Over the past three years, Emory University has produced a study that attempts to rank NFL fan bases based on three separate factors. They look at money spent going to home games, social media interaction, and how a team draws when they go on the road.
For the second straight year, and the third time in the past four years, the San Francisco 49ers rank 10th in the NFL. And once again, they rank ahead of the Seattle Seahawks. They rank second in fan equity, ninth in social equity, and 26th in road equity.
Fan equity is home box office revenues. Social media equity involves fan willingness to engage as part of a team’s community (support exhibited by joining social media communities). Road equity is how teams draw on the road after adjusting for team performance. They average out the three rankings.
This survey started in 2015, so it is after Levi’s Stadium opened. Even with no shows at the stadium, home box office revenues were not going to dip in the early going. And now that the team appears to be moving in the right direction, the team is likely to remain high in box office revenue for the foreseeable future.
I’ve posted the full rankings below, and you can see them in the link above. The top five teams remain the same from last year, with the first change seeing the Chicago Bears climb ahead of the Saints. When Drew Brees retires, it will be interesting to see what happens with New Orleans.
For the time being, the 49ers remain ahead of the rest of the NFC West. The Seahawks show up at No. 17, the Cardinals at No. 25, and the Rams at No. 31. In a couple years, the Rams will make a big move up the “fan equity” rankings with their new stadium. Whether that translates to greater social media interest and fan travel remains to be seen.