I hate to generalize, but one impression I get from most obsessive basketball fans (of which I am definitely not) is that they have a poor understanding of basic economics.
The minute it was announced that LeBron James was going to the Heat, twitter was abuzz (I would have said “atwitter,” but that would have been cheesy) with self-proclaimed die-hard Heat fans being condescendingly critical of all the “bandwagon hoppers” that were going to start rooting for the Heat now.
Apparently, they don’t get it.
Sports teams have nothing to do with the government (unless, of course, we’re talking about government stadium subsidies… which is an infuriating story that I’ll save for another time), which means that a professional sports league, like the NBA, is a private business. They’re in the business of entertainment. They have employees: coaches, players, managers, and so on. And they have customers: you guys.
A business survives if there is enough demand for their product to meet the supply. The supply is determined by the cost of running that business. In the case of a professional sports team, like the Miami Heat, this means that hiring expensive players is only worth it if the owners think that doing so is going to bring in new fans. Otherwise, they wouldn’t do it.
If it works, more people will buy tickets and merchandise, which will encourage other businesses to purchase advertising space, both of which will bring in more revenue, which will allow them to hire better staff (including team doctors that’ll heal injured players more quickly or better assistant coaches) and purchase better resources and equipment for the players. All these things equal a better team that’s more likely to win championships. And maybe even a better stadium to watch them in.
It’s very simple. If you’re truly a fan of the stupid Heat, you should be encouraging people to hop on the “bandwagon,” because it’s the only way to really support the team. Without generating new fans, the only way to make up for the cost of high-profile players is to pass those costs onto their existing fans; i.e. raising ticket prices and charging more for Heat merchandise licensing.
And I don’t see any “lifelong fans” volunteering to pay double for Heat tickets and jerseys than they’re used to. Do you?
So if you’re one of these condescending fools, take an Intro to Microeconomics course and please shut the fuck up.