Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
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In case you didn’t already hear about it…the entire sports community of Columbus, OH seems to have its collective panties in a twist because of a comment that Buckeye football coach Urban Meyer made during a recent interview. In the closing statements of the interview, Meyer was asked what should lure Georgia’s high profile recruits to Columbus and he answered like this, “You get a premium education with the opportunity to go compete for a national championship in a large city that really has no professional sports team. There’s a lot to be offered up here.”
You can read the full article here.
Instantly the Columbus Crew, Clippers, and Blue Jackets fans were pissed. How can Urban act like those sports don’t count? How dare he show such blatant disrespect for the other sports in this great city? Well…the answer is this…he didn’t.
You see, Urban Meyer didn’t say anything that isn’t true. The fact of the matter is that Columbus doesn’t host any top tier professional sports. In my mind, Major League Baseball, the NFL, and the NBA comprise the upper echelon of professional sports. I’m sorry hockey fans, but the NHL is not one of those top tier sports. If it was, ESPN would carry it…they don’t…and there’s a reason. At best, the NHL is a second tier sport.
Hockey, despite its recent rise in popularity, especially in Columbus, is still very much a niche sport. Not everyone, including myself, fully appreciates what’s happening on the ice and viewership suffers because of it. Low viewership equals less money for media outlets that carry the sport, and we know how ESPN feels about money. Still don’t believe me? Head down to Nationwide when the Jackets aren’t doing so hot and that place is a ghost town. Ohio State was selling out games the year Luke Fickell was head coach and we almost lost to Indiana!
The same can be said for the Columbus Crew as well. Are they a professional sports team? Absolutely they are. But nobody in their right mind is going to dispute the fact that the worst team in the NFL (the Cleveland Browns) still draws more eyes every Sunday than the Columbus Crew draws in a month. The reasoning for this is the same as hockey, nobody really understands the game.
And then there’s the good old Columbus Clippers…ring your bell everyone! I am a delusional and diehard Cubs fan, and since I can’t afford regular trips to Wrigley, the Clippers are my go to source for live baseball. They have a great stadium with a great atmosphere. But are people ordering the sports package from their cable provider in order to watch Clippers games on TV? No. Maybe a few truly dedicated fans will watch road games on TV, but most people go to the ballpark a few times a year…and typically it’s for 10 cent hotdogs on special nights. I mean come on, the Clippers have won a couple of national titles in the last few years and their park is still mostly empty for a night game on a week day…I’ve been there…I know.
Now, let’s return to Meyer’s statement. Was he really out of line? Absolutely not. Whether we like it or not, the professional sports that are in Columbus don’t hold a candle to Buckeye football. The Buckeyes are the biggest draw in town, both at the stadium and on television. So when it comes to recruiting, that means that Meyer can tell his prospects that when they come to Columbus, they’re automatically the biggest thing in town. Is this feeding their ego? Sure it is. But if you haven’t noticed…that’s what recruiting is all about!
Now I know that many of our readers are fans of these professional teams, I get that. But Urban Meyer has the right to act like the Buckeyes are the biggest thing in town…because THEY ARE. That’s just the way it is.