Every sports team is quick to call their fan base the best but Mike Lewis and Manish Tripathi of Emory University have actually gone ahead and quantified who has the “best” fan base in the NFL.

Of course, the term “best” is about as subjective as it gets, so the researchers honed their study to “fan engagement,” or “fan equity” with the goal of controlling for the bandwagoning effect that regularly rises when a team experiences success on the field:

We calculate Fan Equity using a revenue-premium model. 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.

By looking at the past 15 years of data on who spent money on their teams in comparison to the revenue-premium model’s prediction, the Emory study was able to conclude that the Dallas Cowboys have the “best” fan base. The Cowboys were followed by the Patriots, Giants, Ravens and Jets. The team with the “worst” fan base according to the study is the Miami Dolphins.

Hilariously enough, for all the 12th man bluster that springs from the Northwest, the Seahawks came in 26th place in the fan base rankings.

Check out the rest of the rankings below and remember that this study hinges on how much money a team is able to wrangle from its fan base.


[Emory] via [For the Win]