General Question

jlm11f's avatar

What factors do you take into consideration before choosing the sports teams you will root for?

Asked by jlm11f (12416points) May 14th, 2010

I’m looking for answers OTHER than “Oh I support so and so because I’ve lived in that town my whole life” or “cause my parents support it” etc. Do you rationally look through teams, compare some stats, see their playing history etc? If you did that, would you choose the team with the best stats? I’m looking to get an insight to your choosing process here.

For those who might feel that it’s not something they’ve ever thought about since they automatically supported what they were “born into,” what about sports that might not be as popular in your country? For example, Americans that follow soccer, how did you choose your team of choice?

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28 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Whether or not they are the Yankees or the Chicago Cubs.

marinelife's avatar

Well, @PnL, you cavalierly dismissed the main reason that people support sports teams. It is because of the home team factor.

I still follow the Philadelphia Eagles even though I have not lived in Philadelphia since the 1980s. In some measure, I also follow the Phillies.

I have not lived in Seattle for six years, but still follow the Seahawks and the Mariners.

Now, that I am in the Washington, D.C. area I am sort of following the Redskins, especially since they picked up Donovan McNabb formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles.
And I am liking the brand new Nationals although they don’t have much of a bullpen.

jlm11f's avatar

@marinelife I realized that but since I have nomadic tendencies, I was hoping to choose teams based on something other than where I’m living at that moment. And was curious to see if others do so too. Plus, if you think about it, sports fans put so much of their energy and time rooting for their team. I feel like the reason for picking one team over another should have more substance.

Just an FYI to current people composing, this Q was moved from social to general section.

cfrydj's avatar

I follow soccer religiously.

In 2002, I was a teenager, and I watched the World Cup for the first time. Canada was not in the tournament, and my mom is part Italian, so I decided to cheer for Italy. Over the course of the tournament, I got more and more into it, and Francesco Totti gradually became my favourite player. In the match against South Korea, when Totti was unjustly given a red card, and Italy was unjustly knocked out of the tournament at the hands of the suspect Ecuadorian referee, my passion was solidified. I immediately went and looked up what club team Totti played for, and they have been my team ever since.

Roma plays at 7 am on Sundays in my timezone, and I never miss a match. That’s Totti in my avatar.

In the end, if you’re choosing a team for any reason other than that’s where you live, it’s arbitrary. I know that for a lot of people it has to do with players they like. I live in Edmonton now, so it seems normal for me to be an Oilers fan, but I grew up in Manitoba. I never cheered for the Jets, but was instead a Gretzky fan, which is why I’m an Oilers fan.

shilolo's avatar

I’ve been supporting Philly teams too, for the most part, since I grew up there and it was what everyone did. Try being a Cowboy’s fan in Philly and see how long you survive… That said, I’ve moved to NYC and San Francisco, and I still haven’t picked up the local teams, though I do enjoy going to the occasional SF Giants game, sitting in the bleachers and drinking beer (especially if it is a work day…).

As for more football (the real kind), I started supporting Arsenal more than 10 years ago because I thought that their total football approach was the most appealing, and they also had one of the best players at the time, Thierry Henry (though Dennis Bergkamp was no slouch, either). Now, both Barcelona and Arsenal play that style, with Barca being better at it. Still, I root for Arsenal.

P.S. @marinelife I like McNabb too, but there is no way I would ever consider rooting for the Redskins, and would light myself on fire before rooting for the Cowboys or Giants.

Primobabe's avatar

Supporting a sports team is a lot like falling in love; it’s mostly emotional and not very rational.

Have you ever gone on a date with someone who’s “perfect” for you? The person’s nice, and the two of you have common interests, shared values, similar backgrounds, and so on. Your head tells you that you should like this person, but you feel nothing. There’s no spark or real attraction, and you’ll never fall head-over-heels for him/her.

I think it’s the same with sports. Reading up on statistics, and trying to find the best team to follow, won’t turn you into a fan. It’s just like falling in love; a team gets under your skin and into your heart. A fan suffers when the team loses and feels true joy when it wins.

marinelife's avatar

@shilolo I feel the same way about the Cowboys and the Giants.

deni's avatar

well if you grow up in pittsburgh there is no chance of you liking another sports team. or the chance, if it were any, is extremely small. and i have no problem with the steelers—i love them. well, that is, until recently. ben roethlisberger is gross and a disgrace and there has been a slew of other problems with team members. it’s embarassing. pittsburgh used to be so drama free sportswise and now its the opposite. But you have to love the Pens too and you also have to love that they both won their respective championships last year. puffs out chest

ps. i hate the cowboys too :)

shilolo's avatar

@deni I think you forgot about the Saints winning the SuperBowl last year. Plus, I knew a guy in college from the Pittsburgh area who was a huge Cowboys fan. Not sure how that happened, but it did.

