Nine of the ten teams with the most loyal fan bases have been in the big leagues for well over a hundred years, dating to at least 1903. Building brand equity is a fascinating sports topic and I think it’s a difficult one for teams (in small markets) to manage. Cubs fans in the bleachers hold up "W" flags after a win against the New York Mets. Yankees merchandise remains among the most popular not only in MLB but in all of sports. The "Best Fans in Baseball" might not always be self-aware — no fan base is, though — but they're all-in on the Cardinals. Some have tattoos, some have every jersey known to man, and others have let it influence the naming of their children. One problem with having so many fans show up: security, with fights that have broken out at games the subject of recent lawsuits. Los Angeles Dodgers fans cheer prior to game one of the 2019 National League Division Series against ... [+] the Washington Nationals. Which program boasts the best college football fans? The Red Sox also ranked on Forbes’ list of America’s most passionate sports fans. It is not a perfect or infallible system, team spokesperson Zineb Curran admits, “but I also want to highlight how important our fans are to this endeavor. What if a team just opened a new stadium? Fortunately for baseball, today’s game relies less and less on “if you build it, they will come.” Television, merchandise and social media matter more than ever to engage fans—all of which are factors, along with attendance, that Forbes looked at to find the MLB teams with the most loyal fan bases. But first, what defines a fan? You can visit places you've never visited, send three or The yearly averages of Americans identifying themselves as baseball fans demonstrates the effect of the last strike, when the percentage of fans … Since what was supposed to be opening day on March 26, Fenway organist Josh Kantor has been playing Take Me Out To The Ballgame and other ballpark favorites every day from his home, live-streaming to a crowd of Red Sox fans that has grown to more than 8,400 from all over the world. “It also helps to have Bob Uecker calling our games,” Schlesinger says of the Hall of Fame announcer, famous for his self-deprecating humor. I failed at that, and softball, basketball, volleyball, track, ice skating and cheerleading in the process. Wrigley Field: Arguably the best fans in baseball and a truly unique design sets Wrigley apart from any ballpark outside of Fenway. How do we adjust for the fact that one team might have gone on a miraculous run that filled the stadium? I think this reveals something fundamental about fandom. Forbes’ ranking is based on fan consumption metrics over the last three years: local television ratings, attendance, secondary ticket demand, merchandise, social media reach and hometown crowd reach. It was a similar story for former Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones and former New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, both of whom reported being called the N-word at Fenway. The Boston Red Sox play in the legendary Fenway Park. The team sits near the top of the league in attendance despite being one of the most expensive tickets in the league. We want to know how bullish -- or bearish -- you are on Major League Baseball. The poll released this week found that 39 percent of respondents who identified as sports fans said they are watching fewer games this season, and politics is the reason why, Forbes reported. The Aug. 19-21 poll finds 45% of Americans identify themselves as fans of professional baseball, which is low by historical standards. What makes for a great fan or brand? In response to Torii Hunter’s recent comments that he was the target of racial taunts while playing Boston, the Red Sox owned up that they had work to do to rid the fan base of racial slurs and hate speech. They are baseball fans. And no stadium has a better 7th inning stretch. In the quest to find an overall winner, I use a weighted average of the three metrics (more weight on the fan equity metric). Attendance is often in the bottom five of the league despite being located in a major metro area. Who has the best fans in Major League Baseball? They are all able to motivate fans to attend and spend as they all possess great attendance numbers and relatively high prices. So which teams have the best fans? The Cubs’ fan base was third in this one, but the Cardinals’ fans in St. Louis easily grabbed the top spot as polled by MLB players. You can purchase a fan cutout to be placed in your favorite seat in your favorite stadium. But today, we try to rank the MLB’s best fan bases. The case of the Marlins reveals another common problem for franchises. Because of the backlash he received from fans, he apologized the next day for the use of the word—proving the fans are always right. Overall, the group of clubs that comprise the Top 6 contains little in the way of surprises: The Red Sox are perennially strong and