The Dallas Cowboys top the Emory University Sports Marketing Team's list of most loyal fanbases, followed by the New England Patriots and then New York Jets. Surprisingly, the Green Bay Packers' fans ranked at 14, and the Oakland Raiders' fans in last at 32.
The criterion used to determine the loyalty of the fanbases are as follows:
A ranking based on attendance would be skewed toward teams that play in more populated metropolitan areas, and a ranking based on profitability or revenues would be biased in favor of teams that are currently enjoying more on-field success. 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.
The problem with what Emory's Sports Marketing Team is attempting to do is that fan loyalty is a very hard thing to quantify. There are a multitude of factors involved in determining the loyalty of any fanbase, and although I can appreciate the Emory students' approach to ranking that loyalty, I do not believe they were on the mark. Raiders fans have long been among the craziest, loudest, baddest fans in the league, yet they ranked last? It takes years to get off the Packers' season-ticket waiting list, but their fans come in at a measly #14. There are bandwagon teams (Steelers, Cowboys) and then small-market teams (Chiefs, Browns) that find a way to maintain committed fans through good times and bad, but mostly bad. I like where the Ravens' fans place on this list, but I don't think it goes far enough to truly capture the loyalty of NFL fanbases.