So, getting back to the Q, one way is to decide if you like the style of the team, as I did with Arsenal, though the style can easily change if the coach/manager changes. You could try basing it on the substance of the city, glamour in LA (the “glamorous” Lakers) versus the “grit” of Pittsburgh (the Steelers). Or even decide to base it on the sports legacy (the lovable loser Cubs, etc.). These days it is nearly impossible to choose based on a player, since many players switch teams as often as Tiger Woods switches…...clubs (what did you think I was going to say?). Here are some more thoughts regarding methodically choosing a sports (English football) team.

One thing you shouldn’t do is base it on the color of their jerseys, like some people I know.

Primobabe's avatar

@dpworkin Hey! Don’t forget about those of us who live and die with the Red Sox!

EmpressPixie's avatar

I’m not a sports person, really, but I completely understand how to really enjoy the game. It means choosing a team and then wholeheartedly devoting yourself to rooting for it the next several hours. So when I choose a team, I choose a good team name. Like, when I was rooting for robotics clubs in Virginia, I chose the Awkward Turtles to root for because they weren’t named Blah Blah High School Robotics Club Team.

If neither team up for grabs has a name that calls to me, I look at their mascot. Maybe they are the Boring McBoringsons, but their mascot is bizarrely awesome. I’d rather cheer a bizarrely awesome mascot than a boring one. More chance of things being interesting.

Finally, if nothing calls to me at all—really at all—then I’ll just cheer my heart out. For both teams.

Kayak8's avatar

I was an infant when my bedroom overlooked the Ohio State campus. My Dad was a professor there and got several degrees from there and he and Mom had season tickets. I have two degrees from OSU. Folks in Columbus are RABID about the Buckeyes. I know of a woman named Scarlet Ann Grey—I mean it is insane. So I root for the Buckeyes so as to avoid lynching.

chyna's avatar

Cuteness of players and cuteness of their mascot. Bulldog mascot gets my cheers everytime.

Ivan's avatar

It’s not so much of a rational decision as it is a gut feeling. I recommend just watching a few games here and there, and eventually you’ll find a team that you simply like to watch. Teams differ in playing styles, and some playing styles will just appeal to you more than others. Some teams with have players that you like, be it for their talent, their work ethic, their attitude, their looks, whatever.

As an example, I really only watch the NBA during the playoffs, so I don’t get a lot of exposure to teams other than the Pistons (my local team). But in the playoffs, I get to watch all the best teams for at least a couple weeks. Over the past few years, I’ve come to like the Suns, even though I’ve never been anywhere near Arizona. I love Steve Nash, I love Amare Stoudemire, I love Grant Hill, and I just love the way the Suns play basketball. But really, it’s difficult for any fanhood to be as intense as that for your home team.

International sports are the best. It may be difficult to pick which professional team to follow, but it’s easy to pick which country to follow. It’s a much more natural and feverish sort of fanhood. I only watch soccer internationally, and I’ll be pulling for the US hard come June 11.

janbb's avatar

I usually support whoever my sons are into and watching on t.v. I know – I’m a Mommy-wuss (but damn, those Bulls were good when Jordan played.)

crystalvegan's avatar

I choose based on what the uniforms look like.

Dumb answer, I know. I have no interest in sports what so ever, so if asked, I go for the uniforms I like best. Either that, or the underdog.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I didn’t choose them, I inherited them based on geography and my primary language. Like these stinking, choking Bruins. NF

sferik's avatar

I love that this question is tagged “Lakers suck”. #meta

jlm11f's avatar

@sferik Ahem. I had nothing to do with that. I believe there was some abuse of power there…

OpryLeigh's avatar

I only support one sports team and that’s because of the place I was born. I don’t live there anymore but I still love returning to my birth city which is why I support their football team. For anyone who wants to make fun of me, the team I support is Portsmouth FC, much to my dads disgust as he supports Southampton!

rudalfseo's avatar

It is quite difficult but I will see the previous performance by players first.

Jabe73's avatar

I know its not the answer maybe you want to hear but i try to root for the closest team to where i live. Like my nephew playing baseball, should i root for the other team because they have a better record, better uniforms? I live in Pennsylvania and i am an phillies fan, but my dad always rooted for the Red Sox, i know of many Yankees fans around me as well, i guess everyone has their own reasons for the teams they like, personally its distance for me or my hometown area.

deni's avatar

@shilolo the saints won this year…im talking about championships played in 2009…i guess technically it was the 2008 season but that aint what i meant

dpworkin's avatar

I think it is nationally satisfying for the Saints to have won. They truly are America’s Team, unlike the Dallas Cowboys who have merely appropriated the meme as a marketing slogan.

mattbrowne's avatar

In soccer I prefer teams who got a coach capable of developing talent and forming a real team, instead of rich clubs spending millions on expensive players snatching away them from other teams that went through all the effort developing them. Therefore I don’t like clubs like Bayern München or FC Barcelona or Man U.

rockzom's avatar

I tend to support teams who have players that are good role models. (Hard-working, first one there, last to leave types.)

janbb's avatar

@dpworkin Tampa Bay Rays beat the Yanks! Just sayin’

dpworkin's avatar


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