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San Diego as sports fans' city: so-so

Not just cold-weather places push this town to 22nd place

One of the considerations in the stadium-subsidy brouhaha is seldom on the table: how enthusiastic a sports-fan city is San Diego? It's well known that outdoor participation sports such as golfing, surfing, and hiking often slash attendance at spectator sports events.

According to WalletHub, a statistical aggregator that considers demographic traits of cities, metro areas, and states, San Diego is mediocre, at best, as a sports-fan city. Out of 58 large cities (300,000 population or more), San Diego ranks 22nd, and most of the cities ranking lower are much smaller cities.

In order, here are the large cities that top San Diego as sports havens: Denver, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Chicago, New York, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Detroit, St. Louis, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, Cleveland, Miami, Houston, Columbus (Ohio), Oakland, San Francisco, Nashville, and Seattle. Of truly big cities, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Charlotte, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Phoenix lag San Diego as a sports-fan haven.

San Diego's interest in football and baseball ranks fairly high, but basketball, hockey, and soccer rank low among cities. One of the scholars participating in the study said, "I say this as a big sports fan. Publicly-funded sports stadiums are almost always a terrible decision from a fiscal standpoint for communities."

Another professor said, "Being completely irrational is what makes a good sports fan, or at least a loyal one."

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20

Some of those positions aren't what I would have predicted. I wonder about LA having such a high position. Seeing Baltimore and Milwaukee ranked low was a surprise. With the fact that so many San Diegans are ga-ga over the Chargers and have been for so long, I'd hate to live in any of those top five or six cities.

Sept. 8, 2015

" San Diego is mediocre" says it all and applies to more than just sports teams.

Sept. 8, 2015

AlexClarke: San Diego's leaders keep saying that the city is the nation's eighth largest. That doesn't mean a thing. But it sets citizens' expectations too high. So mediocrity stings. San Diego County is the 17th largest metro area and something like the 26th largest media market (don't hold me to that.) Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 8, 2015

Visduh: Remember, each city was ranked on five sports -- football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer. Baltimore had very low rankings in basketball and hockey. Kansas City was quite low in basketball and hockey. Milwaukee was quite low in football (despite Green Bay being in the same state) and hockey (despite the cold weather there.)

You can see the pattern there: if there is a pro team located in the city, it will generally rank at least fairly high in that sport. Or a university town with high-profile teams in several sports pushes a city high. Examples: East Lansing and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 8, 2015

One time I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.

Sept. 9, 2015

AlexClarke: It is obvious to me that hockey referees let the fights go on because they are crowd-pleasers. The folks in the seats get their violence. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 9, 2015

The methodology for the compilation of data from the Sports Media Consumption Report was clear but the methodology for the source data was not clear at all. There was a link to a flashy report with a lot of nice USA-today type graphics about US viewing habits without much information on how exactly the data were collected.

It seemed to me the Sports Media Consumption Report was more concerned with the media viewing patterns - online vs TV vs mobile vs radio, etc - of viewers than comparing cities.

Sept. 9, 2015

ImJustABill: All these WalletHub reports can be criticized for something. But I believe WalletHub reports are generally valid. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 9, 2015

I'm not necessarily criticizing the report or question the facts. People often quote the Mark Twain line about lies and statistics. I think the Mark Twain line itself is a bit of a lie - most reported statistics are correct (unless they come from KOGO weekend hosts of course). But I think it's important to understand what the statistics really mean. I was trying to understand what the WalletHub report meant so I clicked link after link hoping to find the direct trail from raw data to conclusion. I'm sure it's there somewhere but it's difficult to find.

I also like to find the exact questions asked of study participants, or survey methods, in order to understand polls and data. I wasn't able to find that information either.

I definitely agree the WalletHub reports are valid data and information but in this case I'm not exactly sure I understand what the data are and what they mean.

Sept. 10, 2015

ImJustABill: I have read a number of WalletHub reports. This one was admittedly short on explanation of the methodology. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 10, 2015

Any word on whether the Chargers will committing to the Mission Valley site per San Diego's proposal - in order to meet San Diego's upcoming Sept 11 deadline - in order for a Jan 12, 2016 special election to be held?

About the same as a snowball's chance in you-know-where?

Sept. 9, 2015

ImJustABill: The Chargers are putting all their chips on L.A. For years, they said they wanted to stay in San Diego. It was a lie. Beginning in 2002, I wrote that the Chargers were going down two tracks. They preferred LA, but wanted to keep San Diego in their back pockets in case they didn't make LA.

Now, they are saying they want LA and are deliberately alienating San Diego. To me, this means they have something else in their pocket if they can't get LA. Could be St. Louis, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Portland (Ore.,) London. Could involve selling half or all the team. There is some back-pocket commitment that explains their hubris. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 9, 2015

In recent months Mark Fabiani (MF) has been openly hostile to San Diego's leadership despite some rather generous corporate welfare offers from the San Diego task force. MF has made it quite clear the Chargers prefer LA to SD. It seems at this point the Chargers want to get out of SD as quickly as possible.

