A region-wide survey of sports fans shows that the management and players of the Boston Red Sox have some serious image problems. The online survey conducted by Channel Media & Market Research, Inc. reflects interviews with almost 8,000 fans across New England. The results to three questions jump out at us as indicative of the mood of The Nation in 2012. The key areas in question are: progression of the team over the last five years, ownership performance over the last five years, and suggested improvements. Here are the results for the Red Sox:
1.) First, an astounding 70% of respondents think the Red Sox "are changing for the worse" over the last five years—while a minuscule 4% feel they are "changing for the better". Keep in mind that five years ago, this franchise won a World Series Championship. Clearly, the decline that began in September of 2011—and continues to this very day—is not lost on the fan base.
2.) Second, when fans assess the performance of ownership over the last five years, the Red Sox trio of John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino suffer harsh judgement. Sox owners finish behind the owners of the Patriots, Celtics and Bruins on their performance over the last half-decade.
3. Third, when pressed for what the Red Sox can do to improve on their current situation, "making better player personnel decisions" tops the list, followed closely by getting rid of underperforming players. Freeing the GM and manager from ownership interference finished third, followed by making tickets more accessible, and better understanding fan needs.
While the NOG keeps in touch with the fan base through their own survey research, these independent results should serve as a wake-up call to an increasingly isolated and detached ownership group.