A Tale of Two Coasts: The 2018 Major League Baseball World Series

Entertainment | 10-26-2018

There are 3,000 miles between Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles and Fenway Park in Boston. That’s 45 hours on the road, or just under five-and-a-half hours by air. The distance between the two parks hosting the 2018 Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series, however, is far wider than the lifestyle differences between fans of the two ball clubs.

If the 2018 World Series were determined solely by the number of local fans, the Los Angeles Dodgers would win. According to Nielsen Scarborough Research, more than 5.3 million adults watched, attended or listened to a Dodgers game this year in the Los Angeles area, ranking the team second in local fans only to the New York Yankees. The Boston Red Sox have a stout fan base as well, ranking fifth among MLB clubs for the number of local fans.

While their local fan base at just over 3.6 million is smaller than their 2018 World Series rival, the Red Sox have reached the World Series more often—the fourth time in 15 seasons, which is more frequently than any other team. And, the Red Sox have won the World Series on each of their last three appearances (2004, 2007, 2013).

The local Red Sox fan base peaked at nearly 3.7 million 2014, right after their last national championship. This is the second consecutive year for the Dodgers to make a World Series appearance after falling short in a seven-game series against the Houston Astros in 2017. The last time the Dodgers competed in two successive World Series was 40 years ago, according to Gracenote Sports, losing both titles against the New York Yankees. The Dodgers fan base has experienced a recent upward trend, gaining nearly one million fans following the 2017 World Series appearance.

The Boston media market is smaller than Los Angeles yet has a higher concentration of locals supporting their home team with 62% of adults having watched, attended or listened to a Red Sox game, compared to 37% of locals in the Los Angeles area.

Dodgers fans have shown support for their home team in buying MLB apparel. One-quarter of Dodgers fans purchased items with team logos in the past 12 months, according to Nielsen Scarborough Research.

Red Sox and Dodgers fans are also fans of beer, with 54% of fans in both markets consuming beer in the last month. Beer is the go-to alcohol beverage of 30% of Red Sox fans in Boston compared to 24% Dodgers fans in Los Angeles.

Perhaps Dodgers fans are more health conscious than their rival Red Sox fans, being more likely to eat organic foods, while Red Sox fans are more likely to consume snacks like pretzels, chips, popcorn and frozen pizza.

The Red Sox and Dodgers contested one other World Series against each other. The first was 102 years ago when the Boston Red Sox won 4-1 against the Dodgers, who were then based in Brooklyn and known as the Brooklyn Robins.

The best of seven game series began October 23.

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