Toronto is and has forever been the sports mecca of Canada. It’s the only city in the country to have an NHL, MLB and NBA team. Not to mention having the luxury of an MLS and CFL team. With this many teams, come various different fan bases. There’s Leafs Nation, We The North, Red Patch Boys and Jays fans (less fun nickname) and as you can expect, they’re all unique and specific to the sport and that team. The question however, is which fan base is the best?
Using nine different traits (some more important than others) that defines a fan, I graded each team’s supporters. Below is each trait and the amount of points assigned to it:
Loyalty – 5
Passion – 4
Stadium Presence (Loudness, full/empty) – 3
Team Merch – 3
Knowledge – 3
Optimism – 3
Positive/Negative Views Of Team – 2
Respect – 1
Toronto Maple Leafs A.K.A Leafs Nation
This group might just be the most passionate fans in hockey as long as the team is doing well. From this passion, comes a ruthless, cut-throat reaction to any unfavourable happenings on the ice. If you don’t believe me, search “William Nylander” on Twitter. One of the better things about this fan base is that just about everyone has a parent or grandparent who owns a Leafs Wendel Clark or Darryl Sitler jersey so it’s not hard to rep your team, even if the jersey is older than you are.
No matter the performance of the team, there’s always a full crowd. This stems from the enormity that is Leafs Nation and the corporate strangle hold surrounding MLSE. There’s no real statistic that shows how many tickets go to companies per year but, according to this CBC article: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/leafs-tickets-1.4613313 about 90% of all tickets are held by season ticket holders, scalpers and corporations. Sooo yeah, no wonder, the Leafs have one of the more disappointing crowd experiences in the league. The first 10 rows are filled with suits who are too important to cheer and that energy is dispersed throughout the Scotiabank Arena. Fans can’t even get a “GO LEAFS GO” chant for more than seven seconds.
FAN GRADE: D+
Improvements to be made: cheaper/more available tickets so more exciting people can go to the games, Cheaper beer at games so at least people will have the courage to start up a wave or something, less internet slander (you try being 20 and playing hockey against the best players in the world)
Toronto Blue Jays Nickname TBD
The majority of this fan base remembers the good old days when the team used to play in Exhibition stadium and won two straight World Series in the early 90’s. Outside of that, the only real attention that has been given to this team in 15 years was the run of success of 2015-2017 (2015-16 really). In the five-year span of 1989-1993, the average attendance of a game was 47,775 and in years when they were much less successful (99-2013) they averaged only 24,741 which is just about half. Fans don’t consistently go to ball games but the ones that do have fun. Even when they aren’t doing well and there’s less than 20,000 people in the stadium, a wave always seems to break out and that infamous slow clap when your pitcher is up 0-2 in the count is inevitable. The spirits are always high at Jays games because any game can truly be won.
Just about everyone in and around Toronto, fan or not, has a Blue Jays hat. Aside from that, there’s not much excitement or knowledge from the fans outside of star players like Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista or Roy Halladay. Not many people can name any of the irregular players and didn’t know Randal Grichuck was making consistent plays last season. However, the fans have a generally positive view towards players and rarely make harsh comments unless they’re directed towards management (minus the whole Lyle Overbay “Overpaid” situation).
FAN GRADE: C
Improvements to be made: Start going out to more games! 500 level seats are inexpensive and that’s probably where you’ll have the most fun
Toronto Raptors A.K.A We The North
The in-arena experience at Raptors games are unmatched. The pace of the game hooks everybody in and between the music and the stadium announcer, a rich energy is felt throughout the building. Passion resides in the hearts of all Raptors fans. The intensity of passion overflows into the online world generating a reputation for the North. So much so that Ben Golliver and Andrew Sharpe from Sports Illustrated’s Open Floor podcast consistently refer to us as termites.
The more stylish nature of their uniforms is making it more appealing for fans (especially younger) to actually want to wear what the Raptors are putting out there. From the re-hyping of the vintage purple to the new era of gold OVO. We haven’t always been around for the ups and downs of this team but when we are, we’re the best fans in the league. Ask Lebron: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ddtPkviAPQ
When the GOAT acknowledges your fan base, there’s not a whole lot of negative things to say.
FAN GRADE: A
Improvements to be made: Stop buying Kawhi Leonard OVO jerseys, you look like bandwagonner.
TFC Red Patch Boys
Whether it’s TFC or not, soccer fans in general are some of the rowdiest people on the face of this Earth. From constant chants throughout the game to the wild post goal celebrations, TFC fans are always eager to encourage the home team to a victory. The nature of soccer is that either team can win just about any game because of a lucky bounce or a fantastic keeper and TFC fans embrace that. Every single game is their teams to lose.
During bad seasons, and there’s been a few of them, fans still show up to every game wearing TFC red and rooting for the home team. This fan base is probably the smallest of the four but it has the most “true” fans. The team was awarded to the city in 2005 and didn’t play their first game until 2007. In the short span of 12 years, popularity has grown so much that they’ve had to extra seating to the stadium.
FAN GRADE: A (a bit higher than Raptors)