Sports and Weather?
Why is fandom a regional phenomenon? I spend a lot of time analyzing fandom across leagues and cities. I can’t help but to observe patterns (discovering patterns is actually kind of the point). For example, if you ask me to compare the fan bases in Boston versus Tampa or Chicago versus Atlanta, I can tell you the better team brand without even knowing the sport.
Why some regions have better fan support than others, is a question for another day. Is it about team histories? I’m sympathetic to this idea as I do believe that sports brands are built on a generational time frame? Is it the demographics? Maybe. I don’t want to touch the racial angle but we know that a city full of transplants is likely to have less intense fandom. How about the weather? Does Florida or Southern California weather deter fandom? It probably doesn’t help. It’s the why go to the game when you can go to the beach explanation. Fair weather fandom is more prevalent when the weather is, well, fair.
It is a tough problem because all of these factors matter. And these factors probably interact (having a short history and nice weather is probably a double whammy).
The PAC 12 is the league that makes sense if it’s about the weather. We have Oregon at the top followed by Washington, Utah, Washington State and Oregon State. This seems to be the colder half of the league. It might not be the best known of the football programs but it seems to be the best customer bases.
Oregon is interesting because it’s mostly known for innovative uniforms and Phil Knight. Sort of classic branding. Also some (relatively) recent success despite a few tough recent years. It’s interesting because sports brands are usually built based on long-term success. Washington is a solid program across the board. The next three teams’ programs suggest that the league is a bit skewed. It appears that the programs with the most potential tend to be the least prominent.
At the other end of the scale we have Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, USC and UCLA as the bottom 5. These schools are also located in the most appealing tourist destinations in the conference.
USC is the head turner. An amazing tradition. Championships and Heisman trophies. But when you crunch the numbers the fans don’t show up like they do at places like Ohio State, Alabama and Texas.