Facebook Ranks NFL Fans – June, 2014
Facebook Ranks NFL Fans
Facebook Ranks NFL Fans without even trying, using their simple one like per person system they have been using for years. So, where does YOUR teams fan base rank?
I just concluded an update of the NFL Team’s “Links Pages” at NFL Trash Talk .com, adding the top FB Pages to the other links, and the process peaked my curiosity. Which Team has the most active fans on Facebook?
What NFL team’s official FB page has the most “Likes”?
As you might expect, each team’s Official Facebook Page gets the most likes hands down, and for the most part, it is this primary page that we’ve used to rank the 32 teams based upon Facebook “Likes”. We used another Facebook measure called, “People talking about this”. This measure is what broke the ties between teams with Equal Likes, in the millions.
The Facebook Ranks NFL Fans list is below, & has the current likes as of June 15, 2014, but there are more interesting facts about the NFL on Facebook following the list. Keep in mind that Facebook has only been in existence since 2004.
The debate on “why certain teams have a more active Facebook fan base” has several arguments, and we discovered which ones carry the most weight!
The Size of the Host City
It would seem natural that the population of the host town would make a great deal of difference. However, when you compare New York City’s Population (19 Million) to Green Bay Wisconsin’s (105 Thousand) that argument doesn’t hold true.
If the host city’s population made a big difference then the Giants and Jets should be the most popular teams in the NFL. NYC has almost four times the population of the entire state of Wisconsin, yet the Packers fan base beats out both those teams! (All the info-graphics in this post are interactive. Hover over an item for more info.)
The Age of the Team
Team age is figured from the first year in the teams current Host City.
Of the original teams formed in 1933, only five remain that retained the same name and are hosted by their original city. They are:
The New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles. (The Lions moved to Detroit after their first year, or they would be in this group.)
The “Team Age” argument holds some merit, since all five of these teams are ranked in the top eleven of the “Facebook Ranks NFL Fans” list. When a team moves they risk losing a major portion of their fan base, especially when a name change is also part of the equation.
Then, as the Houston Texans did, when a new franchise moves into town to replace the old one, the city’s former die hard NFL fans will adopt the new team. I dare say that there are very few Tennessee Titan fans in Houston! At 12 years old, the #20 Houston Texans are the youngest team, and their fan base should be proud. They are ahead of 5 teams who are 45 years or older.
The #22 Lions (80 years) & #18 Redskins (77 years) are the only two geriatrics in the bottom half of this list, and it’s easy to see that the only teenager to slip into the top half of the list is the 18 year old Ravens. The reasons these anomalies exist will begin to show up in the next table.
Winner Vs. Looser
It’s fairly obvious that the biggest single reason for fan activity is winning. Fans love a winner, and the influence of the “What have you done for me lately?” syndrome runs rampant through the sport. It begins with the fans, and they certainly affect the decisions made by most NFL Executives, since fans are the ones who spend money on overprice Beer, Hot Dogs and NFL Gear!
It takes a lot of winning to reach the Super Bowl. Take a look at the top left hand cluster of green and blue dots in the above graphic. Notice the big gap between that group and the group of blue and red dots to the lower right. The green dots are the top 11 teams in FB Popularity. The blue dots are the middle 10, and the red dots are tied to the bottom 11 teams.
The top green and blue cluster of dots are tied to the 14 most popular Facebook teams, but the reason they are all grouped where they are falls directly into the “What have you done for me lately?” category called “Most recent Super Bowl Appearance” (not necessarily a win).
As mentioned, Facebook arrived on the scene in ’04, and when you hover over the Eagles green dot you see that ’04 is the last year they appeared in a Super Bowl. That also shows you that all the teams dots on the left appeared since 2004, and that the only two teams in this group who last appeared before ’04 are the Raiders (’02) & Cowboys (’95).
The only team in the bottom group of 18 teams with a post 2004 SB appearance is the Cardinals, who lost in ’08. Our evidence is mounting, but does a team’s Super Bowl Win % have any affect?
Last Super Bowl Win
Last SB Win
The Year of the Last SB Win table shows some interesting facts. When you drop down to the horizontal line between the #16 Jets & #17 Vikings, you see that only four Super Bowl winners remain in the bottom half of the list. A quick glance will show you that the Eagles are the only team in the top half who have never won a Super Bowl.
If you take time to count the blanks you’ll see that there are a total of thirteen Teams who have NEVER won a Super Bowl. Our FB Popularity study shows that “Just Getting There Does Matter” to the fans. Smart fans don’t ignore what it took for their team to get a shot in the final game. In the last info-graph, we finally get a look at;
Super Bowl Wins, Losses and Win %:
When you look at the top left table, it’s easy to see that the darkest greens are mostly at the top of the page indicating that Superbowl appearances make a difference in the popularity of a team. Glancing at the table to the right shows a lot of gray dots in the bottom section. Those teams have NEVER WON a Super Bowl.
When you place your cursor over the dots in the second table, the box that opens provides you with all the stats that we used on that team in this study, and reveals some interesting facts. The Vikings and Bills share the dubious distinction of being the two teams who have appeared in 4 Super Bowls without a win.
The Cowboys and Steelers are the only teams appearing in 8 SB’s, but despite having a better win% the Steelers trail the Boys in FB Popularity, by just 1.2 Million Likes. (Do you suppose that it’s because the Steelers don’t have cheerleaders?)
The Broncos and Patriots are next with 7 appearances each, but the Broncos have lost more SB’s than any other team, and that may have affected their status. Only 1 team has six SB wins (Steelers), 2 teams have 5 SB wins (Cowboys & 49ers), 2 teams have 4 SB wins (Packers & Giants), and 2 teams have 3 SB wins (Raiders & Redskins).
Summary: These are some standard items that hold some weight.
- You need to at least appear in some Super Bowls to gain a larger fan base.
- If you NEVER win a Super Bowl you’ll never reach the top of the Popularity List.
- Time in the league doesn’t really matter if you don’t win.
- Size of the Host City only helps when you’re winning.
- When popularity matters, “Winning IS Everything”.
There are 7 teams in the NFL that are under twenty years in their current host city. All but one are in the bottom half of the league in Facebook fan activity. Only two of them have won a Super Bowl, and three of them join the Lions as the 4 teams who have yet to appear in a SB.
I’ll be posting a summary on each team indicating why I think that team is ranked where they are, and what I see them doing in the near future. The links to the ones that are completed are below.
Following the Super Bowl in Feb., 2015, I’ll update this post to see what teams have moved up in the rankings and consider what caused the changes.
Note: Clicking the “NFL Teams – News Feeds” button will give you the daily news feeds from just these sites: NFL.com, MMQB.SI.com, Fansided and Sports On Earth.
When you hover over that button, the drop down menu will provide much more news in the individual teams news feeds (updated every hour). They include everything on the net, not just the news from the official NFL site, but from the entire MSM and all active fan sites that post daily.
Take a minute and join NFL Trash Talk. It’s free, and we’d love to get your comments and input.