A couple of items in the Sunday Houston Chronicle caught my eye. The first was that the MLS Houston Dynamo played to more than a full house in their game with Seattle at the same time the Houston Texans were playing their first pre season NFL game across town at Reliant Stadium before 70,000.
What this shows is that despite the preponderance of air time and newspaper space devoted to football other sports are doing fine. But it should not have been a surprise. Its been that way around here for years.
The fact is that while football has the most people who follow every game, the Astros, Rockets and Dynamo do very well anyway. Obviously it is easier to follow every game when a team only plays 20 times a year as NFL teams do, but there are many sports fans who don’t follow American football number one, but as a secondary sport to soccer, baseball or basketball.
Want more evidence? Remember when the Astros were good? OK that was at least five years ago, but when they would go head to head with the Texans neither team suffered. The Astros would be pulling in their 30-35,000 at Minute Maid Park while the Texans had their 70,000 in the same day.
In his Sunday column Ken Hoffman made note that the Astros will end the home season this year against the Yankees in what would be Mariano Rivera’s final game ever should the Yanks fail to make the playoffs. He wonders what sort of crowd would be on hand while the Texans are at Reliant Stadium playing Seattle. His comment, (or a comment attributed to his Pet of the Week) was that, “When push comes to shove , this town isn’t big enough to pack both games.” How quickly it is forgotten that that has been done before.
Whether THIS year’s Astro team can draw more than 25,000 for the finale with the Yankees opposite the Texans is something else. But I would have to think that a crowd like that supporting a 105 loss team in a totally meaningless game–except for Mr. Rivera– would be pretty darn good.
The real point of all this is that not everyone ranks their sports in Houston–or anywhere else–always in the same order: 1. NFL 2. everyone else. Houston has a lot of 1. Soccer and 2. everyone else as well as those who favor baseball or basketball over King Football. The population of 4-million in Harris County and 6-million plus in the market is more than enough to support more than just the Texans.
This isn’t Green Bay.