Some NFL teams claim to have the greatest fan-base in America. But according to a study at the Emory University’s Sports Marketing Analytics program in Atlanta, the Dallas Cowboys actually do. And you know they have to be right since the two professors running the study are a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and a Washington Redskins fan. First, the two men defined the study for the Emory Sports Marketing Analytics program:
The NFL is America’s favorite professional sports league, but which of its teams has the most loyal and supportive fan base? This is not a straightforward question. A ranking based on attendance would be skewed toward teams that play in more populated metropolitan areas, and a ranking based on profitability or revenues would be biased in favor of teams that are currently enjoying more on-field success.
They continued by further explaining how they arrived at their results:
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.
Finally, they speculated on why the Dallas Cowboys have been able to remain America’s Team despite having not won a Super Bowl since 1995:
What are keys to the Cowboys’ ability to create a passionate and supportive fan base? We think it’s a long legacy of success, a football mad Texas culture and a state of the art stadium. Over the last three seasons (the time period used to calculate fan equity) the Cowboys have played sub .500 football but generated above capacity attendance (at least according to ESPN).
Here is the official NFL Fan Equity ranking list:
1. Dallas Cowboys
10. Tennessee Titans
12. Denver Broncos
16. Houston Texans
20. Cleveland Browns
22. St. Louis Rams
23. Seattle Seahawks
24. Buffalo Bills
25. Miami Dolphins
28. Detroit Lions
31. Atlanta Falcons
32. Oakland Raiders