Rerun: Fan loyalties in Louisville

Louisvillians are often subjected to the idea that the fan allegiance of local residents is equally divided between the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky, even among those who should know better.

Rick Pitino, for example.

Do your research, coach. It’s not true.

Not even close, according to the most recent Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll, which was conducted in 2005. The poll should have settled the issue once and for all. But UK fans and some media types, who missed or ignored the front page story, tend to be research-challenged , or who count on the forgetfulness of the general public, persist in advancing the misconception.

That’s why the observer keeps a copy of the results, hopeful that the facts will make their way to the misinformed or blissfully ignorant. The poll indicated:

  • Fans of Louisville Cardinals basketball outnumbered Kentucky Wildcat fans by 53.7% to 33.3% in the Louisville area.
  • Fans of Louisville football weighed in at 61.3%, as compared to 20.8% for Kentucky football.

Courier-Journal columnist Eric Crawford, who was deeply involved in the poll and wrote the CJ story about the results, told Card Game:

“The project used one of the largest samples of any of the Bluegrass State polls, owing to the diversity of the population that follows sports. It was far larger a sample, for instance, than a gubernatorial or presidential poll we would have taken in the state. It also came at an opportune time: Both UK and U of L were doing exceptionally well in basketball. U of L was on its way to a Final Four, while UK was within an eyelash of getting there, too.”

The results reinforced the results of the  Yankelovich study the Courier-Journal conducted a decade or so ago, showing Louisville with a similar lead in both sports.

Neither of polls took into consideration the bandwagon factor, people who switch favorites depending on how well one or the other is doing. Some will apparently jump from a loser to a winner in a heartbeat. Also, football teams going in different directions might affect the numbers slightly. And, as we’ve seen, a new hire in basketball will definitely raise the decibel levels.

But for the most part, fan loyalties tend to be deeply entrenched. Doubtful that the ratios have changed much. Or that the mistaken pronouncements about the fan ratios, intentional or unintentional, will fade away any time soon.

Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

2 thoughts on “Rerun: Fan loyalties in Louisville”

  1. We DO usually feel outnumbered, at least I do. I attribute that to Cats fans being more, ah– “vociferous”, to put it politely.

    1. One UK fan is one too many. Those yokels are too aggressive. We need another national championship soon.

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