Note: This summer we are studying the fan quality of various sports leagues. We have already examined MLB, NHL, and College Basketball. For Part 1 of our NBA study on Fan & Social Equity, please click here.
An analysis we have had fun with this summer involves looking at fan response to winning rates. This encompasses looking at how different fan bases respond to variations in winning. If fans only show up when the team wins, does this mean they are bandwagon fans? Or does it mean that they demand quality? We report, you decide.
We looked at the last fourteen years of data for our study. For more details on our methodology, please click here. Our analysis suggests that the city with the most bandwagon or demanding basketball fans is Detroit. Pistons fans are followed by 76ers fans and Pacers fans. At the other end of the spectrum, we have fan bases that either always or never show up, regardless of the team’s fortunes. The Spurs fan base is the most indifferent to winning (or the most loyal, if you’re a glass half-full type). New Orleans, Oklahoma City and the Lakers also have fans whose attendance doesn’t seem to have much to do with the team’s success.
This summer we have also looked at the fan bases that are the most and least responsive to ticket prices. The table below shows the five cheapest (or value-conscious) fans bases and the five that don’t seem to react to prices.
New Orleans is an interesting fan base: indifferent to performance, but the most price sensitive in the league. We are starting to feel very sorry for 76ers management. Philadelphia’s basketball fans are the most demanding in terms of winning, but the least willing to pay. Quite the dilemma! At the other extreme, we have an interesting collection of teams. Orlando, Portland and Atlanta also seem to have attendance that is minimally affected by average prices. It’s an interesting list, because Portland is generally regarded as having passionate fans, while Atlanta is not.
Mike Lewis & Manish Tripathi, Emory University 2014.