Remember when Atlanta was a bad sports town? That’s not the case any longer. After long being criticized for being a bad sports town, the city of Atlanta is doing their part in getting behind their local teams. After three sellouts over Father’s Day weekend, the Braves passed the Mets to take the lead among teams in the National League East in attendance. The Braves have drawn over 37,000 (90% capacity at SunTrust Park) fans for 12 of their 34 home games and just last week, they averaged 31,000 for a two-game midweek series against the Mets, with one of the games starting at 12 pm.
The fan support is showing up in areas outside of attendance, as well. MLB has released two updates for the all-star fan vote with Braves players leading the way. The latest update shows that Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis are the leading vote-getters among National League players and there is a Brave in the top three spots of every position in which the fans are able to vote.
While the fans from Atlanta are getting behind a young and fun Braves team, it hasn’t stopped with just the Braves. Across town, fans continue to pack Mercedes-Benz Stadium for Atlanta United games and United fans are stuffing the all-star ballots, as well.
Being labeled as a bad sports town has always been a bit unfair to the city of Atlanta. Atlanta is a huge transplant city, which has always limited the amount of die-hard locals willing to attend sporting events in the city. The state of Georgia and surrounding states have never been shy about supporting their local teams, but a large part of the fanbases for Atlanta sports teams live outside the city, leaving them unable to regularly attend games. When specifically talking about the Braves fanbase, you have to account for the large spread that was birthed by the team’s time on TBS. A lot of the die-hard Braves fans, even those from Georgia, live two-plus hours away from the city of Atlanta. They were able to become fans because the team was on in their living room every night for decades. That’s how I became a fan of the Braves while living in Jonesboro, AR and I’m guessing my situation—being 7 hours from Atlanta—isn’t all that different from some people in the more remote parts of Georgia.
It seems like with the birth of a soccer team they can call their own, and a rebuilding effort in baseball that has allowed local fans to become more invested in the team’s new beginning, some Atlanta teams have gained the fans from inside the city that they were once missing. And sure, sprinkling around some of that new stadium magic dust hasn’t hurt matters, either.
As it stands, the cries of Atlanta being a bad sports town are dead. Now it is the duty of the teams in Atlanta to put winning products on the field to get their fans to stay.