So What Happens to the Astros if They Lose Their Fans?

Categories: Baseball, Sports

AstrosFans.jpg
Photo by Groovehouse
No telling how many fans the Astros have left.
A friend from out of town was in Houston on Wednesday. He wanted to watch the Minnesota Wild in game seven versus Colorado. I wanted to watch the Rockets. So I found a sports bar where we could watch both, and arrived early to get a booth so I could get near TVs showing both games.

Arriving early, I figured I would get to see the Astros losing to the Nationals on one of the TVs while waiting for the Rockets and Wild games. The sports bar actually had CSN Houston, after all, so it made sense that the Astros would be on one of the TVs, at least until the Rockets started. But the Astros weren't on any of the televisions. The Spurs/Mavericks were on a bunch of screens. And the Nets/Raptors. The Flyers/Rangers NHL playoff game was on a big screen. And the rest of the TVs were tuned to the CSN Houston Rockets pre-game.

This isn't the first time I've noticed this. I went to a sports bar several Sundays ago. The Astros were playing the Rangers, but the screens in the place were all tuned to the Masters, the NBA, bowling and a figure skating competition. The excuse last year was that very few sports bars had CSN Houston. The excuse this year is that no one gives a damn about the Houston Astros.

I argued last year that the Astros weren't killing baseball in Houston. The issues with CSN Houston weren't helping fan interest, but baseball wasn't dying. Instead, I argued that things were returning to a normal of front-running, bandwagon Houston sports fans who only pay attention and show up when a team's good, but can't be bothered the rest of the time, kind of like sports fans in Dallas, Atlanta and Miami. But I have to concede that I might have been wrong.

The difference I'm sensing is the anger that many people I talk to have about the Astros. These people think the Astros are tanking games on purpose, that the Astros are more concerned with some far off future than whether or not the big-league club, charging big-league prices, loses 100-plus games year after year after year after year. The logic of what management is trying doesn't matter. Many of the people I've met, talked to, think the team holds them in contempt and thinks they are such idiots that they'll pay outrageous prices on the mere promise of a potentially vague payoff years in the future.

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11 comments
stugregory
stugregory

Contrary to Mr. Royal's assertion, I would contend that, relatively speaking, there is almost NONE of the "diehard" fans left. The Astros' diehards... and I was one for 40+ years, even before I ever moved to Southeast Texas as an adult... understand all that's happened and are repulsed by it. They are staying away because they simply cannot stomach the thought of Jim Crane or his investors making money off of them. So, they're either choosing completely different entertainment choices or are finding other teams... National League teams... to support instead.


What's left are those showing up for games simply for the pleasure of watching a baseball game... casual fans, many of whom are oblivious that there's a difference between American and National League baseball.


And perhaps what I'm wondering most at this stage is... what are the marketing execs thinking at Methodist Hospital, United Airlines, etc.?... why pour big dollars down the drain doing promotions with the Houston Astros under such dire circumstances in terms of exposure and attendance? 

This is a franchise so disrespected by its own owner that he thought its National League heritage was practically meaningless in comparison to $65 million. 

There is no value in supporting such a franchise... particularly in this day of MLB.TV when it's so easy to follow a team from outside your region, and even so much more convenient due to blackout rules.

Gaspar_Ramsey
Gaspar_Ramsey

In the '90s, my wife and I attended a hundred or more games. The slide began, and after 2004 we quit going as much, but sometimes watched them on television. We refuse to be ripped off by the Comcast deal, however, so the number of games we go to has been 0 for the last several years. And, unless they start fielding something better than a T-Ball team, we won't go back. It's hard to believe that their business model is to put out as bad a product as possible and restrict access even to that, but it is what it is. Ta' hell wid' 'em.

realist
realist

Give up on the Astros?  That is so 2012. 

orangehoof
orangehoof

When I lived in Houston back in 2011, I was amazed how much the sports bars had already tuned out the Astros but, where I live now in Central Texas, the Astros are largely dead, dead, dead because the games are unavailable on tv at any price and the Round Rock team is a Rangers farm club now, not an Astros farm club. I still see some Astros caps but not nearly as many as the mid-00s when there was something to cheer for and you could find the game on most of the time.

Dolosus
Dolosus

I think that you're reading too much into it.  More than other major cities, most people in Houston fundamentally understand that professional sports are businesses competing for their entertainment dollar.  Watching a team lose is not entertaining and will just not be supported.  I have more fun in the more cozy setting in Sugar Land watching the Skeeters, and spending a lot less $.

DeathBreath
DeathBreath

Re-brand them & then sell them to another city, like the Oilers.  They started winning after they left Houston. 

Jrflanne
Jrflanne

Crane holds the fans in contempt. Baseball holds the fans in contempt. I cannot stand the Asstro's and will not go to a game. Hell, I may never go to another one. Crane, you will not get one dime of mine. Besides, the Juicebox is stupid.

Puller58
Puller58

Jim Crane's bumbling has cost him credibility.  Bringing in Nolan Ryan means nothing since we see or hear nothing from him.  Look for Crane to scream he'll move the team.

big.red.guy
big.red.guy

Do not underestimate how pissed off many baseball fans are that the team was moved to the American League. Now that was a poor decision.

stugregory
stugregory

@Puller58 Would love to hear that scream. Or, better, find an NL owner who will trade franchises and restore the Astros to their National League heritage and real baseball.

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