s easy to be a passionate fan when you’re team’s vying for a title. But as a fan who came of age during the Brad Daugherty-Mark Price era, I can safely say Cavs fans are not the most passionate fans in Cleveland. Cavs fans are great during the good times, but you won’t find ’em during the rough times.
As for King James, it’s a whole different beast when you start mixing in athletes/brands in with a discussion about passionate fan bases. Lots of people love LeBron. A lot fans don’t like him. He’s polarizing and will continue to be.
He’ll forever reign as King in Cleveland for winning the title, but there are some who still have a salty taste in their mouth over “The Decision.” With that said, James is one of the best basketball players to eve alive, and I think a majority of Clevelanders–even if they still harbor ill will toward James–will admit to this. But are his fans as passionate as Browns fans as whole?
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LBJ is a national brand, but so are the Browns. Go to cities big and small throughout the country, and you’ll find the Browns Backers.
Even the Indians inclusion on this list plays into the popularity contest theory.
This isn’t easy for me to admit, because the Tribe is the team’ I’m most passionate about.
We all remember the packed crowds for the World Series, and that seems to put the Indians into the Fandom 250. It’s a surprise because en route to winning the AL Central, the Indians played in front of a lot of empty green seats and ranked toward the bottom of MLB attendance.
Only 10 MLB teams made the Fandom 250. The Indians were 10th. Kind of crazy to think about, and the club can thank the World Series visit for making it possible.
Like all lists, these opinions are subjective. You’ll never convince me that fans of Rick and Morty (171) and Hamilton (42) are more passionate than the Tribe.
Popularity contest wise, the list nails it, but when measuring the fan bases, the Fandom 250 needs a re-examination.