I hear this a lot: Cleveland is a Browns town, Cleveland is an Indians town, or Cleveland is a Cavs town. I’m here to tell you that it isn’t a football, baseball, or basketball town. Cleveland, Ohio is a sports town. All of the above! I was born and raised in Northeast Ohio and I’ve lived in different parts of this country as an athlete and as a fan. There are very few cities in this country that embody an all-around sports fan like Cleveland does. Some places are one or two, but not many are all in like this.
You need proof? That’s the easy part. I remember the 1995 and 1997 Indians. All those great players, a new age murders row lineup, and all those comeback wins. Those crowds would shake the Earth. In September of 2017 the Tribe reached a monumental 22 game winning streak. The crowd that night felt like a World Series game late in October. How about your Cleveland Cavaliers? The Richfield Coliseum used to house Mark Price, Craig Ehlo, and Brad Daugherty, among others while we packed that hothouse to watch them. Then one of our own showed up and kept a promise by bringing us that long-awaited title, as LeBron James and the 2016 Cavs brought the NBA Championship to the shores of Lake Erie. Almost two million fans showed up to the parade making us a basketball town for the moment. Hell, even the Cleveland Monsters AHL hockey team broke a franchise playoff record for attendance in a game in 2016 on their way to the Calder Cup. Cleveland sports fans will show up to support all their teams.
Now on to the big boy in the room today. The Cleveland Browns as we all know can bring the fan noise to a record level. We all remember the devastation when the franchise left and the extreme excitement when they returned. I can admit this; nobody itches more for success than a Browns fan. The entire culture of this franchise changed in the matter of one half of football when Baker Mayfield went under center for the first time. The expectations for this Browns team coming into the 2019 season is at an all-time high. Go to sports talk media, go to social media and you will see what this football team is doing to, and for their fans before the season even gets close.
It doesn’t matter what sport you put in front of a Clevelander at any given time, they will show up in masses, and probably be more passionate than your cities fans are, and for more of their teams. Cleveland, Ohio isn’t a one sport town, or even one team town. It is a sports city for each one of their beloved sports teams. You don’t believe what I am telling you? I invite you to show up, to any game and see for yourself. I’m going to warn you now, it’s going to be loud, and it’s going to be fun!