Posted at 1:02 PM on August 13, 2008
by Chris Dall
If you haven't caught it yet, those great sports minds over at Forbes have come out with another list, this time ranking teams by the loyalty of their fans. The fans of the Texas Rangers and The Boston Red Sox topped the list, while Twins fans came in second to last.
I won't get in to all the details of the study, because honestly, I practically fell asleep halfway through the article. The basics are this: the rankings were calculated by measuring the correlation between attendance statistics and winning percentage since 1991, and from that the reporters determined how quickly fans embraced a team when they started winning, and how quickly they dropped off when the team started losing. Fans that embraced winners quickly, and dropped losing teams quickly, were deemed less loyal. Controls were added for new stadiums and ticket prices.
The biggest thing to remember is this: Forbes is the same magazine that ranked Kevin McHale as the best GM in sports. Nuff said.
Okay, I see one problem with the logic. What about teams that haven't gone through that cycle in the time period in question? The Braves have basically been winners for almost that whole time. The Rays (except for this season) and the Pirates have been bottom feeders for most of the period.
Of course this is what happens when you attempt to apply business metrics to an essentially emotional relationship. ;-)
Good point Jack. I actually think Braves attendance has gone down over the years, even when they were still winning the division regularly, which suggests to me that people just got bored with the success. They've had trouble selling out playoff games.
Basically, I think every team has a hardcore group of fans that will go to games no matter what, and the rest is made up casual fans who are more likely to attend games when the team is winning.