Aug 9, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders fans celebrate in the Black Hole during the 4th quarter in an preseason game between the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Study With In-Depth Analytics Ranks Oakland as Worst NFL Fanbase: Really?

Every fanbase likes to puff its chest and say it has the best fanbase in the NFL. In fact we have had some lively debates on this blog’s comment section between Raider fans and the rest of the NFL about how the Raider Nation carries the flag as the league’s most hardcore and dedicated group of fans.

Well apparently the Emory Sports Marketing thinks otherwise, ranking the Raiders as the worst NFL fanbase based on an in depth analytical formula constructed by two students at the Atlanta program. Their method is mainly focused on box office revenues to measure fan loyalty as well as other financial things like median income, market population and capacity of a team’s stadium, things that may or may not define “team loyalty” that worked against Oakland.

Here is the explanation of the formula from the folks at the Emory Sports Marketing Analytics program

In our series of fan base analyses across leagues, we adjust for these complicating factors using a revenue premium model of fan equity.  The key idea is that we look at team box office revenues relative to team on-field success, market population, stadium capacity, median income and other factors.  The first step in our procedure involves the creation of a statistical model that predicts box office revenue as a function of the aforementioned variables.  We then compare actual revenues to the revenues predicted by the model.  Teams with relatively stronger fan support will have revenues that exceed the predicted values, and teams that under perform have relatively less supportive fan bases. We provide more details on the method here and here.

Their aforementioned formula ranked the teams as follows

1. Dallas Cowboys

2. New England Patriots

3. New York Jets

4. New Orleans Saints

5. New York Giants

6. Indianapolis Colts

7. Chicago Bears

8. Baltimore Ravens

9. Pittsburgh Steelers

10. Tennessee Titans

11. San Diego Chargers

12. Denver Broncos

13. Washington Redskins

14. Green Bay Packers

15. Carolina Panthers

16. Houston Texans

17. Philadelphia Eagles

18. Minnesota Vikings

19. Cincinnati Bengals

20. Cleveland Browns

21. Kansas City Chiefs

22. St. Louis Rams

23. Seattle Seahawks

24. Buffalo Bills

25. Miami Dolphins

26. San Francisco 49ers

27. Jacksonville Jaguars

28. Detroit Lions

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

30. Arizona Cardinals

31. Atlanta Falcons

32. Oakland Raiders

Now I might be biased writing for a blog called Just Blog Baby, but there is no way in hell the Raiders fanbase is worse than the likes of the poor Jacksonville Jaguars or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, NFL expansion teams that lack the history and pride that Raider Nation has. I understand the analytics discriminate against the things that make the Raiders group of fans special and focus on concrete things like revenues and dollars and cents, but the fact of the matter is that this list is bogus. Not all analytics are meant to be used as proof and this is one of them. Money doesn’t define how loyal a fanbase is, the fans continuing to show up through a change in cities, a terrible stadium, and some terrible years on the field to match it does. The Black Hole and Raider Nation are iconic symbols of the NFL and if you talk football with a casual sports fan they will almost always bring up Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders fans. There is a reason for that and it is because the fans made the organization an iconic brand.

Let’s just say the guys that constructed this set of analytical data won’t be making a trip through the Black Hole any time soon.

What do you think? Give us your list of top NFL fanbases in the comment’s section.


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