Monday, March 16, 2009

Suck it, other Metropoli!

Worst sports town in America, eh? How about some actual numbers.

For people who are unfamiliar with Atlanta, here is a brief primer on this city as a sports town:

1. Atlanta is a great NBA city, although it's not necessarily a great city at supporting the local NBA team. This is an entirely logical result of a city nicknamed Black Hollywood being home to an NBA franchise that has not made a conference final since moving from St. Louis. There is tremendous passion for basketball in Atlanta, but that passion hasn't really had a local outlet. Hopefully, the Hawks are entering a sustained run of playoff appearances and that can change.

2. Atlanta is a very good NASCAR market. I'm not going to pretend to be a NASCAR fan, but millions of people tune into the races on a weekly basis. It's a major sport in America, no matter how much Mike Lupica wishes it were not so.

3. Atlanta is a great college sports market. What other city sits at the junction between the premier college football conference and the premier college basketball conference? Add in a ton of transplants from the Big Ten states, as well as the fact that the city has a high proportion of people holding college and post-college degrees, and you have a gumbo of different, intense college rooting interests.

So yeah, if the Braves' failure to sell out playoff games this decade were the sole measure of a good sports city, then Atlanta would be a bad market. If one employs a modicum of rationality and looks at other factors, then this city is a great place to be a fan.

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