South Florida is one of the best places to live in the United States. It has great weather, beautiful beaches and plenty of options for things to do. As a sports region however, it tends to get a lot of negative attention. Perhaps the biggest knock on South Florida sports is that its fans are often referred to as ‘fair weather’ because of lagging attendance when a team is struggling.
While that is a fair distinction, it isn’t the only thing that should be considered when looking at what kind of sports region South Florida is. There are several factors that should be measured in order to truly analyze how good or bad a sports town may be. Here are the top reasons why South Florida is a great sports region.
Lots Of Teams
South Florida is one of the lucky places in North America for sports fans. It has a team in each of the major sports and several top-level college teams as well. Professionally there’s the Miami Marlins for MLB, the Miami Dolphins for NFL, Miami Heat for NBA, Florida Panthers for NHL and (hopefully) soon we’ll get official word about a Major League Soccer team as well. At the collegiate level the University of Miami has always been the top dog in town but schools like Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University are emerging as additional college teams that are playing at a high level.
Great Sports Weather
One of the reasons that people from around the globe flock to South Florida is that the weather is gorgeous. Sure, it gets hot and there is the occasional hurricane, but overall it’s a great place to be weather-wise. That especially applies for sports games. While the heat can bother some people, it’s been a clear advantage for teams like the Dolphins and Hurricanes when opponents come into town and can’t handle the warmth and humidity. As for the arena teams, it’s rare when fans have to deal with rain as they make their way from the parking lot to their seats. Compare that to almost every other sports town where fans have to deal with snow, freezing temperatures and tons of clothing during the non-summer leagues.
This is an area that South Florida fans have been a bit spoiled, especially now. The Heat’s downtown arena is amazingly modern and fan-friendly. The Marlins have a brand new stadium with a retractable roof that is considered one of the best in baseball. Up in Sunrise, the Panthers arena is truly one of the better places to watch a hockey game in the NHL. It’s spacious, easy to get to and has all the modern amenities of buildings that are just a year or two old (it opened in 1999, FYI). The blemish on this list would be the stadium that the Dolphins call home, but that’s in the process of changing. Over the next year and a half there is a $400 million renovation that’s going into Sun Life Stadium, changing everything from the seats to the scoreboards and even an overhead shelter to shield fans from the sun and rain while leaving the field out in the open.
Something that can’t be argued is that sports fans in South Florida know their stuff. Regardless of the sport, fans know their teams inside and out. They follow each roster move and analyze every trade and draft pick. These fans have been following their sports teams for most of their lives and that has trickled down generation after generation. Are the fans spoiled? Are they of the ‘fair weather’ variety? Well, based on the attendance figures over the years it’s hard to argue otherwise. South Florida isn’t the only place that happens though. Far from it, actually. But for whatever reason, this region gets the more attention for that aspect than any other.
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