Sept. 9, 2015

ImJustABill: There is absolutely no question about it: the Chargers want out of town, and they have been so inclined since at least 2002 and probably before that. This claim that they were spending so much time and effort figuring how to stay in San Diego is poppycock. All those planned locations (Oceanside, Chula Vista, etc.) that the team claimed it spent so much money on were phony as a three dollar bill. They didn't spend serious money and were not serious about any of those locations.

San Diegans also have to face the fact that if one or two teams relocate to LA, and one of them is not the Chargers, any team occupying the San Diego market will lose 15 to 25 percent of its audience. This will make San Diego a much less desirable market for the Chargers or some other team (say, Jacksonville).

I hate to say it, but San Diego is increasingly considered a suburb of LA. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 9, 2015

Supposedly Roger Goodell has said there will not be 3 teams in Southern California under any scenario.

Moving to LA will instantly increase the Chargers' valuation by at least $1B - probably more. Even with a very generous taxpayer-funded corporate welfare check to help build a stadium in San Diego - even downtown - I don't think they can get that increase in valuation here in SD.

Sept. 10, 2015

ImJustABill: I never heard or read that Goodell said there will not be three teams in Southern California under any scenario. If he said that, and if he still has clout with the 32 owners who will make the decision, the Chargers would be leaving San Diego if two teams occupy LA. If the Chargers remain in San Diego (very doubtful), there would be only one team going to LA. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 10, 2015

I've heard the comment repeated on XTRA 1360 AM's "Loose Cannons" show many times. But I haven't been able to find it in print or online anywhere.

Sept. 10, 2015

ImJustABill: I am not questioning that Goodell made the remark. I just haven't heard or read it. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 10, 2015

We just have too much going on in San Diego to obsess over professional sports. I've said it before, and I'll say it again... "real sports fans" need to move to any one of a huge number of "real sports cities", because that ain't San Diego. Sure, we'll watch a game and have fun... but there's lots to do before, after, or instead of, and we just can't get that worked up.

Sept. 9, 2015

jnojr: Yes, in this instance, San Diego is not a great location for spectator sports. There is simply too much to do -- sailing, swimming, surfing, golfing, lolling on the beach, hiking -- that is preferable to watching sports, either in a stadium or on TV. The big pro sports markets have lousy weather.

This applies to Los Angeles, too. That's why it's possible that, initially, only one team will move into the LA market. A smart owner will study the poor attendance of both the Rams and Raiders before their mid-1990s departure. That will be sobering. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 9, 2015

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One of the considerations in the stadium-subsidy brouhaha is seldom on the table: how enthusiastic a sports-fan city is San Diego? It's well known that outdoor participation sports such as golfing, surfing, and hiking often slash attendance at spectator sports events.

According to WalletHub, a statistical aggregator that considers demographic traits of cities, metro areas, and states, San Diego is mediocre, at best, as a sports-fan city. Out of 58 large cities (300,000 population or more), San Diego ranks 22nd, and most of the cities ranking lower are much smaller cities.

In order, here are the large cities that top San Diego as sports havens: Denver, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Chicago, New York, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Detroit, St. Louis, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, Cleveland, Miami, Houston, Columbus (Ohio), Oakland, San Francisco, Nashville, and Seattle. Of truly big cities, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Charlotte, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Phoenix lag San Diego as a sports-fan haven.

San Diego's interest in football and baseball ranks fairly high, but basketball, hockey, and soccer rank low among cities. One of the scholars participating in the study said, "I say this as a big sports fan. Publicly-funded sports stadiums are almost always a terrible decision from a fiscal standpoint for communities."

Another professor said, "Being completely irrational is what makes a good sports fan, or at least a loyal one."

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20

Some of those positions aren't what I would have predicted. I wonder about LA having such a high position. Seeing Baltimore and Milwaukee ranked low was a surprise. With the fact that so many San Diegans are ga-ga over the Chargers and have been for so long, I'd hate to live in any of those top five or six cities.

Sept. 8, 2015

" San Diego is mediocre" says it all and applies to more than just sports teams.

Sept. 8, 2015

AlexClarke: San Diego's leaders keep saying that the city is the nation's eighth largest. That doesn't mean a thing. But it sets citizens' expectations too high. So mediocrity stings. San Diego County is the 17th largest metro area and something like the 26th largest media market (don't hold me to that.) Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 8, 2015

Visduh: Remember, each city was ranked on five sports -- football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer. Baltimore had very low rankings in basketball and hockey. Kansas City was quite low in basketball and hockey. Milwaukee was quite low in football (despite Green Bay being in the same state) and hockey (despite the cold weather there.)

You can see the pattern there: if there is a pro team located in the city, it will generally rank at least fairly high in that sport. Or a university town with high-profile teams in several sports pushes a city high. Examples: East Lansing and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 8, 2015

One time I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.

