Fans of the New England Patriots surely feel they’re the best in the NFL. A new study from Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business confirms that Pats fans have very good reason to feel that way.
Via Yahoo Sports, the school just released its most recent NFL Fandom Report, which ranks the relative fan strengths of each NFL team, and the Patriots fanbase ranked extremely high. Second, to be exact. Only Dallas Cowboys fans rated higher. But the Pats finished ahead of the Eagles, Giants, and Steelers in the top five.
What exactly determines the best NFL fans? It’s not just being the loudest, which team’s jersey you see the most, or who gets the most primetime windows on Sunday, Monday and Thursdays during the NFL season.
Emory professor Michael Lewis (not the Moneyball and The Blind Side author) bases his rankings on data measuring four primary factors: attendance, revenues, social media following, and road attendance. Those best indicate fan interest, which fans are most willing to spend (on tickets, jerseys, travel, etc.) and follow their team most closely while also taking a team’s market size with year-to-year changes in winning and losing into consideration.
As you can see in the chart above, Patriots fans earned that No. 2 ranking based on rating very well in all three categories. When it comes to social media presence, they’re the best. (You probably already knew that, if you’re not a major reason for that yourself.
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Only two other fanbases spend more to show their team love (interestingly, the 49ers are second), and Pats fans also travel very well, with just three fanbases rating higher.
Certainly, New England’s unprecedented level of success over the past 20 years is a significant influence on the enthusiasm of its fanbase. Fans want to support a winner and Patriots fans know that their team will not only contend for the playoffs, but also compete for Super Bowl championships on an annual basis. That’s what any NFL fan wants from the team he or she supports. But the Patriots provide more reward than any other team.
Patriots fans may also take joy in pointing to where the Kansas City Chiefs fanbase places on these rankings. Second-to-last for a team that was one win away from the Super Bowl. But hey, Vegas sportsbooks don’t think the Chiefs can overtake the Patriots in the playoffs this coming season. Maybe Chiefs fans need to be more vocal regarding how they feel about that.
Also worth bragging about is how far Patriots fans rank ahead of their AFC East counterparts. Dolphins fans placed 14th in the study, followed by the Bills at 19 and Jets at 20. Constantly losing to the Patriots might have something to do with that. Additionally intriguing is that four of the bottom five teams are from the AFC with the Titans, Jaguars, and Bengals joining the Chiefs.
See how it goes next year? The results next February might play a big role in that.