FC Cincinnati, Reds Popular With Fans Despite On-Field Performance
FC Cincinnati ranks last in the MLS standings this year but is third in overall attendance, as the "correlation between success on the field and success at the gate has never been less obvious," according to Paul Daugherty of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. Pro sports "operate under the broad canopy of 'entertainment' now." Winning can be "secondary to hangin’ out," which is an "activity that implies fun and relaxation, not necessarily successful teams." On Thursday and Friday night, the last-place Reds drew 70,000 fans combined, filling Great American Ballpark to 83% capacity. The team "isn’t winning, hasn’t won and didn’t win either of those nights," but it did "give away 25,000 Yasiel Puig bobbleheads Thursday and burst bombs in the air on Friday." The Reds are "drawing a couple thousand more fans a game this year than last." After Friday’s loss, they "owned the same record after 95 games they had" in '18. The uptick in attendance has "nothing to do with success, and everything to do with perceptions." The Reds are "seen as 'trying to win' this year." FC Cincinnati has five wins in 21 matches, but it also has a fan base that "doesn’t seem to mind." Like FC Cincinnati, the Reds "benefit from a community-wide belief they are fan friendly." Teams "get some slack" from fans if they are "seen as good guys." Teams "get even more" when they "deliver when it comes to the 'fan experience'" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 7/21).