| Boycott Watch received the
I manage a well read Pittsburgh Pirates blog and
I'd like to ask you a question for
(In case you
are unaware, the Pirates have had 14 consecutive losing seasons and the fans
are starting to show their anger with a planned protest June 30th following
Michael Keaton's remarks last year. But one media source is openly against a
boycott. For the record, that newspaper was a limited partner in the Pirates
Question: Can you name any (all) fan boycott in the sports
world that achieved the fan's goals?
Any research you can point me to
would be appreciated.
Jake at Bucco Blog
The only fan boycott I have tracked was the one stemming
from the Baseball players strike, and the fans came back in full-strength the
There was a similar situation, although not a declared
boycott, in Cleveland in the 70's and early 80's. The fans kept away, and that
only exasperated the Indians financial problems, forcing then owner Gabe Paul
to trade every decent player he had to the Yankees in order to meet the
payroll. What that did was make the problems for the Indians even worse while
helping the Yankees win.
It took a few new owners with lots of money
to bring the Indians back from years at the bottom of the standings. So, fan
boycotts in sports have never been proven to be successful, unless you want to
force out the owner. The problem there is once again what happened in Cleveland
- Browns team owner Art Model was upset with the fans and moved the football
team to Baltimore. The fans struck back though, and with help of Browns fans
nationally plus Steelers fans who stood up for Cleveland and their rivalry, the
NFL did not allow Art Model to take the team name or colors to Baltimore,
resulting in a new Browns team in Cleveland.
This shows the strength
of fans to respond, but we can not forget that team owners will stand for one
another first and listen to fans second. In either case, money talks in sports.
So, in terms of sports teams, I have to conclude that fan boycotts are
not in the best interests of the fans involved. The best thing for fans to do
is stand by their team and attend games regardless of the team record, thus
helping the team afford the players they need and preventing a move. Loyalty
goes a long way.
Fred Taub is a boycott consultant and is the President of Boycott Watch (www.boycottwatch.org) which monitors and
reports about boycott activity. He lectures, is regularly quoted in major
publications including The Wall Street Journal, and his work has been quoted
before the US Supreme Court in two cases.