Jan 07, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Fans cheer during the third quarter of the 2011 AFC wild card playoff game between the Houston Texans and the Cincinnati Bengals at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Study ranks the most loyal NFL fan bases with in-depth analytics

It’s a common quote from players and coaches around the NFL – ‘we have the best fans in the league’.

Every fan base is the best in the league, at least according to members of a respective franchise. But really, who is the best fan base in the NFL?

It’s a question that’s never really had a true answer, outside of some polls on ESPN which factor in a bunch of odd (and relatively pointless) statistics but two students from Emory University’s Sports Marketing Analytics program in Atlanta think they’ve come up with a concrete answer.

I’d try to explain how they arrived at the conclusions they did, but frankly, unless you feel like being extremely confused, I’ll let them do so.

Per 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.

So, who came in as the top NFL fans? America’s team, of course.

Here is the full listing:

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

Tags: Baltimore Ravens Dallas Cowboys Denver Broncos Green Bay Packers New England Patriots New York Giants New York Jets NFL Oakland Raiders Philadelphia Eagles Pittsburgh Steelers San Francisco 49ers

  • Mark Shafer

    Drop the torch lighter and step away from the crack.

  • http://fansided.com/ Michael Castillo

    Raiders are the least loyal? That is fantastic.

    • Mark Shafer

      If you believe that take another hit off the pipe your already smoked out stupid.

      • skeletony

        Agree. I am no Raiders fan but to rank their fans last had me literally doing a spit take with my coffee! I am not sure there is any way to objectively establish a ‘Most Loyal’/’Most Dedicated’ type fan list for NFL teams but there is so much wrong with this list that I am beginning to think someone has trolled the NFL with a bad joke here.

  • Mark Shafer

    Lets use some common sense here. Lets start with the Kansas City CHEIFS. Last year they only won two games. Have you ever seen there stadium not a sea of Red? I have not. Then compare them to the San Diego Chargers. If the Chargers are not currently on top of the AFC West they are not going to fill there stadium ( with there fans ). According to this article Charger fans are way more loyal.

  • Rob Passons

    Sorry I simply don’t agree with this article at all

    • Tito Puente

      gimme a sec paul, i’m killing this voodoo math

  • Stanley Carr

    Bull motha fuckin shit!!

  • Tito Puente

    As a Raider fan with a Master’s Degree in Econometrics from an Ivy League please allow me to retort.

    First of all, I”ve exhausted the links, and the actual methodology is not made public. The first sign of bad science is when someone doesn’t make every step of their assertions available to be picked apart, welcoming those who find errors in judgment or shoddy reasoning and methodology.

    On its face this study seems to make some good points, but as is the case with all statistics, you have to start with a clean hypothesis, regression, understanding and sound reasoning. You also need to raise your hand and point out the reasons why your “analysis” is totally limited by the things you’ve omitted altogether or haven’t accounted for.

    The final throw away line on the “results” and telling us what it means page states:

    “It may well be a matter of the Wolverines & Spartans winning the battle for fans against the Lions. Similarly, teams like Atlanta and Tampa Bay may suffer from being located in SEC territory.”

    This opens the door into a huge unaccounted for issue which is not being accounted for. Are you telling me your using revenue at the gate and making no mention or attempt to calculate the difference in entertainment and sports options among cities.

    Professional sports incredibly expensive, and often a luxury purchase (the demand for a luxury item is elastic, highly affected by small changes in price). I’m not even going to get into how one could never break out anything about the city of New York’s metrics.

    Here are the number of pro sports teams within an hour drive of the five lowest ranked teams:

    28. Detroit Lions (red wings, pistons, tigers, wnba Shock)

    29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (TB rays, baseball & hockey, two other nfl teams in FLA)

    30. Arizona Cardinals (PHX suns, coyotes, diamond backsm wnba Mercury)

    31. Atlanta Falcons (Hawks, Braves, wnba Dream)

    32. Oakland Raiders (A’s, Warriors, Sf Giants, Sf 49ers, SJ Sharks)

    # 27 is Jacksonville,which has no other Pro sports teams, and supposedly, nothing else to do.

    So how can we possibly know if Jacksonville is above any of these other teams, even by your woefully simplistic metric?

