There has been a ton of talk lately about the status of San Diego sports, and we are hearing it from from sports talk radio to this blog. We hear it because the Chargers want a new stadium, and the Padres fans want a higher payroll. What it is going to take to get the San Diego fan base to more regularly sell our stadium is a conversation topic because of the economic and political ramifications of large stadium projects and the financial viability of franchises.
The media seems overwhelmed by righteous indignation over our lame fans and how we don't sell out games and we "let" opposing teams fans crowd our stadiums. San Diego's fair-weather fans and "got something better to do bro" sports culture is a death trap for profitable and competitive sports franchises and the viability for new stadium projects (see Chargers and Padres AAA affiliate).
Overall I find it to be an unfortunate mischaracterization of the situation we have here in San Diego. Our fans in San Diego are just as good (or better) than those fan in other cities, and it is not the fault of these misguided talking heads that they are wrong.When it comes down to it, San Diego Sports teams are the victim of the city itself. San Diego is a highly desirable destination and very transient. People come here from other places and bring with them their team loyalties. No, I have no fancy stats to back this up, if you are so inclined to do the leg work I know he Census has some awesome statistics on the ebb and flow of populations.
However, if you are lazy as I am about backing up your claims on a blog it's just as easy to figure this out just by taking a look around you.
I will start with the 20 people I interact with most (keep in mind I was born in Riverside and raised in San Diego from age 1 1/2 to 26)
Girlfriend, from Seattle
Girlfriend's roommate, from San Jose
College Buddy, from LA
Co-workers; Georgia, San Fran x2, New York x3, Wisconsin, Boston, San Diego x3, Unknown x3, DC.
High School buddies; San Diego, Minnesota
Out of the top 20 people I know, and I am from San Diego, only 4-7 are from here.
Sure this is anecdotal, but it is what is going on. People go to San Diego Sports events to see their hometown teams play. I know this because, when I lived in DC I went out of my way to watch the Padres play there. I went to other games on occasion because I love baseball. However I didn't spend 30 bucks a ticket and knock over old people trying to hurry through the concessions and make sure I didn't miss a minute.
Lets face it, contrary to popular belief there is *not* much better to do on a sunny San Diego day than to watch a ballgame with friends. There are just as many hotties at PetCo as there is PB, and just as much sunshine. Our Museums are expensive and crappy compared to other places, Sea World and the Zoo are overpriced, our malls and movie theaters are the same as anyplace else. After a game you can crawl right into nightlife downtown (and it's San Diego, no one is going to fault you for not dressing up).
As long as our owners and front office continue to improve the product on the field, keep tickets affordable, work on SD branding, and continue to improve access and parking, PetCo is going to have sellouts and season ticket holders a plenty. They just need to make coming to the park a valuable experience to the hundreds of thousands of non-natives who may have loyalty to other ballclubs.
Until San Diego is a place where people who grow up here can afford to stay here, it's never going to be St. Louis, Atlanta, Boston, or New York... And really who wants it to be? If becoming a major high payroll sports franchise means losing our loveable scrappers who whoop ass! I. Do. Not. Want.