December 06, 2011
The Celtics are not quite the championship contender they were from 2007 to 2010, but they still have a strong brand as a very good team of tough veterans. It's a style that matches their city, too, or at least its image of itself. On top of that, that toughness also helps Boston stand out from more casual arena environments like Los Angeles and Miami. Those franchises have hardcore fans, but their median fan tends to be less boisterous than a random dude in section 321 of the Garden named Sully O'Patrickigal.
Boston's marketing department realizes that, apparently, because their new ticket ad trumps up the passion of their faithful. In doing so, it also knocks Heat and Laker fans, specifically noting that their home-court venue isn't Hollywood or South Beach. In their eyes, it's a tougher environment where fans are as important to the experience as the players on the court. It's not rooting on a team -- it's animating them.
It's easy to see why Heat and Lakers fans would be upset about this ad, but it's also hard to argue with the premise. In L.A. and Miami, the general atmosphere is one of star appreciation, which is present in Boston but altogether more focused on screaming and yelling for the cause of victory. Where the ad becomes problematic is in its suggestion that this brand somehow makes Boston a home for truer sports fans. These are differences of approach, not quality.