Pittsburgh Steelers Fans Ranked “9th Best” In Study


There were probably more Steeler fans at the Cowboys game than Jerry Jones would feel comfortable with. Yet the ‘Boys are somehow #1 in fandom. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The latest poll based on who’s the best and loyal fan base puts Steeler Nation at 9th best out of 32 teams.  Say wah?

Ever wonder if there’s ever ‘real math’ that can prove whose NFL franchise has the best and loyal fans?  Yeah me neither because it usually is a waste of time to comb over all the lame polls out there – especially ones from Yahoo! Sports and ESPN.  Even though there are the quirky polls done by our mainstreamers, there are two students from Emory University’s Sports Marketing Analytics program who believe they have come up with some solid data and analytical math that once and for all settles who are the best and loyal fans.  Here’s a quote from the Emory Sports Marketing Analytics team on the study:

"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."

If you take the time to look at how they collected the data, they fail to be transparent about how they collect their data and the limitations of said data.  I’m not big on when it comes to analytics, but I at least know you have to let your audience know the limitations and unexpected findings while mining for data.  They did not.  I’m not a big fan either when it comes to some third party company putting out statistics about things they really don’t understand – like Steeler Nation.  And while in the NFL the mighty dollar sign ($) speaks loudly, it is the fans in the stadiums, the bars, and the couches who speak even louder.

Let’s take for instance box office revenues.  A team that has a sell out crowd every home stand might just lead you to believe that that particular team has really great and loyal fans.  But do the Emory guys take into consideration what color the jerseys are in those stands?  No one in Steeler Nation needs to be reminded how well the Steelers are represented when they travel.  The San Diego Chargers don’t always sell out, and when the Steelers head to the west coast to face off against the Bolts, over a quarter of the stands are filled with Terrible Towels.  I doubt the Emory folk take that a quarter of the ticket sales for that game came from Steeler fans.

The most surprising in this bunch would be the Raiders down in the cellar in 32nd.  Really?  Those crazy f#@$%*?  I may think the Raider organization is a joke sometimes, but the fan base is solid and better than their rivals in the west like the Chargers, who are ranked 11th.  The other one are Jets fans being 3rd.  3rd?!  Did they account for Tebow’mania that has now come and gone?  Doubt it.  Fireman Ed (at least when he was there) doesn’t count for a whole lot.

So what do you think, Steeler Nation?  Are the Cowboys really ‘America’s Team’ (again)?  And are the Jets fans really loyal over all the other 28 teams?