MLB Fan Survey: What Sort of Fans Root for Your Team?

Which Major League Baseball team boasts the best fans? The most fair-weather fans? Which tickets run the cheapest? A wide-ranging new survey of the fans in cities that host a major-league baseball teams seeks to answer these questions and the answers may surprise.

The folks at Emory Sports Marketing Analytics have attempted to wade through the various metrics, surveys, social media posts, and top-ten lists on fans of MLB franchises. They came up with a more definitive, "data driven" analysis of just what sort of fans follow MLB teams.

Emory Sports' first analyzed MLB teams' "fan equity/revenue-premium model (based on the last three years), a trend analysis of fan equity growth over the past 15 seasons, and an analysis of each team’s social media equity."

The Boston Red Sox captured the top spot. New York Yankees grabbed second place, followed by the Chicago Cubs, the Philadelphia Phillies, and in fifth place the St. Louis Cardinals.

Interestingly, the Big Apple and the Windy City feature teams both in the top five as well as the bottom five with Chicago's White Sox figuring in as number 26 near the bottom of the 30 MLB teams. Just below the Sox sat the Los Angeles Angels at number 27, the Oakland Athletics, the New York Mets, and in last place the Tampa Bay Rays.

Apparently no single city and maybe even no single state is big enough for two big league ball teams to both be successful.

In addition to that current accounting, Emory Sports also looked at how fans have reacted over the last 15 years.

"This analysis revealed that MLB's high equity teams are tending to even greater levels of fan support," Emory reported. "In this analysis, the Yankees finished first followed by the Red Sox, Cubs, Nats, Phillies, Dodgers and Giants. This list of teams is overwhelmingly concentrated in the largest markets. At the bottom of the list, we have teams like the Diamondbacks, Indians, Orioles, Padres and Rays."

Next Emory Sports Marketing Analytics looked at how much social media support the teams got. Emory noted that this may reflect the way the younger members of the fan base feel and they found that the Yankees topped the social media list. Next came the San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers, the Texas Rangers, and in fifth place the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The teams that had the least social-media chatter were the Colorado Rockies, the New York Mets, the Oakland A's, the Los Angeles Angels, and in 30th place the Washington Nationals.

Emory Sports Marketing Analytics then examined how demanding fans are that their teams have a winning season. The Philadelphia Phillies struggle to satisfy the most demanding, or some might say "fair weather," fans in baseball. Next came the Orioles, the Athletics, the White Sox, and the fifth most demanding were the Detroit Tigers fans.

Finally, Emory Sports Marketing Analytics looked at how sensitive fans are to high ticket prices. In this analysis, the five fan bases most sensitive to rising ticket prices were the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Cleveland Indians, the Baltimore Orioles, the Seattle Mariners, and the Atlanta Braves. The fans least influenced by wins-and-losses cheered for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, Miami Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals, and, last but definitely not least, New York Yankees, whose fans bought tickets no matter their place in the standings. . 

Emory Sports Marketing Analytics has much more analysis at their site, but what we find here are facts that both shore up general assumptions about baseball fans, but also surprise in several cases.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com


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