The poll says 50 percent of fans in Queens are Yankees fans, while just 43 percent root for the Mets… in Queens… where Citi Field is located.
My hunch has always been that roughly 30 percent are Yankees fans, roughly 30 percent are Mets fans, and the middle 30 percent lean toward whichever team is more popular and fun to root for at that time…
For instance, in early 2007, this same poll about the World Series had the Yankees at 46 percent and the Mets at 40 percent, the closest it had ever been. However, since that point in time, the Mets have done serious damage to their brand, due to lackluster performances, an overwhelming number of demoralizing injuries or the countless bizarre off-field stories (from Maddoff to the The Tony B Shirt Incident to firing two managers to having their GM get in to a public dispute with a beat reporter). So, it should be of no surprise that the number look as they do today.
There are people who say, ‘New York is a National League town,’ and, ‘If the Mets win, those numbers will easily show it.’ However, at this point, I don’t know if that’s totally true anymore. It’s been a really, really long time since the Dodgers and Giants left for California, and a lot has happened in the Bronx, on TV and in marketing since the ’80s, when the Mets last ruled New York. There is an entire generation of New Yorkers who have seen nothing but the Yankees dominate baseball, financially and in October, who probably have no idea the Dodgers and Giants started in this town.
The point is, the Mets have a long way to go and it’s not just about wins. It’s about sustaining that success and rebuilding a brand that casual fans (as well as die-hards) can connect with, have fun and take pride in supporting. I think ownership being able to put the Maddoff litigation behind them has helped that, since it has allowed most fans to also turn the page, accept this team’s reality and look forward – and I think that has helped stabilize how other fans view the franchise as well.