Cleveland Browns Fans – Why We Care (So Much)
In the finale of my three blogs that pertain to the fans of the Cleveland Browns, I break down the reasons why the fan base is in love with the NFL franchise so much. - Cleveland is a town with a long-standing history with the team
The Cleveland Browns are one of the oldest franchises since its inception in 1946. The long time period has given fans a chance to gain an attachment to the franchise and in turn pass it down to future generations. Fortunately, the beginnings of the team were met with much success – eight championships in less than twenty seasons. This likely reinforced the love affair between the fans and the team and made it easier for younger people to become supporters. Recently, the team has struggled, but the sport’s affection makes it easier to still talk about and support the Browns.
It’s no secret that football is currently the most popular sport in America. So much revenue is generated whether it’s through ticket sales, merchandise, television dollars (i.e. Direct Ticket viewership, advertising, etc) annually. Therefore, across the country the team that garners the most love and attention in any given city is typically the football team (with a few exceptions like Boston or New York). The formula is thus simple math; a historical long connection with a franchise in the popular sport leads to a very strong fan base.
– Fans have a fear of losing team again
There has been growing sentiment regarding the extent of love given to the Browns by Cleveland fans, and one does not have to think too hard to understand this. Over fifteen years have passed, but for some the scars are still fresh from when the NFL team was ripped from our city. Several were heartbroken, while others still cannot get over the pain they endured. Some Browns fans (right or wrong) feel the franchise needs undying love as this will help avoid another move. Opponents feel this is a excessive reaction, however there have been talks about changing the league as of late.
Los Angeles has been without a team for several years now and theories have been floating about a current NFL team relocating to “Tinsel Town”. Also, with having one game played annually in London and talks about expanding the league abroad, some feel a team would leave to move across the pond. Granted, there have been several franchises ahead of the Browns that have been talked about possibly moving (like the Jaguars, Vikings, and Chargers to name a few). Nonetheless, the possibility of losing the franchise again exists for Browns fans. This leads to those having a least a little worry in the back of their minds when the topic arises.
– The environment is conducive to supporting the team
Unlike Miami or Los Angeles, Cleveland is a city that does not have beaches or great weather all year round. Therefore, the habitants near Lake Erie have to find other forms of amusement especially when it’s snowing/raining/cold outside. Watching local sports (indoors) is one of those options people have on almost a daily basis. For the most part, fans have taken advantage of this as sports bars, event venues, or even a person’s couch contain Cleveland supporters. Couple this to the fact that football is a sport typically played during some of the worst weather, and one can clearly see why fans in northeast Ohio gravitate towards watching the Cleveland Browns.
Additionally, unlike New York City or Chicago, there are not as many national landmarks as some of the larger cities in the country. This relates to the previous point as it diminishes the options of attractions around the area. The same point holds true; fans will look for other areas in town to spend their entertainment dollar. Although the Browns recently have not been the most exciting team to watch, supporters continue to follow the franchise year after year.
– Cleveland is not a transplant city
Larger cities in the county typically have a more diverse blend of inhabitants from many walks of life. This includes people from different parts of the country, who in turn have various backgrounds. In the sports realm these individuals likely support their regional team, however there are those who convert to the local franchises. A smaller town like Cleveland is the opposite; most fans are natives of the city or surrounding area. This leads to the fan base comprising mostly of supporters of the local teams (again taking into account the small percentage of people who moved to Cleveland and are fans of their local teams).
– Hardships lead to type of fans
Let’s face it – Cleveland’s economy has hit some hard times. Businesses have left the area and their hollow remains are reminders of what commerce was once like. I’m sure everyone is familiar with the “Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video” poking fun at our city. Additionally, the population in northeast Ohio has been declining annually. This speaks volumes for those current residents who choose to live in the area where several have left. Clevelanders have endured tough times over the years but continue forward and foresee good times in the future. This parallels being a fan of the Browns franchise; there have not been many victories as of late but the fan base sticks with the team and will be overjoyed when they turn the corner and finally win on a consistent basis.
I hope this gave a better understanding for people who cannot comprehend how Browns fans continue to support the team year after year. The reasons why the franchise’s supporters are this way relates both the individuals themselves and the city of Cleveland (and surrounding areas). Combining the two leads to one of (if not) the best NFL fan bases in the country. They are supportive, passionate, and dying to see a winner.