Columbus is constantly referred to as a “college sports town” both by residents as well as outsiders who know little about Columbus outside of the fact that it is the home of the Buckeyes. While the last decade has given us the rise of two major league teams (the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets and the MLS Columbus Crew) many locals still laugh at the notion of soccer and hockey being real “major league” sports.
While it is true that baseball, football, and basketball are still the top three national pastimes in America, what I think many fail to acknowledge is the international appeal of these other two games that Columbus is home to. Soccer is widely regarded as the most popular sport in the world, and while ice hockey might be a bit further down the list, it’s still got a big following in the colder regions of the world who don’t quite have the climate for year-round soccer.
What does this mean for Columbus? Not a lot when we have losing teams. But as it’s been mentioned in the news the past few weeks, the MLS Cup was broadcast and watched the world over. To have our Columbus Crew competing, winning, and well supported by our local fans is a huge day in the spotlight for our city on the global stage. The same could be said for the Blue Jackets whenever they manage to find their time in the spotlight.
I don’t think we’ll see “the tide turning” anytime soon. College sports will continue to attract more locals to tune in for quite some time to come. Just keep it in the back of your mind that while scarlet and gray apparel continues to outsell black and gold, our real major league sports teams are busy making Columbus a global city that could potentially draw new international citizens and businesses to relocate to a place where their interests can be welcomed too.
Columbus: Warm Enough for Futbol, Cold enough for Hockey