Dallas Cowboys fans at AT&T Stadium. 

Michael Lewis of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia recently conducted a study to determine the best fans in the National Football League. How would someone be able to measure that? Lewis used three different metrics that he termed as social equity, fan equity and road equity.

Fan equity was the equivalent of the team’s attendance and ticket revenues relative to their market size (capacity, population, etc.). Social media equity is very easy to measure and identify and is determined by the team’s social media following across all of the major social media channels. The third metric, road equity, was determined by how well the team’s fans continue to follow the team on the road after adjusted for the team’s performance. In other words, what fan bases still follow their favorite team on the road even if the team is having a bad year? Teams were ranked from 1 to 32 in these three categories. The numbers of those three categories were then averaged out to determine the best fans in the National Football League.

And the winner is…Dallas Cowboys fans. Not much of a surprise here. The Dallas Cowboys are “America’s Team” just as the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Blackhawks are America’s teams. The Dallas Cowboys boast the highest average attendances and ticket prices for their home games at AT&T Stadium. They also finished second in social media following to the New England Patriots. As Lewis noted, the Dallas Cowboys frequently have the highest attendances and ticket prices even when the team is well out of playoff contention.

 

Other NFL fan bases that round out the top five include the New England Patriots, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers. The worst fans in the NFL according to the study were fans of the Los Angeles Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans. We should expect for the Los Angeles Rams to improve their fan base rankings after the team’s new stadium is built and fans become more reacquainted with the team in southern California. The Rams are still fresh off their relocation from St. Louis, Missouri.

Kansas City Chiefs fans at Arrowhead Stadium

Who is the worst fan base in the National Football League? According to the study, the Kansas City Chiefs fan base. This finding kind of baffles me. Arrowhead Stadium is one of the largest stadiums in the National Football League. Arrowhead Stadium is known as one of the best NFL stadiums for tailgating which means great fan involvement must also be present. Lewis suggests that though the Kansas City Chiefs do sell many tickets to their home games, the tickets are very inexpensive. Kansas City Chiefs fans also do not follow the team on the road with regularity; in fact, they’re almost dead last in the NFL in terms of road equity.

 

Other important notes from the study:

  • A team that ranks well in road equity could either have fans located all over the country or fans could legitimately be traveling from the Metro area or state the team is located in. For example, Pittsburgh Steelers fans are known to travel well. Do they travel outside of Pennsylvania for Steelers road games? Or do they reside all over the country and show up when the Steelers are in town?
  • A strong social media following is a clear indicator of a team’s potential for revenue growth.
  • If a team is performing better in social equity than fan equity, it’s likely not reaching it’s full potential in terms of marketing.
  • The San Francisco 49ers have a fan base that attends games and spends money, even when the team is performing poorly. However, their social media presence isn't what you would expect and 49ers fans do not travel well on the road. Hence, the reason why a team with five Super Bowl titles finishes so far down the list.

 

Team

Overall Rank

Fan Equity

Social Equity

Road Equity

Dallas Cowboys

1

1

2

1

New England Patriots

2

3

1

5

Philadelphia Eagles

3

9

6

2

New York Giants

4

5

12

4

Pittsburgh Steelers

5

15

5

6

New Orleans Saints

6

7

10

10

Chicago Bears

7

4

11

12

Denver Broncos

8

10

3

18

Green Bay Packers

9

8

8

16

San Francisco 49ers

10

2

7

27

Indianapolis Colts

11

12

18

8

Baltimore Ravens

12

6

15

26

New York Jets

13

13

19

15

Miami Dolphins

14

21

20

7

Washington Redskins

15

11

29

9

Buffalo Bills

16

19

21

11

Carolina Panthers

17

22

4

28

Seattle Seahawks

18

17

9

30

Atlanta Falcons

19

26

16

14

Oakland Raiders

20

31

22

3

Detroit Lions

21

24

14

20

Houston Texans

22

14

13

32

Minnesota Vikings

23

20

23

17

Los Angeles Chargers

24

18

24

19

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

25

25

25

13

Cleveland Browns

26

28

17

25

Arizona Cardinals

27

16

30

24

Cincinnati Bengals

28

27

26

21

Jacksonville Jaguars

29

30

27

22

Tennessee Titans

30

23

28

31

Los Angeles Rams

31

32

31

23

Kansas City Chiefs

32

29

32

29

 

Reference:

Emory.Edu

  

JUMP TO