Jul 4, 2011, 2:00 PM EDT
Let’s say the lockout does end up costing part of a season, we have already talked about how a league that has picked up so much momentum with casual fans will be kicking that to the curb and have a lot of rebuilding to do with fan bases.
But which teams will bounce back quickest.
San Antonio, Cleveland, Boston, Utah and Phoenix, according to one report.
The Scarborough Sports Marketing Group does an annual study of fan awareness and support in a community and those teams come out on top, they told the San Antonio Express-News. Those teams had the highest percentage of fans who had gone to a game, watched one on television or listened to one on the radio in the past year — the signs of real fans and awareness in the community. Those are the fans most likely to come back quickly after a lockout.
In the Spurs case, it was 61 percent of the thousands surveyed had done that — three out of five people in the city are pretty serious Spurs fans. Those other teams round out the top five, although it will be interesting to see if Cleveland (at 48 percent now) remains that high on the list a couple years into the post LeBron era.
Who was at the bottom? Well the Knicks, but that’s not really a good measurement because their metropolitan base is so large that even a small percentage of New Yorkers makes up a huge number. The Clippers are on that list too, playing in a city owned by the Lakers, but that again is a large bunch of fans just because of the size of the city and with Blake Griffin as a start they are gaining traction.
The three in trouble? The Washington Wizards, Minnesota Timberwolves and New Jersey Nets. And you can pretty much throw the Nets off the list as they will be in Brooklyn in the fall of 2012.
By the way, across all sports what team had the best market penetration? The New Orleans Saints at 87 percent. But that really shouldn’t be a surprise.