Ranking of Top NFL Fan Bases Causes Huge Controversy


“America’s Team” has America’s best fans, while the Kansas City Chiefs have one of the worst fan bases in the NFL.

Those are two of the conclusions drawn by a new study — and it has created quite a bit of controversy.

The NFL Fandom Report 2019, conducted by Mike Lewis, a professor at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, said the Dallas Cowboys have the best fan base, followed by the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers.

In this annual evaluation, Lewis looked at three measures of fan engagement: Fan Equity, Social Equity and Road Equity.

“Fan Equity focuses on home box office revenues … Social Media Equity focuses on fan willingness to engage as part of a team’s community … Road Equity focuses on how teams draw on the road after adjusting for team performance,” he wrote on his website.

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“To get at an overall ranking, I use a statistical tool that looks at the correlation across the three metrics to create a ‘Brand Equity Factor,'” Lewis said.

The top five are unchanged from the past two years. Rounding out the Top 10 are the Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints.

It’s the bottom five that have generated the most buzz: the Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams, with the defending NFC champion Rams ranking last.

Do you think the Cowboys have the best fan base?

“These teams all suffer from the same issues — relatively weak pricing power and limited social followings,” Lewis wrote.

“The Chiefs are the team that will generate push back,” he said. “The Chiefs have had some success and they have significant star power. The problem is that the Chiefs lack pricing power and do not have much of a social following (I use Twitter). However, the Chiefs and Browns are probably the best positioned teams to make moves up the charts the next few years.”

Lewis was right about the pushback over Kansas City at No. 31.

Reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes couldn’t believe it.

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Even fans from other teams shot down the idea that Chiefs fans are second-worst in the league.

One reason the Chiefs’ ranking was so surprising is that Arrowhead Stadium is one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL. Chiefs fans are actually in the Guinness Book of World Records. In 2014, they broke the Seattle Seahawks record by reaching 142.2 decibels — the loudest ever.

The Chiefs might have a low “Brand Equity Factor” based on the metrics this study uses, but Arrowhead is the last place any opponent wants to play because of the noise produced by Kansas City’s rabid fans.

That should count for a lot more than social media posts.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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