I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day regarding fandom. Before I get to the topic, I think it would appropriate to share just a little bit of information about my Pacers’ background. I am not from Indy. I became a Pacers’ fan immediately after watching the Rifleman, Reggie & Co. battle the Celtics in the playoffs and I haven’t looked back since. I wasn’t alive during the glorious ABA days, nor during the "save the Pacers telethon” movement. In other words, my perspective as a fan is quite different than many others.
So, when my friend asked me if I’d still be a Pacers’ fan if they left Indy, without hesitation I answered, “yes.” My point was that my fandom wasn’t developed by any loyalty to the state, or the city of Indianapolis (certainly no offense to Indy dwellers, I hear great things). It was developed through my connection to that Rifleman-led team, and the continued fandom/obsession of the team throughout the years. So, if they moved, it wouldn’t be all that different than what I’ve been dealing with already: rooting for a team that plays in a city to which I likely don’t have any ties.
My friend's point was that you if you’re a fan of a team, you’re also a fan of the city/state it plays in. You’re a fan of that team’s tradition, highs and lows, etc., and if that team moved, it would be some sort of quasi betrayal to continue rooting for the franchise at a different location.
I understand both sides of the debate, and I’m curious to know how others feel. If you’re from Indy and the Pacers had to move for whatever reason, would you still root for them at their new location? Would you sever ties and wait for the Pacers to be brought back to Indy? What about if you’re not from Indy? Would it be easier for you to move your fandom along with the team? Would you condemn others for rooting for the team in a new city/state?
I’m certainly not trying to create any division with this post, just simply curious. My hope is that the Pacers stay in Indy forever and that I never have to actually deal with the proposed scenario. But, what if…?