In New York, the stereotype, anyway, is that the Mets draw their fans from the outer boroughs and Long island. In Chicago, the divide between fans is supposedly North Side vs. South Side.
Is there any such rubric for identifying Clippers fans? Do they draw from a particular geographic area of LA (west vs. east?), or a particular socioeconomic class (working class vs. elite?). Or are there not really any “Clippers fans” – just people who like to go to games but can’t score Lakers tickets?
I grew up a Clippers fan in Long Beach/Orange County in the 80’s. Not sure why I picked the Clippers, it was probably to be an iconoclast because everyone loved the Lakers so much. (I was a Clippers fan before it was cool.)
I frequent two sports bars - one in Burbank and one in Long Beach. Except for this year, they would always have a full crowd for Lakers games. This year, the Lakers sucked, so the crowds melted away. You think basketball fans would show up for a new, improved Clippers team? Especially when they won their division and have at least two of the most exciting players in the league right now? You think? No fucking way. Both places are empty when the Clips are on TV. Especially during the playoffs. And that was before the Sterling mess.
My wife and I have lived in LA for 12 years. We were honestly surprised this week to discover that LA has a second basketball team. I mean, we’re not sports fans, but the Lakers are impossible to miss even if you’re not paying attention. The Clippers? I had no idea they were local.
Yes, same here, more or less. I am a non-sports-fan who lived in the L.A. area for about 20 years and although I knew the Clippers existed I don’t recall ever running into a fan, whereas Lakers fans are unavoidable to the point of obnoxiousness. At one point, when one of my daughters was in about first grade she got it in her head for a while, I think from her teacher, that The Lakers were “America’s team” and that everybody in the country had to support them. It was quite an effort to convince her that they were really only L.A’s team. I don’t know how I could have explained The Clippers to her! I don’t understand how the Clippers make any money, frankly.
I’ve heard speculation that Steve Ballmer (Microsoft executive) might buy the team and move them to Seattle. IMO, that’s probably the best thing that could happen: send the team somewhere where people might actually give a crap about them.
Playing in the shadow of the Lakers doesn’t help, but it’s hard to build a fanbase when you suck, which they did throughout the Sterling period until just the last few years. He bought the team in 1981, three years before they moved to L.A., and between then and 2010-11 they finished over .500 once and won one playoff series. Between his tightfistedness, crappy decision making and some bad luck, it’s sort of amazing people kept buying tickets and Clippers merch- but they did, and Sterling kept making money off them. In the last couple of years they’ve gotten very good, so there’s finally some real and justifiable excitement around the team.
Bill Simmons has an article in Grantland about what it has been like to hold Clippers season tickets for the last decade or so. It’s an interesting read and makes you wonder why anyone stuck with the Clippers for all these years.
Honestly, no, I don’t. Sports fans are generally extremely loyal to their teams. I’ve lived in L.A. for 20 years now, and I’m still loyal to the teams I grew up with in Baltimore all those years ago, through thick and thin. I don’t expect Lakers fans to suddenly start rooting for the Clippers, even when the Lakers aren’t doing well, and even though the Clippers are in the same city.
No matter who owns them, the Clippers are going to stay in Southern California. However, I do think a new owner will likely move the team to Anaheim or some other arena in the LA basin so they wouldn’t play in the Lakers’ shadow at Staples and actually develop their own fan base.
Why wouldn’t Steve Ballmer move them? It’s not like moving sports teams is an unheard-of phenomenon, and having 2 teams in the same market has proven to be a pretty raw deal for one team or the other. (Ask the New York Mets.)
Hansen and Ballmer’s group is willing to pay an awful lot to get an NBA team and move it to Seattle. They made a huge offer for the Kings, and the only reason they weren’t able to buy the team is that the NBA bent over backward to make sure the team stayed in Sacramento. Of course the reason the league did that is because people were so angry about the sale and move of the Sonics out of Seattle, so the city and its fans got screwed twice by the same move. I don’t know if there is any significant chance the Clippers will move out of L.A., but sooner or later I think that situation has to be rectified either by a team moving or the league expanding. And with the way team prices have gone up in the last few years, it may be a while before another team is put up for sale.