That sound you hear? It’s the fan bases of the NFL’s 30 other teams screaming in unison.
Michael Lewis of Emory University came out with his annual study of the best and worst fan bases in the National Football League. For the second consecutive year, the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots boast the NFL’s best fans, according to the study.
The Cowboys excel on all the metrics. They win in terms of Fan Equity (a revenue premium measure of brand strength), Road Equity and finish second in social media. The underlying data (I will spare everybody the statistical models) reveals why Dallas does so well. The Cowboy’s average home attendance usually leads the league, fans are willing to pay high prices, and the team’s twitter following is exceptional. The Cowboys are America’s team.
Lewis notes fan equity, road equity and social media equity as the three premises he uses to gauge a specific fan base.
I use three measures of fan engagement: Fan Equity, Social Equity and Road Equity. Fan Equity focuses on home box office revenues (support via opening the wallet). Social Media Equity focuses on fan willingness to engage as part of a team’s online community (support exhibited by joining social media communities). Road Equity focuses on how teams draw on the road after adjusting for team performance.
Lewis goes on to note that Patriots fans might be of the bandwagon variety, but that bandwagon has been longstanding. Having dominated the NFL for the better part of the past two decades, that’s hard to argue against.
Rounding out the top five are the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers. No real surprise there given that all three teams exist in large markets and have earned a Super Bowl title over the past decade.
So who boasts the worst fans? Unfortunately, the Cleveland Browns continue to find themselves irrelevant in the broader NFL landscape. Following just the second winless 16-game season in league history, Browns fans rank dead last.
Rounding out the bottom five are the Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans. This isn’t too astonishing. The Jaguars play some home games in London and the Rams just moved from St. Louis to Southern California. Meanwhile, the Chiefs exist in the very same Missouri market the Rams relocated from. Nashville? Well, that just seems random.
Either way, this is just one study. Lewis and Emory don’t represent the end all here. Rather, it’s a study based somewhat on subjectivity. Even then, it will certainly lead to some boisterous debates during the slow time of the NFL calendar.
2018 NFL Brand Rankings