Emory University, apparently with nothing important to study, tackled the burning question of fan loyalty. They looked at each NFL team, controlled for market and stadium size, and then ranked them against a model that predicts how teams should do in terms of revenue.
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.
The Cowboys came in first. Really, I wasn't at all surprised. I grew up on Uncle Sam's World Tour and have called 2 continents, 3 countries and 5 states home. I've seen Cowboys fans everywhere I've been. I've seen Steelers fans everywhere also, though they ranked only 9th in the study. I have real questions about the Patriots being ranked 2nd. New England has been good for the entire span of time the study included, something that can't be said of most of the teams. I'm guessing quite a few Patriots fans are on the winning bandwagon, and won't remain loyal after the party invariably ends.
The Bills ranked a disappointing 24th. Amazingly, this put Buffalo two slots ahead of the 49ers-a team likely on the upswing in terms of fan base due to recent (and likely to be continued) success. Meanwhile, the St Louis Rams came in two slots ahead of Buffalo. Really? Outside of a few Kurt Warner led years the Rams have been one of the more depressed franchises.
I put the question to you, Rumblers. Are Bills fans fair weather friends whose long beaten down hopes have plunged the franchise to the bottom third of the league in terms of loyalty?