The Arizona Cardinals have the most number of bandwagon fans in the NFL, per an Emory University survey.
It turns out the Arizona Cardinals have the most number of bandwagon fans in the National Football League (NFL).
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A Sports Analytics Research Blog from Mike Lewis and Manish Tripathi of Emory University featured a Social Media Equity study based on "an analysis of how strong each team's social media following is after controlling for team quality and market characteristics."
The Cardinals have roughly 100,000 Twitter followers while the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders alone have 80,000. Arizona, the St. Louis Rams, Carolina Panthers, San Diego Chargers and Washington Redkins round out the bottom five of Emory University's Social Media Equity study.
Here's how the social media study played out, per Lewis and Tripathi:
On the other hand, NFL teams which have a traditionally strong following -- the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints -- were in the Top 5 of Emory University's social media survey.
The Seattle Seahawks, winners of Super Bowl XLVIII, placed 18th, per Emory.edu.
According to the Emory University social media study, "the Seattle fan base doesn't seem as impressive when we control for team success and market demographics. It should be noted, however, that equity is built over time; we would not be surprised to see Seattle on top of these rankings in the future."
Lewis and Tripathi put the Cardinals on top of their "NFL Bandwagon/Discerning Fans" ranking for the period of 2001-2013 because their fans "are most responsive to winning percentage in the NFL based on our statistical model of attendance."
Other teams which made it to the top 5 of this list include the New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins, per Emory.edu:
For this year's Fan Equity rankings, Lewis and Tripathi determined that the Dallas Cowboys have the best fans in the NFL. They say the team has "a storied history, a market that loves all forms of football, and a world-class stadium."
The New England Patriots, New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets follow suit in Emory University's 2015 Fan Equity rankings.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks finished just 14th and 26th, respectively.
Citing their "revenue premium" model, Lewis and Tripathi say these two teams "just don't price high enough." However, they foresee Pittsburgh and Seattle moving up the rankings once they use non-financial metrics as their basis.
The Emory University survey reveals the Miami Dolphins have the worst fans in the league. They are followed by the Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills.
Here are the complete rankings, per Emory.edu:
Lewis and Tripathi explain why Florida teams -- represented in the bottom 5 by the Dolphins and Jaguars -- have always been an issue for them.
"Florida is almost always a problem on our lists," they said. "Whether it is the weather or the fact that many of the locals are transplants that didn't grow up with the team, Florida teams just don't get the support of teams in other regions."
Lewis and Tripathi say they used "hard data" as their basis for ranking the 32 NFL teams. They laid out 15 years worth of data "on NFL team performance, ticket prices, market populations, median incomes, won-loss records and multiple other factors."
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