“Rise Up” might be the catch phrase and rally cry for the Atlanta Falcons on the field, but it’s also appropriate for what is happening with the Atlanta Falcons brand as a whole.
The Boston Globe article talking about Atlanta Fans got residents and fans talking. The research an Emory professor has done on NFL Teams and their fans is also getting people talking. He has ranked all NFL teams and while the Patriots’ fan base is strong, Falcons’ fans are “rising up.”
Professor Mike Lewis ranks the teams based on financial records (attendance, revenues and ticket prices) and social media presence.
For three years, Emory@Goizueta’s Mike Lewis has looked at actual fan behavior to determine which NFL teams have the best fans.
The NFL Fan Equity Rankings look at hard data like attendance (adjusted for venue), prices and revenues- basically, how the fans financially support their team. Lewis and his team found the real quality of a sports brand is revealed when fans support a team through the tough times.
So who has the best fans? The 2015 winner was the Dallas Cowboys. Lewis says the Cowboys have a storied history, a market that loves all forms of football and a world-class stadium. Who rounds out the top five and where does Atlanta rank?
2. New England
3. New York Giants
5. New York Jets
So who has the best fans? The winner this year is the Dallas Cowboys followed by the Patriots, Giants, Ravens, and Jets. The Cowboys have a storied history, a market that loves all forms of football, and a world-class stadium. “Deflate-gate” hasn’t hit the window of our analysis yet (it is after the 2014-2015 season), but the Pats strong showing in our ranking suggests that the impact will be small. The Jets position might be somewhat surprising, but this team draws well, and has great pricing power without a lot of winning on the field.
Lewis and his team also looked at social media to determine which fans had the most “fan equity” in their brand. The Social Media Equity analysis takes out city and stadium size and ticket prices to focus only on social media postings and the resulting rankings changed substantially. Here are the top five… and Atlanta.
3. New England
4. Green Bay
5. New Orleans
If the Falcons show improvement in social media like they have on the field, the sky is the limit and the “old guard” of sports cities will stop taking pot shots at Atlanta and the south. Being in Super Bowl LI can only help. 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.
How “Best” is determined:
“Best” is a funny word that can mean a lot of things but what we are really trying to get at is what team has the most avid, engaged, passionate and supportive fans. The twist is that we are doing this using hard data, and that we are doing it in a very controlled and statistically careful fashion.