Thursday, September 27, 2007

Distance Decay and Steelers Nation

Buffalo is a shrinking city and the Bills, the local football team, are looking to Toronto for an increase in the fan base. The Steelers don't have a problem with their market because on-the-field success, not proximity, is what brings new fans into the fold:

As a 6-year-old franchise seeking its first winning season, Houston faces obstacles in building popularity in Mexico despite its proximity. Longtime success, more than geography, has dictated which franchises have the most fans there.

Of the two top teams in Mexico, one would be expected based on location, but the other wouldn't. The Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers enjoy the largest followings, said Geraldina Gonzalez-Soberanes, NFL Mexico's senior manager for sponsorships and public relations. The passion for the clubs is often passed from one generation to the next.

On one hand, this anecdote about which NFL teams command the Mexican market share makes plain that Steelers Nation is bigger than the Burgh Diaspora. However, the other lesson is that proximity is not always the most important variable for predicting which team a fan follows. The Steelers are a global brand, while the City of Pittsburgh is more or less a local brand. One entity transcends geography, while the other is its prisoner.

Reconciling that disparity would be a good project for regional stakeholders.

1 comment:

jenna said...

One entity transcends geography, while the other is its prisoner. Could it be that one's mind expects to transcend geography with a team of any kind because it can be televised and it can move around and is promoted and the idea of it can be taken with you and they are something one can quantify and feel good about; it's an active state. The city however, we are used to thinking of something on land as steadfastly there, unmovable, and we put a box around it. however, I would say that I think if one could remove the box and think of the city as an entity the same as a say football team, one might be able to make a better connection and make it able to transcend the seemingly geographical box. Maybe perspective is everything.