Go woke, go broke: Washington, Cleveland popularity plummets following team name changes

by Seth Udinski

Seth Udinski, FISM News

 

 

Reports indicate that ticket sales for both the Washington Commanders of the National Football League and the Cleveland Guardians of Major League Baseball have plummeted in recent days, in what many are labeling a predictable outcome from both teams going “woke” with recent name changes.

Last weekend, ticket sales for the Commanders’ preseason game with the Carolina Panthers were on sale for as low as $1, according to sportswriter Daniel Kaplan.

 

 

Similarly, the Cleveland Guardians are losing their fanbase’s interest, as average attendance and TV ratings have dropped significantly in the last two years. Since announcing their name change last summer, Cleveland’s regional TV viewership has dropped 30%, according to a report by Forbes.

Nationwide, MLB regional TV numbers remained steady over the same time period, as several teams saw big increases in viewers, including the Texas Rangers (+42%), Los Angeles Angels (+33%), Seattle Mariners (+33%), and St. Louis Cardinals (+30%).

The California Bay Area joined Cleveland with its own massive drop in baseball viewership, as the Oakland A’s (-46%) and San Fransisco Giants (-35%) both lost large portions of their TV audiences in the last year.

Since the 2019 season, the average fan attendance at Cleveland’s home games has fallen from roughly 21,000 to a paltry 16,967 fans per game, the sixth-lowest number in MLB this year.

It is important to note that this number comes in a season where Cleveland is currently leading the AL Central Division with a 62-54 record. Of the five teams trailing Cleveland in average attendance, only Tampa Bay sits higher than fourth in their division. The Rays have not averaged over 20,000 fans per home game since 2010.

The common denominator for both the Washington Commanders and Cleveland Guardians appears to be an incessant push to become woke, even at the expense of putting a quality product on the field, in the case of Washington.

Both franchises abandoned their long-held nicknames in the wake of the racial tension sweeping the nation in 2020 and 2021. Washington dropped the “Redskins” moniker in favor of the historically dull, temporary “Football Team” until the organization eventually announced the new name “Commanders” in 2022. Cleveland slashed the title of “Indians” for a somewhat confusing replacement of “Guardians” last year.

Additionally, at least in Washington, a flurry of off-the-field issues involving accusations of lewd behavior by shadowy owner Daniel Snyder have soured many fans’ opinions of the once-proud franchise that won three Super Bowl titles between 1983 and 1991.

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