Apparently Losing, Child Molestation Make Sports Teams Less Popular

Apparently all that “not winning” is keeping the Phillies from filling up Citizens Bank Park the way they used to when they were … winning. The Inquirer reports that “through 62 home dates, the Phils have averaged 6,007 fewer fans per game in 2013 than last season. That drop is eclipsed only by the sad-sack Miami Marlins, who are drawing 9,196 fewer people per game.”

Even at that rate, though, the Phillies aren’t doing that badly. Overall, the team ranks “sixth in baseball this season with an average attendance of 38,418. That’s pretty good for a fourth-place team.”

Still, it’s easy to see how the Phillies can regain their luster: Start winning again. It could happen as soon as next year! (Even if Ruben Amaro Jr. is still in charge.) Something that’s harder to fix: A child molestation scandal. Which means that Penn State is going to have a very tough time solving this problem:

The amount of money Penn State received in royalties from its licensed merchandise is down more than $700,000 from last year and almost a $1 million from the peak level two years ago.

The university released the figures Monday in response to a request last week after the Collegiate Licensing Co. issued its annual rankings that showed Penn State had fallen from No. 12 to No. 19 on its list of top royalty-earning universities. The ranking didn’t include the dollar amounts.

Now, the football team—the only one that really matters at Penn State—didn’t suck last year. But they didn’t go to a bowl game, and won’t for three more years because of the Jerry Sandusky probation.  So maybe people are just on the postseason bandwagon.

But it’s also just damned hard to be publicly identified as a Penn State supporter these days, because, well, let’s put it this way: If you were playing a word association game these days, and you said “Penn State,” the other person would probably respond with “Jerry Sandusky.” Which means when somebody sees that Nittany Lion on your sweatshirt, they’re almost immediately thinking about a child molester. Unfair? Yeah, probably. But reality nonetheless. In any case, it doesn’t really create an atmosphere for moving merchandise. That’s going to take years, if recovery is even possible. Unlike the Phillies, Penn State can’t simply win its way out of that bad situation.