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Matt Weinberger said on March 30th, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Interesting article, anyone else wondering more about the methodology of the rankings? I hope they surveyed more then 150 plus people. That seems like a small sample size to me if one is trying to measure sports fan loyalty.

Anyone else with thoughts?

Jamie Favreau said on March 31st, 2010 at 3:56 am

I would love to hear how social media is changing this brand awareness and loyalty scale and how they are going to be working with it. I believe it is a great way to measure. I mean if you wanted analytics you could use “What the Hash Tag” to track it and see who is influential. Well at least with Twitter.

With the Herm to Hockeytown it proved the Red Wings had a very large fan base around the country and not just in Detroit. It also proved that when fans decide to get together for something good they can raise money and bring people together to further an already popular brand.

Interesting concept though.

Episode 23: Making a Video Blog (Part 1) said on April 2nd, 2010 at 1:47 pm

[…] Sports Fan Loyalty Index – Link […]

Ben Weiss said on April 5th, 2010 at 12:09 am


I’m glad that you decided to disregard your temptation to pass over the Brand Keys press release and write about the topic of fan loyalty in this post. I found it very interesting that the MLB has now tied the NFL in overall fan loyalty, especially since I feel like there’s such a large discrepancy between the fan interest in the two sports. Not only do non-game events such as the combine and draft receive much more attention in football than baseball, but the NFL also has a higher viewership on its network (NFL Network) than the MLB (MLB Network). I, admittedly, am not an avid fan of baseball, however this was not always the case. I’ve become jaded by the abundance of steroids and lack of a salary cap which has led to excessively bloated contracts for “athletes” (see Sabathia, CC) whose actual athleticism pales in comparison to NFL players being paid significantly less. I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that my fanship’s transformation applies to all baseball fans (or even many baseball fans), but I’m surprised that loyalty has increased during the exposure of the steroid era. Cheating and lying to the fans by taking banned substances seems like a perfect reason why the MLB’s popularity would decrease, so why are fans more loyal when players are less?

On an individual team basis, I also found it interesting to see how a team’s geographic location and corresponding market size seemed to impact the rankings. While larger cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston would theoretically have and advantage over smaller markets because of their sheer size, small market teams have the “center of attention” factor. Nashville, by most accounts, isn’t a large metropolis, however the Tennessee Titans (who play in the city) essentially hold a monopoly on the region when it comes to the attraction of a professional sport. I see this being the case with my hometown team – the Kansas City Chiefs. The team hasn’t given its fans much to cheer about over the past decade, but since they’ve been around for so long (i.e. it’s not an expansion team) and there aren’t any nearby markets with alternative teams, fans have little choice for who they root for. In a situation like this, the team has the upper hand with regard to sponsors and other business partnerships in the area. Local broadcast affiliates have to outbid one another for the rights to broadcast the team’s games and sponsors looking to advertise through a pro sports organization will also likely have to pay a premium on the basis of basic supply and demand.

Teams in larger markets are not without their own advantages. Even though they likely compete for loyalty with other teams in other sports (and occasionally teams in their own sport as well), they have more wiggle room for higher fan turnover. For every casual fan who decides to curb the amount of time they spend cheering for the team (both live and on TV), there is a higher chance of a new fan developing interest in following the team. In addition, these teams tend to have a larger national appeal. People living in rural areas without a local team tend to gravitate toward the teams in the larger markets, maybe because smalltown folk are often drawn to big city life like moths to a flame.

I would be interested to see the advertising and media revenue of the top teams in the Brand Keys rankings. Thanks again for the very informative post!

Geoff Schaadt said on April 8th, 2010 at 2:23 pm

This must be a U.S. only study?

Can’t believe that none of Canadian NHL teams scored in the top five…

Kevin said on March 19th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

I would have to say that the Green Bay Packers are definitely in the top 5 for loyalty as teams goes, yes fans love the Brewers but the Wisconsin has always been huge on football. They have one of the longest waiting lists for season tickets and before the Favre era the Packers went through a 30 year drought and many fans stayed loyal.

Mark Flaherty said on April 7th, 2012 at 12:02 pm

You make some good points. But I’m stunned that throughout your post you seem to imply that steroid use has been a massive problem in baseball but not football. This baseball fan will acknowledge that MLB’s steroid problems are real, if sometimes a bit overblown. But for some reason these problems get huge press while the frequent steroid use in the NFL gets hardly a mention.

Tony C. said on November 24th, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Good article. Although I was suprised to see that certain teams were not in the top 5, it is interesting to see what drivers are used in implementing this kind of research for marketers. Knowing the brand loyalty of your consumer is important in decision making and planning for the future. Catering to your consumer base and fan base for professional sports is essential in obtaining further success.