The New York Yankees – Boston Red Sox rivalry merely simmered last season as the Red Sox battled a spate of injuries and finished third in the American League East while the Yankees cruised to another playoff appearance. But, the two teams continued vying for at least one title — that of most popular team in sports, at least among ticket buyers.
The Yankees ended 2010 as the most-searched team among the four major American professional sports on ticket search engine FanSnap.com, while the Red Sox finished third. The World Series champion San Francisco Giants finished second.
“The Yankees are really popular nationally and worldwide,” FanSnap spokesman Christian Anderson told the Boston Herald. “In terms of franchises, they are way ahead of every other team.”
FanSnap’s data revealed that searches for Yankees tickets outpaced those for Red Sox tickets by 114 percent.
The news wasn’t all bad for Boston: The other major professional teams based in the city fared quite well in the FanSnap survey. The NBA’s Celtics, which lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in a classic seven-game NBA Finals, finished fourth while the NHL’s Bruins, which seemed headed for the Stanley Cup last season before squandering a three-games-to-none lead over the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinals, placed 10th.
The Red Sox are likely to gain on the Yankees this year, both in secondary ticket sales and within the AL East. While the Sox have made the splashiest moves of the off-season by signing outfielder Carl Crawford, acquiring first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and rebuilding a bullpen that was the team’s weakness last year, the Yankees lost out on the object of their affections, star pitcher Cliff Lee.
The Sox will almost surely add another season’s worth of capacity crowds to their MLB-record streak of 631 straight sellouts at cozy Fenway Park. Of course, the Yankees won’t have to worry about too many empty seats at the new Yankee Stadium, where, for the second straight year in 2010, they drew the most fans in the American League (an average crowd of 46,491).