Why true Miami Heat fans should welcome bandwagon hoppers with open arms

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.

5 thoughts on “Why true Miami Heat fans should welcome bandwagon hoppers with open arms

  1. Ticket prices have already doubled and tripled the seconds after Lebron James made his announcement. A good friend of mine is a ticket broker and he said there was an influx as soon as sources started leaking the news.
    As silly and ridiculous as it may be, tuhe lifelong fans don’t want to share this acquisition and joy with a bunch of people who didn’t care about the team when it wasn’t relevant.

    Think about it like this, you have a small indie band. You’ve given everything you got to this band. You want it to be successful, you want to pack shows. No one ever comes. People think you’re a joke. Then you somehow have Tom Morello come and join the band. Now those same people who said you sucked are trying to be front row at every show. They never supported you prior. Again, silly and ridiculous it may be but it will never change.

    • You raise a valid objection. It’s entirely possible that the Heat didn’t properly calculate the demand that would have been generated from obtaining LeBron James. This would explain the raised ticket prices. It’s unfortunate, but the laws of supply and demand are what control prices.

      That said, I’m not sure if the comparison to a band is a fair parallel to draw, but it still kinda supports my point. Your hard work or your desire to see the band succeed won’t change the overall talent of the band. Fans want to see a talented band. If you can somehow afford to bring in someone who is talented, then people will pack the place to see it… especially if that new member has the name-recognition that Tom Morello does.

      Having Tom Morello in your band doesn’t make the band worse. On the contrary… it’s likely to make your band even better. And this will bring more fans, which will lead to record contracts, album sales, world tours, etc. Isn’t that what you wanted in the first place? More people to listen to your band? If I were a fan of your band pre-Morello, I wouldn’t really care that all these new fans might only be discovering your group because of its new member. Mostly because now you have the resources to make BETTER music that’s more widely available to fans like me, and you get to succeed. It’s win-win. And without the people that “jump on the Tom Morello bandwagon,” that success isn’t possible. See what I’m getting at?

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