I’ve been a diehard sports fan for my whole life. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always been drawn to obscure teams that have no geographical link to my hometown. My favourite team selection process ended with me choosing the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves, and Colorado Avalanche as a youngin’.
Out of all three of those teams, I’ve only ever seen a home game (twice) in Kansas City. That means that the majority of the games I’ve seen have been on the road, and has required me to rep my teams’ colours in other teams’ stadiums. I find that there’s a sweet spot with this sort of thing. As a home fan, you don’t want visiting fans to be able to take over your stadium with cheering and what not, but you also don’t want to cross any lines. It’s worth noting that the only city I refuse to see a game in is Philadelphia, whose fans have a long history of violence towards opposing fans.
A new entry to my bucket list is to cheer for the visiting team while wearing their jersey in all 32 NFL stadiums.
— Brian Braun-Duin (@NotDuinIt) December 16, 2022
I actually prefer seeing games on the road, as it gives you more of an opportunity to meet and chat with fellow fans that have also travelled to see your team play. Here is a quick breakdown of all the cities I’ve wore visiting colours in:
Chiefs: @Buffalo, @Seattle, @Cincinnati, @Indianapolis
Braves: @Toronto, @Pittsburgh, @Cleveland, @San Francisco
Avalanche: @Toronto, @Vancouver
Of course, the treatment from other fans depends on a few factors. These include the sport being played, how important of a game it is, the weather, etc. Nonetheless, I felt like I got enough of an idea about each city to form some conclusions. Here is how the cities I’ve been to stack up against each other.
Absolute breeze to rep your team’s gear in: Vancouver & Seattle
I was shocked to find out that nobody says a word to you in either of these cities for repping the visiting team. I think it’s a good representation of the north west coast in general, where people tend to be a bit more closed off to conversation, especially with strangers. This means that you’ll rarely have anyone playfully razz you for your jersey, but also means that it’s a safe spot to cheer on your team.
Respectful fans that will give you a light-hearted comment or two: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh & San Francisco
It seems like home fans in these cities are well educated on their teams and sport in general, and are welcoming to all of those who respect the game enough to visit their ballparks. I had no issues at any of these stadiums, and had some cool conversations with other fans about insights into some of their players, cool things to check out in their cities, and so on.
PNC Park forever and always pic.twitter.com/X1nGjtQdkl
— BaseballHistoryNut (@nut_history) May 8, 2023
Generally reasonable fanbases that can get a bit rowdy: Toronto & Indianapolis
Toronto is a pretty crazed fan base, and it’s kind of a mixed bag as to what kind of reaction you’ll get from people. Hockey tends to bring out more of the diehards than baseball, so you may get some comments or a beer ‘accidentally’ spilt on you at a game. The game I went to in Indianapolis was a playoff game, which was super rowdy. I had people not only at the game, but around the city, razzing and chirping me for my Chiefs gear. Since they lost the game, I couldn’t get out of there soon enough.
Rabid fanbase with the odd bit of discrimination: Buffalo
Look, I really respect Buffalo Bills fans. They’ve had a tortured history, losing four straight Super Bowls in the early 1990’s, but their fans still come out in full force. I believe it is the best tailgating experience in football, as it’s truly a party atmosphere in the parking lots before the game. Because the fans are diehard, it’s common to get a beer spilt on you or some aggressive behaviour from fans. I’ve had at least 4 or 5 situations that have been a bit sketchy, but it’s unlikely that anything bad will happen if you aren’t instigating the trouble. Most fans respect the game enough to stick up for you if they see something that crosses the line.
Let’s throw a tailgate in Buffalo…. WHODEY Nation showed up!! Bills Mafia said they have never seen anything like it – come in, take over @bengaltrailer | @bengaljims_BTR | @Bengals pic.twitter.com/kBeAxeQ5fI
— Bengal Trailer (@bengaltrailer) January 23, 2023
There’s nothing like standing up after a big play and locating a fellow fan five rows over and giving them a high five. I can’t wait to continue to check out visiting stadiums while repping my team. I’ll be heading to Detroit to see the Braves play next month. I look forward to seeing what kind of interactions we run into.