    A metric based on “local” revenue — but many NFL teams have more fans around the world than they have in their home cities.

    Obviously I think 49er fans are all scum, and I was happy to see them ranked #26,

    But if you used the latest jersey sales rankings the devil’s Red & Gold team would be #1....

    how can that be?

    and from a year ago, ESPN’s study in popularity put the 49ers eighth, and the raiders 12th and Lions 15th in popularity — on a phone study, meaning people could be anywhere…

    and it also ranked the Jaguars dead last…


    I read Bill James’ baseball abstract in print, before these twerps were born, stat nerds often need direction, and i’m here to help.

    (I could cite so many more issues — local major college teams? weather? style of play?)

    i’m happy to poke holes in your regression if you’re brave enough to give us the raw numbers and not just your (naive) analysis

    (a.k.a. the way all “science” is suppose to be done)

    • http://www.arrowheadaddict.com Patrick Allen

      I am a Chiefs fan and I can tell you right now, the Raiders being last on this list is totally crap. Raiders fans are terrifically loyal. Whenever we’d write a good-natured Raiders smack talk piece on my Chiefs blog, Raider Nation would show up in force to talk trash back. No other fan base did that in the 3 years I ran that blog. Raiders fans showed up every time.

      • Mark Shafer

        Thanks for your reply. As you can see below as much as I dislike the Chiefs I do respect there fans dedication

        • Michael A Vance

          I’ll tell you what. I don’t care what some list says. And I hate every team in the AFC West except Denver. Die hard fan. However, Oakland’s fans sell out every game even when they are terrible, same with K.C and San Diego. Denver’s does as well. Denver hadn’t been good for a solid decade. The most success we saw was first round outings in the playoffs to the colts and the patriots. And that was just a couple of seasons. I’m getting off topic. When you look at Kansas City, and Oakland, and even Denver and San Diego in their marketing environments in comparison to places like Dallas, and New York, there is no better group of fan bases in the NFL than these four teams. I’d bet on the AFC West any day. Mark and Pat, good luck this upcoming season fellas

    • Mark Shafer

      Well stated Tito, I was not aware this is a annual waste of time. I am a Raider fan also. I live in so. Ca., in Orange County.
      There are many Charger fans in this county, being just minutes away from San Diego county. These 11th “most dedicated fans ” will not most likely sell out the entire season.
      The only game they sell out every year is the Raider game. The last time I went to the game in San Diego the crowd was at least 40% Raider fans.
      I have never seen 10% of any opponents fans in Oakland. I drive to Oakland 400 miles to attend several home games each year.

      • swami

        The only reason fans from other teams don’t show up in Oakland is they value their life and their health.

        • Mark Shafer


    • RyansDad

      I’m a Packer Fan from Carson City, NV – & believe that The Packer fans are the most loyal & active supporters of their team – HOWEVER – here in Carson City there are no more loyal and active fans than Raider fans! Like Packer fans during the draught between Lombardi & Wolf/ Holmgren/ Favre, the Raider fans proudly wear their colors, crowd the bars and cheer their team regardless of their W/L record.
      That “Study” is just plain wrong.

      • Mark Shafer

        And full of b s

  • blustrk

    What a load of bull. Most NFL fans are fanatic and the game has become a religion to many fans and cities. I do know that the Steelers always have a large contingent in away stadiums and it is because Pittsburgh fans remain loyal for GENERATIONS after they move to another city. It is not because they “travel.” There is no band wagon with these fans. Some moved from the Burgh back in the 60′s and 70′s as major economic shifts took place. But they passed on their fan feelings to their children and grand children and that is evident by the numbers at away games. Where was this factored into the “study.” Hogwash!

