Red Sox's popularity falls in New England after another unimpressive offseason

Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox / Paul Rutherford/GettyImages

The usual choruses of "Sweet Caroline" ringing from Fenway Park may be a little quieter this season, probably because more of the people in the crowd at Boston Red Sox games won't know the words as well as born and bred Bostonians do.

Boston has long been thought of as a baseball town. Fenway Park is arguably the most iconic landmark in the city and baseball is engrained into the fabric of Bostonian identity. Whether it be the bitterness of an 86-year championship drought or their newfound success of the past two decades, there's always a reason to talk about the Red Sox in Boston.

The Red Sox have been the second-favorite sports team in New England for quite some time, as the Patriots' dominance since 2000 can't be overlooked or overstated. But a survey conducted by Channel Media & Market Research shows that New England's second-favorite sports team is now a tie between the Red Sox and the Celtics.

The Sox's popularity has fallen while the Celtics' has risen to meet them. The Celtics have multiple Finals appearances to their name in the past decade and their 2024 performance has been the most impressive in the NBA.

Red Sox's fall from grace in the eyes of fans is the fault of ownership

Meanwhile, according to polls taken by The Athletic, Red Sox fans' outlook of the team is strikingly pessimistic — the fourth-worst in MLB. Only A's, White Sox and Rockies fans think they have it worse this season, and just 12.2% of Red Sox fans polled have a positive outlook for the club.

To put that number into perspective, the Red Sox had 38.5% of fans report a positive outlook for the team in 2023 and a staggering 88% in 2022 following Boston's unexpected ALCS appearance. the Los Angeles Angels lost Shohei Ohtani — who is quickly making his case as one of the best baseball players of all time — this offseason and, somehow, they're happier with the state of their team than Sox fans are.

There are still plenty of tickets available for Opening Day at Fenway Park on April 9. The Sox are playing a divisional opponent, honoring the 2004 curse-breaking World Series club and the life of Boston icon Tim Wakefield, and all of that isn't enough to convince Red Sox fans to sell it out a few weeks in advance. Admission for the game the next day is going for as low as $14, which is shocking for an American League East matchup at Fenway Park.

The front office should expect nothing less. The grim situation the Red Sox find themselves in was entirely manufactured by ownership — making promises to improve the team and then not fulfilling them is a bad way to go about keeping a fanbase engaged.

Red Sox Nation has stuck with the team through four years of a rebuild, and the fifth seems to be the final straw. Tickets aren't selling like they used to, undoubtedly because of ownership's plans to sell "the Fenway experience" rather than a decent team.

But the real "Fenway experience" is Red Sox fans. It's the passion, cynicism and probably the Boston accents that keep people coming back ... even the visitors.

And without the support of Red Sox die-hards, ownership has nothing.

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