Study Ranks the Best Fans in the NFL

A new study aiming to determine which NFL team boasts the “best” fans awards the Dallas Cowboys the top spot.

The survey of fans put out by Emory Sports Marketing Analytics insists that the admittedly subjective award of “best” fans comes via “hard data” calculated in a “very controlled and statistically careful fashion.”

Looking at “actual fan behavior”—such as ticket sales, game attendance, and team revenues—Emory notes that its criteria weeds out those fans who just “say” they are fans and instead tallies those who back up their fandom with their time and dollars.

The study also allows for temporary fans who flock to a team because it enjoys a winning period, and controls to make sure the fanbase remains steady.

“So who has the best fans,” Emory asks. “The winner this year is the Dallas Cowboys followed by the Patriots, Giants, Ravens, and Jets. The Cowboys have a storied history, a market that loves all forms of football, and a world-class stadium. ‘Deflate-gate’ hasn’t hit the window of our analysis yet (it is after the 2014-2015 season), but the Pats strong showing in our ranking suggests that the impact will be small. The Jets position might be somewhat surprising, but this team draws well, and has great pricing power without a lot of winning on the field.”

And the fans at bottom? Emory found the Bills, Jags, Raiders, Browns, and Dolphins bringing up the tail end of the survey.

“There are some interesting and storied teams on this list,” Enmory says. “The Raiders have a ton of passion in the end zone but maybe not throughout the stadium. Cleveland may have never recovered from the loss of the Ravens, and the recreation of the Browns. Florida is almost always a problem on our lists. Whether it is the weather or the fact that many of the locals are transplants that didn’t grow up with the team, Florida teams just don’t get the support of teams in other regions.”

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


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