Opinion: It’s time to criminalize non-local sports fandom


Many Americans feel that they can be fans of any sports team in the nation. However, this makes bandwagon fandom run rampant and should be criminalized.
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J.T. BUCHHEIT Chief Copy Editor

Sports are a staple for many people around the world, and they often derive pleasure from rooting for whichever teams they choose.

This needs to stop.

Very few things irk me more than bandwagon fans. People all over the U.S., even those who have never set foot in Wisconsin, root for the Green Bay Packers because it’s a good team. This detracts from people supporting their local teams, leading to a disproportional number of fans for the “good” teams.

Of course, once a lesser team enters a period of success, supposed “fans” will flock to this team. But there is a way to remedy this maddening habit: Disallow people from supporting any team besides their local teams.

“But I don’t live near any team!” you might say. That’s what those handy blackout maps are for. Do you live in eastern Idaho? You can be a fan of the Mariners or the Rockies. Live in Iowa? The Twins, Cardinals, White Sox, Cubs and Brewers are available to you. Some places get advantages over others, of course. Here in St. Charles, the Cardinals are your only option. Other sports have similar maps. But there are exceptions to this proposed rule of mine.

If you are from one area and have moved to another in any point in your life, you can be a fan of the teams in either area. However, if you have a child, that child can only be a fan of the team in the area he or she was born in. The passing down of teams not in one’s area is forbidden.

Another, rarer exception is if your team relocates. I was a Rams fan before the team moved west, so the Chiefs became the team in my blackout area. But you can remain a fan of the team that moved if you so desire.

The final exception is during playoffs when your team has been eliminated. In this case, you may root for whomever you like.

The tricky part is figuring out how this law would be enforced. Perhaps one who has a package such as MLB Extra Innings who does not have proof that they have lived in another area can be forced to have some sort of data device in their televisions that notifies the government if the person is watching a certain non-local team with suspicious frequency.

This may seem like a ridiculous idea to many, but if it could somehow become a reality, it may eradicate those bandwagon “fans” once and for all.