It's official. What we've known ever since 1996 has now been confirmed by data analysts.
Researchers at Emory University's (my future alma mater, I hope) Sports Marketing Analytics department have crunched the numbers, and the Ravens came out on top.
Instead of using simple opinion surveys from fans, Emory used more advanced metrics to determine which fans are really the best, or most loyal to their teams.
I'll let the Emory guys explain exactly how they came up with their rankings.
"In terms of the nuts and bolts of what we are about to present, we use fifteen years of data on NFL team performance, ticket prices, market populations, median incomes, won-loss records and multiple other factors. We create statistical models of box office revenue, and then see which teams over- and under- perform the model’s predictions."
Whoa. They're working with some pretty advanced stuff here. Anyways, you came here for the rankings, and here they are.
So what's the takeaway here? Emory's research was partially centered on fans willingness to financially support their team. Or as the researchers state, "It’s one thing to just say you are a fan of a local team, and quite another to be willing to pay several thousand dollars to purchase a season ticket." Another key aspect was if fans stuck with their team, as "the real quality of the sports brand is revealed when fans support a team through the tough times."
Basically the TL;DR (Too Lazy; Didn't Read) of all this is that the Ravens are able to consistently draw crowds to M&T Bank Stadium, and don't have 'fair-weather' fans.
In addition to this year, the Ravens finished 8th and 7th in the previous installments of these rankings in 2013 & 2014. These results are a testament to the team's ability to cultivate a winning culture and fan loyalty among their fan base in just twenty short seasons.
No matter what the statistics say, I don't know if any other fan base is capable of doing this.
"That's the loudest manure chant I've ever heard." - Al Michaels
If you'd like to read more about Emory's research, check out their brilliant content here.