Sept. 9, 2015

AlexClarke: It is obvious to me that hockey referees let the fights go on because they are crowd-pleasers. The folks in the seats get their violence. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 9, 2015

The methodology for the compilation of data from the Sports Media Consumption Report was clear but the methodology for the source data was not clear at all. There was a link to a flashy report with a lot of nice USA-today type graphics about US viewing habits without much information on how exactly the data were collected.

It seemed to me the Sports Media Consumption Report was more concerned with the media viewing patterns - online vs TV vs mobile vs radio, etc - of viewers than comparing cities.

Sept. 9, 2015

ImJustABill: All these WalletHub reports can be criticized for something. But I believe WalletHub reports are generally valid. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 9, 2015

I'm not necessarily criticizing the report or question the facts. People often quote the Mark Twain line about lies and statistics. I think the Mark Twain line itself is a bit of a lie - most reported statistics are correct (unless they come from KOGO weekend hosts of course). But I think it's important to understand what the statistics really mean. I was trying to understand what the WalletHub report meant so I clicked link after link hoping to find the direct trail from raw data to conclusion. I'm sure it's there somewhere but it's difficult to find.

I also like to find the exact questions asked of study participants, or survey methods, in order to understand polls and data. I wasn't able to find that information either.

I definitely agree the WalletHub reports are valid data and information but in this case I'm not exactly sure I understand what the data are and what they mean.

Sept. 10, 2015

ImJustABill: I have read a number of WalletHub reports. This one was admittedly short on explanation of the methodology. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 10, 2015

Any word on whether the Chargers will committing to the Mission Valley site per San Diego's proposal - in order to meet San Diego's upcoming Sept 11 deadline - in order for a Jan 12, 2016 special election to be held?

About the same as a snowball's chance in you-know-where?

Sept. 9, 2015

ImJustABill: The Chargers are putting all their chips on L.A. For years, they said they wanted to stay in San Diego. It was a lie. Beginning in 2002, I wrote that the Chargers were going down two tracks. They preferred LA, but wanted to keep San Diego in their back pockets in case they didn't make LA.

Now, they are saying they want LA and are deliberately alienating San Diego. To me, this means they have something else in their pocket if they can't get LA. Could be St. Louis, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Portland (Ore.,) London. Could involve selling half or all the team. There is some back-pocket commitment that explains their hubris. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 9, 2015

In recent months Mark Fabiani (MF) has been openly hostile to San Diego's leadership despite some rather generous corporate welfare offers from the San Diego task force. MF has made it quite clear the Chargers prefer LA to SD. It seems at this point the Chargers want to get out of SD as quickly as possible.

Sept. 9, 2015

ImJustABill: There is absolutely no question about it: the Chargers want out of town, and they have been so inclined since at least 2002 and probably before that. This claim that they were spending so much time and effort figuring how to stay in San Diego is poppycock. All those planned locations (Oceanside, Chula Vista, etc.) that the team claimed it spent so much money on were phony as a three dollar bill. They didn't spend serious money and were not serious about any of those locations.

San Diegans also have to face the fact that if one or two teams relocate to LA, and one of them is not the Chargers, any team occupying the San Diego market will lose 15 to 25 percent of its audience. This will make San Diego a much less desirable market for the Chargers or some other team (say, Jacksonville).

I hate to say it, but San Diego is increasingly considered a suburb of LA. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 9, 2015

Supposedly Roger Goodell has said there will not be 3 teams in Southern California under any scenario.

Moving to LA will instantly increase the Chargers' valuation by at least $1B - probably more. Even with a very generous taxpayer-funded corporate welfare check to help build a stadium in San Diego - even downtown - I don't think they can get that increase in valuation here in SD.

Sept. 10, 2015

ImJustABill: I never heard or read that Goodell said there will not be three teams in Southern California under any scenario. If he said that, and if he still has clout with the 32 owners who will make the decision, the Chargers would be leaving San Diego if two teams occupy LA. If the Chargers remain in San Diego (very doubtful), there would be only one team going to LA. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 10, 2015

I've heard the comment repeated on XTRA 1360 AM's "Loose Cannons" show many times. But I haven't been able to find it in print or online anywhere.

Sept. 10, 2015

ImJustABill: I am not questioning that Goodell made the remark. I just haven't heard or read it. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 10, 2015

We just have too much going on in San Diego to obsess over professional sports. I've said it before, and I'll say it again... "real sports fans" need to move to any one of a huge number of "real sports cities", because that ain't San Diego. Sure, we'll watch a game and have fun... but there's lots to do before, after, or instead of, and we just can't get that worked up.

Sept. 9, 2015

jnojr: Yes, in this instance, San Diego is not a great location for spectator sports. There is simply too much to do -- sailing, swimming, surfing, golfing, lolling on the beach, hiking -- that is preferable to watching sports, either in a stadium or on TV. The big pro sports markets have lousy weather.

This applies to Los Angeles, too. That's why it's possible that, initially, only one team will move into the LA market. A smart owner will study the poor attendance of both the Rams and Raiders before their mid-1990s departure. That will be sobering. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 9, 2015

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