Paolino: Why Tanking is Tanking Sports



The Miami Marlins’ LoanDepot Park is often sparsely filled with fans due to the team’s poor record.

Richie Paolino, Sports Reporter

Most of the time, diehard fans all over the world will scream and holler at their favorite team in hope of one day winning a championship — most of the time.

There’s always a few teams in each respective sport that simply just lack talent and have no way of having anything close to a successful season.

The most common way these teams try to change their losing ways? 


Lose as many games as they possibly can.

Teams like the 0-16 Cleveland Browns and the 10-72 “Process” Philadelphia 76ers had some of the worst seasons of all time. They were so bad that their own fed up fans would throw paper bags over their heads in pure embarrassment of how truly awful the teams were. 

Slogans such as “Tank for Tua!” have fans trying to take their mind off their abysmal season and hope they can land their savior to get them out from the bottom of the pit.

Tanking isn’t relatively new in sports, either; it could be seen when the 1983-84 Houston Rockets started to bench players for a better draft pick, where they selected Hakeem Olajuwon, but it has been more relevant than ever with multiple teams playing for their futures.

While sports leagues will always have great and bad teams, leagues and fans turn a blind eye to the seriousness of teams purposely losing.

“I think tanking does taint the fan experience,” said Jared Kotler, host of the CT Score Podcast. “Why it may pay off in the long run, tanking can alienate fans and really turn them away from their team.”

The definition of tanking in sports is to “deliberately lose or fail to finish a game,” and leagues and fans seriously don’t seem to have as much of a problem with it as I do.

These teams who “tank” represent themselves, their fan base, their staff and the league as trying to fail on purpose.

MLB has had four teams suffer at least 100 defeats in a season one time in its history; that was until it happened three times in the past four seasons — the only season this didn’t occur was the COVID season when they played 60 games. 

Websites such as Tankathon thrive off the basis of teams purposely failing. While also promoting tanking, the website gives viewers a chance to see what young potential 18-year-old stud any team can land and fans will now be indifferent with the outcome of the game.

“It was hard to go from constantly winning to losing on purpose,” said Nonnewaug senior Paul Coppola, an avid sports fan. “I wanted to watch the [Golden State Warriors] games but it was just annoying to see the team keep losing. I ended up not caring about the team towards the end of the season.”

According to the New York Post, 64% of fan interest decreases when a team they support is tanking, meaning lower TV ratings for the games, fewer fans showing up for games, and fewer fans buying team merchandise, concessions, and parking.

Tanking teams try their best to lose, how about start winning before it’s the fans that will lose?

This is the opinion of Chief Advocate sports reporter Richie Paolino.