Last week we posted our “Fan Equity” rankings of NFL brands. The Fan Equity rankings are based on home box office performance adjusted for market size, winning rates and other factors. Every year the rankings inspire some very passionate responses. And some legitimate criticism. Clearly, summarizing something as complicated as fandom using a single metric is going to foster debate. In the case of the Fan Equity metric, the biggest issue is that revenues are constrained by stadium size (and pricing policies). Teams like the Packers and Steelers that always sell out and charge prices well below what they could take a hit on our Fan Equity measure.
Today, we present an analysis that removes capacity constraints and pricing issues. Today, we look at Social Media Equity. Essentially, what teams are over or under performing with respect to their Twitter following. Again, we control for factors like market size and short term winning rates (for more on our methodology, please click here).
But, before we get to the rankings, a couple of comments about several fan bases reactions to the Fan Equity study. Based on an informal “text” analysis of Twitter comments and email messages, three fan bases have really stood out to us.
Raiders Fans: The Passionate Lunatics.
When Raider fans get upset they go straight to threats; loud and aggressive threats. USUALLY IN ALL CAPS. Ass-kicking and promises of death were the most common responses. Also, it seems that many in the Raider Nations think that we are “putos” (which according to urban dictionary is a “Spanish word for a male prostitute”).
Here is one of our favorite emails from a Raider fan:
“You guys ever been to a Raider Game?? Your analytics are worth exactly shite!. Putting Raider Nation in the cellar. One of the largest and dedicated Fan Bases in the WORLD. Your algorithim probably had Romney winning in a landslide. Stick to wall street, you guys are absolutely a joke. Run quick and put on your Brady Jersey and Cowboy hat.”
Brown Fans: The Angry Artists.
I enjoyed the Browns fans the most. They were upset and questioned our competence but in a delightful manner. I especially like the work of @TheKardiacKid. In the future, we may have to put our thumb on the scales just to encourage more dialogue with these fans.
Bills Fans: The Nice Strivers.
The Bills fans were upset but usually very nice. The either came across as disappointed and just wanting to be ranked higher or presented polite arguments about the flaws in our study. In the future, we may have to put our thumb on the scales to help these guys score higher.
Now, we return to our social media analysis. When we look at Social Media Equity rankings, the winner for the “best” fan base is the Pittsburgh Steelers. No shocker. Great fan base that turn stadiums in Atlanta or Arizona Black and Gold on occasion. Following the Steelers are the Cowboys, Patriots, Packers and Saints. All this makes a lot of intuitive sense.
So what about our three fan bases discussed above (Browns, Raiders and Bills)? The social media metric is great for picking up passion across a wider population base because money and geography are removed from the equity equation. The Raiders become a top ten team. One thing about the Raiders is that the storied history of the team has likely created more of a national presence than other teams. The Browns score a respectable 13th and the Bills are 16th.
Mike Lewis & Manish Tripathi, Emory University 2015.