  • Ludwing Harrison Morales


  • edu paez

    Men, I will be honest, but NFL fans should be more rude and more noisy. I mean there are times in the game when anybody, YES anybody is even talking. What you only hear is silence. I cant believe that. Fans should be screawing the whole freaking game like, trying to kill their throats and making and supporting their guys with their heart. Its football guys. At this point I thing that some college teams have better fan base than some NFL teams

  • swami

    What a dumb list. The Chargers rarely ever sell out their own stadium, but are ranked 3 spots higher than the Packers? One can factor in that the Packers are citizen-owned and there’s nothing else to do in GB. But then, consider that the Chargers are 2 spots higher than the Redskins even though the team has sucked for years and they still sell out. Steelers’ fans travel better than any other team in the NFL, but are behind the Ravens whose fans rarely travel. Jets fans are higher than Giants fans? Don’t get me started with that one. And lastly, Raiders fans are dead last. The Raiders haven’t won squat since the SB loss to the Bucs and yet their jerseys are all over the place. Perhaps the pollsters here excluded gang-bangers from the study.

  • Dave


  • Dave

    Jags dont even belong on this list. Raiders last? Ok, that must be some good crack.

  • Loren Baldwin

    WTF Bryan? Packers are 14th on your list, are you nuts? Right now there are over 100,000 names on the waiting list for season tickets. I don’t know of any other team in the league who can claim the same. I waited 27 years to get mine, they’re treated like gold ! This list is a bunch of bs! Seattle is 23…. Wow!!

  • Santee Jack

    Lies, damn lies and statistics…..

  • Rob

    This is the worst list ever! and not because I feel my team is ranked low, just looking at the other fan bases who I know are pretty insane with their love for their team. Chiefs at 21? Raiders at 32?????!?!?!? Greenbay??? Just go ahead and burn this.

    • Rob

      Oh for the record, My son will probably be 30 by the time my name comes up on the Steelers Season Ticket Waiting List.

  • skeletony

    This ‘study’ is nonsense. Tito Puente details the primary objections well in his post but even if one ignores the methodological flaws, this just does not pass the smell test. Kansas City (at the very least until recently) has or had one of the 2 or 3 loudest NFL venues. Seattle (whom these kids have ranked at #23?!) is going to host the Guinness World Records folks in week two (against San Fran)to determine if the are the loudest sports venue in the world! Seattle’s season tickets sold out in less than 3 minutes this year. NO team wants to play in Seattle because of those fans. The Raiders fans are legendary for their commitment.

    Merchandize sales would seem to be contrary to this entire list almost!

  • Justin Freiler

    I lived in Charlotte in the early 2000s and even went to a Panthers Eagles game in 2003. It was 70% Eagle fans. And Patriots fans are 2? Even Tom Brady called them out for being poor fans!

  • TribalX

    In Depth Anal…ytics your azz!!! LOL!! RAIDERS FOR LIFE BABY!!!!

  • Leilani Hernandez

    the jets? now, you know the list is invalid.

  • vinny v

    Poor science and analytic with inaccurate conclusions. This study was conducted over two years, should have been at least twenty. Popularity has an ebb and flow to it. Dallas fans have become far more interested since the construction of the new stadium and the resurgence of the team. How many Dallas fans would travel to see a December game in Green Bay?

    A more accurate metric would include:

    1. Consecutive sell outs regardless of performance or standings.
    2. Fan attendance at road games and impact on secondary ticket market prices.
    3.Fan attendance during inclement weather (adjusted for domes).
    4. Viewership outside home market including national or at least rural areas not in teams metro area.

    The top five should be.

    #5 Kansas City, Greatest parking lot scene in the NFL. Passionate fans have Collage type cheers roaring from a sea of red. Ever heard 80.000 people sing “land of the free, home of the CHIEFS”?
    #4 Washington, Second longest consecutive sell out streak. Fans pay premium prices to see division rivals.
    #3. Green Bay, Sophisticated intelligent fans brave stupid cold weather to worship the Pack.
    #2. Pittsburgh, Steeler fans travel in hoards and always show up at home !
    #1. Denver, This was easy and obvious.
    Denver has the longest streak of consecutive sell outs in NFL History. Every game since 1972. Bronco’s are the most popular team in ten western states including, Utah,Wyoming,Nevada,Nebraska,New Mexico,Montana,Idaho,North Dakota, South Dakota and of course Colorado.
    Ticket prices in other cities increase by the highest margin when the Broncos visit. 53% increase according to the NFL. Colorado is a beautiful place with endless options but sunshine or blizzard the ski slopes are not the first choice the Broncos and their fans are a number #1