Bucks in a Rut

the team isn’t making my fan base quest any the team isn’t making my fan base quest any easier

Luc Anthony

Last autumn, I began Operation Buck ‘Em Up. This noble mission set out to increase the fan base of, and overall passion towards, the Milwaukee Bucks in the Chippewa Valley. This column solicited the suggestions of readers of Athletic Aesthetic on what the Bucks could do to become more noticeable in our part of the state. Here is a sampling of these suggestions:

“I suppose I should have figured that if part of the impetus for Operation Buck ‘Em Up was a lack of a Bucks fan base amongst readers of this column, then perhaps there may not be many – or any – people who would actually care to offer a solution. Sure, there was one online commenter who noted that he and his roommates are Bucks fans. Great, now I know of four.”

The proceeding paragraph proves my point about the Milwaukee Bucks’ atrophic support in western Wisconsin. Sure, you can say that the NBA’s decision to make the Eau Claire area part of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ TV broadcast zone has had the effect of blacking-out the Bucks since the beginning of this decade. You can also say that the Bucks have played poorly enough for most of the last two decades (the 2000-01 Conference Finals run and a handful of playoff seasons notwithstanding) that there should be no surprise that people do not have much reason to root for the Bucks.

Yet, I have said and will continue to say that a team that shows it cares about winning (even if the wins come infrequently) and, more importantly, shows it cares about all of its potential fans, will receive interest in turn from said fans. There may be structural barriers to building a strong NBA fan base throughout Wisconsin, what with the Packers and Badgers dominating our sports RAM – a problem made worse by the now-significant level of interest in Brewers’ baseball reaching towards the outer reaches of the state. We may only have so much we can care about, and when a team does not give us any reason (through its players, on-court performance, style, marketing) to care about it, we will toss it aside in favor of the teams we already follow.