Oakland Raiders fans worst in NFL, according to analytics


Welp, Raiders fans….you are the worst fans in the NFL. Well, at least according to the brainiacs over at Emory Sports Marketing Analytics.

Their analysis, which can be found here, uses what Emory calls a “fan equity” rating. In their own words:

"“The basic approach is to develop a statistical model of team revenues based on team performance and market characteristics.  We then compare the forecasted revenues from this model for each team to actual revenues.  When teams actual revenues exceed predicted revenues, we take this as evidence of superior fan support.”"

The “fan equity” rating is then supplemented with a “social media equity” rating:

"“How strong each team’s social media following is after controlling for team quality and market characteristics.”"

Lastly, the analysis uses a “bandwagon rating”, which is self-explanatory.

Oakland ranked dead last in the fan equity category, 8th best in the social media category, and 4th worst in the bandwagon category.

So in short, if an NFL team makes a lot of money and they have a lot of followers on Twitter, then the fans are great. If not, then the fans aren’t so great.

There are several issues that come to mind when looking at this analysis. The first issue is the revenue that a team generates. The on-field product of the Oakland Raiders has been poor since the team’s last Super Bowl appearance in 2002. When a team is playing badly, ticket sales go down. That’s not just the case for the Raiders, that’s the case for all teams.

When ticket sales go down, prices have to go down in order to try to get people to keep attending games. When prices are down, revenue goes down. Pretty simple concept. The survey fails to take that into account.

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Furthermore, an analysis that uses revenue as a determining factor can also handicap cities with lower standards of living. Take Oakland, for example. In comparison to a city like New York, with a very high average household income, Oakland residents can’t contribute nearly as much of their income to ticket and merchandise sales as New Yorkers can.

It also does seem silly to knock a team for having bandwagon fans. We all know how these types of fans are, and all teams have them, good or bad. Of course, they primarily show up when a team is doing well, but even the most diehard fans will become more supportive when their favorite team is doing well.

Look at it like this…If your favorite team is playing well, it’s safe to assume they probably have some very talented players. If they have talented players, you want to buy their jersey. Diehard fans and bandwagon fans are no different in that way. And the revenue from that jersey sale all goes to the same place anyway, so how can that possibly be measured?

To add to that, the Raiders fan base stretches far and wide. From NorCal to SoCal, across the nation, over the pond, and even in the land down under. Raiders fans are anywhere and everywhere, and it’s truly impressive that no matter where you go, it’s a good bet you’ll find some diehard Raiders fans.

So is that considered bandwagon? The answer is, it really depends. Maybe a Bay Area native relocated somewhere. Maybe someone in North Carolina knows someone that used to play for the Raiders. Maybe someone was just a fan of NWA and liked how they all rocked Raiders gear. Every case is different, and that’s what makes the Raiders fan base so unique.

Reasons like those are what surveys like this one fail to take into account. Raider Nation is perhaps the most passionate, loyal, intense, dedicated, or whatever other adjective you want to use, fan base in the league.

No analysis using “advanced metrics” and “equity ratings” can change that.

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