New York City. Los Angeles. Dallas. Chicago. Philadelphia. Five major United States cities, but population isn’t all that they have in common. The five cities listed above also have started to struggle to win trophies for their respected heavily populated areasin professional sports.
American society naturally loves the under dogs in sports; that narrative is what makes movies like “Space Jam” and “Hoosiers”, awesome! The recent big city blues in terms of titles in America’s big four sports (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL) has been something that most enjoy… As long as there’s nothing else to enjoy. Confused? Let me sooth your muddled thoughts with a logical approach to why it’s good to see small markets win!
The top hardware from the four Major Professional Leagues in America are going to America’s smaller markets like the Bay Area, Denver, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Miami, Seattle, Baltimore and San Antonio. Not the big names by any means, but that’s not such a bad thing!
In the big cities there are increased populations to compliment the area’s supply and demand of needs to fulfill those organiztion’s requirements. Plus, those bigger markets aren’t reliant on those teams to win in order to have thriving economies. They can rely on prestige and their typical annual merchandising sales. Just look at the Dallas Cowboys who backed Ezekiek Elliott’s recent jersey sales all the way to the top of the off-season window. Despite the Cowboys not having won an NFL title since 1996, they still claim the top jersey. Without a doubt, Elliott’s sales mainly came from a large following of big media fans that will always strive as long as they are top media. (6)
The smaller markets however, depend on their local professional teams succeeding with performance, which is why their rewards of titles are a good thing!
“Not only has James led the Cavs to only their second appearance in the NBA Finals since they were founded in 1970, but the effect he’s had from a business perspective is felt far and wide. New data reveal that the Cavs have seen a substantial increase in nearly every business category—from tickets to merchandise to TV time—compared with previous seasons.” (1)
The previous excerpt was snagged from an article about Lebron James’ impact upon returning to Cleveland and bringing them back to dominance.
Not only is the resurgence of the Cleveland Cavaliers good for a less predictable NBA, that would have featured more titles for franchises like the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics, but it’s good for the Clevelandesque smaller sized market’s economy! All of the NBA’s past five winners (Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, and Miami Heat twice) are below the top five media markets according to a report done in 2016. (2) But it’s not only the NBA that is seeing more dominance from the inferior markets.
Denver (the number ten media market) hoisted the Lombardi trophy in 2015. Preceding the Broncos are New England (number eight), Seattle (number fourteen) and Baltimore (number 26). (3)
Last year the Workd Series was won by the Kansas City Royals (number 33 media market) in the MLB. (5) In the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins earned the Stanley Cup as the number 23 media market in America. (4) Certainly, smaller markets could have won and these aren’t all outlandishly small media markets for examples, but they aren’t nearly as large as the cities listed at the beginning of this article The only one of those large markets that has enjoyed a title in recent years is Chicago with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015. (4) but even then, it doesn’t change the notion this article is striving for. That is that the smaller markets need to succeed over the bigger markets and it’s a good thing that they are doing so.
But why do they need this underdog success?
Think about it.
If the Dodgers or Yankees win the World Series this fall, yes it will be celebrated but for how long before the attention turns to the Rams and Giants/Jets? Or just in general people will move on to finer things available like Broadway in N.Y.C. or the beach in L.A. But, when the Cavaliers win the NBA Finals it is much more appreciated by the fans in the heart of Ohio who have nothing to look forward to all summer except the hopes of a good show at the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame! That trophy is something they carry with them moving forward with it being their new claim to fame and something to hold over people’s heads.
Small markets need the success to keep the fans interested in the few area teams they have available because it is typically their best forms of entertainment! Larger markets however just need a championship once in a blue moon to keep appearances a float as top dog franchises.
Humans love sports and most of the time love underdogs, and when you can get behind both in one move it really lights a fun-distraction of entertainment for all to enjoy. We love under dogs in all walks of life but our relationships with under dogs stays consistent. We love the mom and pop stores that compete with super centers. We want to cheer on the local smaller markets that are trying to get by but realize that sometimes the bigger store has more essentials that grab our attention as well.
Still, we see better things happen when the smaller scaled markets win. Merchandise, loyalty, interest and controversy all rises with the success of the under dogs.
Every now and again the powers of Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Philly and Dallas will enviably end up on top and winning. All the more reason to cherish the times we have to celebrate a mom and pop franchise’s victory. While you may hear overwhelmingly from those larger media markets complaining that the sports world is better when the Yankees, Lakers, Cowboys and Blackhawks are good, just remember the greater good that comes from teams like the Broncos’, Royals’ and Cavaliers’ titles and what they generate for the sake of their societies!