American football has faced its share of criticism in recent years, but it hasn’t lost much of its popularity. A 2018 Gallup poll showed that football is still America’s favorite professional sport to follow, a spot that football has held every year since 1972 (baseball was the nation’s favorite prior to that).
Now that we’ve established that the NFL is still king, let’s dive into some murkier waters … who’s America’s favorite team? That’s a tougher question to answer, because it really depends upon your frame of reference. Every NFL team claims to have the “best” fans in the league. But how can you objectively qualify that?
Emory University professor Dr. Mike Lewis has tried to do just that with his annual NFL Fan and Brand Report. He tries to establish which team has the best fans by using a model which includes three measures: Fan Equity (revenues generated from fans), Social Equity (engagement on online communities), and Road Equity (how teams & fan bases do on the road, controlling for team performance). Dr. Lewis uses the average of these three measures to generate an overall ranking.
The results aren’t shocking. Big-market legacy teams with histories of Super Bowls and MVPs top the list, while teams in smaller markets with less of a history of success find themselves towards the bottom. Interestingly, several recent playoff teams are still farther down the list, as they need to continue growing their fanbases to stand on the same level as the traditional power-players.
Here are the top 10 results from the 2018 NFL Fan and Brand Report:
- Dallas Cowboys
- New England Patriots
- Philadelphia Eagles
- New York Giants
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Chicago Bears
- New Orleans Saints
- Denver Broncos
- Green Bay Packers
- San Francisco 49ers