finished first last year. I suspect that half measures might be the worst approach. Yankee fans cheer during the 2019 ALDS Game 2 against the Minnesota Twins. The St. Louis Cardinals have the best fans in baseball, as they will be all too pleased to tell you. Hear Mike Lewis discuss the best and worst fans in baseball for 2019, plus the collective bargaining agreement and challenges facing the league. As for my sporting endeavor, I decided to focus on the one where I only compete with myself: running. Players won’t high-five or spit seeds. Despite being in the league’s smallest market and reaching the league championship series only three times in 52 seasons, the Brewers consistently rank in the top ten in the league in attendance. According to Texas A&M athletics, Blue Bell Park … - Babe Ruth explained it best, nothing needs to change #ESPNMLBPoll — Sam Colein (@scolein13) April 11, 2017 Cleveland is a passionate sports town. Or perhaps another team suffered a slew of injuries? 3. Many fans are drawn to the bigger and more dominant community – Yankees, Cubs, Giants or Dodgers rather than the Mets, White Sox, A’s or Angels. Thursday is Opening Day for the 2019 season, and as players hit the fields, Emory marketing professor Mike Lewis ranks all 30 teams based on the fans in the stands. Lots of reasons. Did the fans stream in to see the building or to see the team? I only ever made a team after my second time trying out, when I showed up the next year with my much more athletic younger sister. (Forbes doesn’t provide a full ranking of the most loyal teams beyond the top ten because of agreements with our data providers.). Looking back, the only thing amazing about my persistent pursuit of sporting glory was my lack of self-awareness. We're only focusing on the best so choose wisely. The poll, conducted March 18-20, also shows that fans believe an average of 4 in 10 Major League Baseball … Times staff writer Kevin Baxter offers his opinion about the cities with the 10 best and worst fan bases in baseball. Major League Baseball is back. And Major League Baseball fans seem to agree. 1 controversial. Now after studying business at Drexel University and journalism at NYU, I compete for bylines, primarily writing about the business of sports. (A more detailed methodology follows below.) Team president Rick Schlesinger credits the Brewers’ iconic ball-in-glove logo for their broad appeal beyond even baseball and their social media team, which has produced parodies in which players have re-enacted movie favorites like The Sandlot and Mean Girls, for keeping the team relevant to young fans. The “Overall” rankings are based on three sub-rankings: fan equity, social equity and road equity. Team president Rick Schlesinger says the ballpark’s retractable roof makes it a popular travel destination for visiting team fans. The bottom of the list features the Marlins, White Sox, Indians, Athletics and Rays. And they all received nominations in The Athletic’s first-ever (and perhaps last-ever) super official poll to determine baseball’s Best Celebrity Fan. Get updated NCAA Baseball DII rankings from every source, including coaches and national polls. The Braves’ winning streak in the 1990s—eight consecutive division pendants, five National League titles and one World Series championship—helped their merchandise become among the most popular in baseball. TEAMS. As Major League Baseball marks Opening Day, "Fanalytics" guru Mike Lewis delves into data to determine which teams have the most loyal, passionate fans. More people in Los Angeles identify as fans of the Dodgers than of any other team in the city, including the NBA’s iconic Los Angeles Lakers. // I spent the first half of my life trying to be an athlete so I could become the second woman after Mary Lou Retton to appear on the front of a Wheaties box. People from all over find us just to hear him.”, The three newest members of the league, which joined in the 1990s, are also the three with the least loyal fans: the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Miami Marlins and the Tampa Bay Rays. Hockey and baseball fans, each with only one franchise represented. March 27, 2019. MiLB News. Fan Equity is a revenue premium based metric that compares the team’s box office results with league standards. You may opt-out by, Fort Myers, Florida. “The league has become too political,” was the preferred answer of 38 percent of respondents to explain why they aren’t watching the NBA this year. They also won the World Series. Prices on the secondary market remained the highest in the league, and tickets were as hot as any in the city among tourists. But there are signs of problems in Redbird Nation, which self-describes as the “best fans in baseball.” The Marlins’ finish is a reflection of how the team struggles on multiple dimensions. In the case of the Blue Jays, the improvement in ranking was mostly driven by attendance growth in 2016 and 2017. document.write(theDate.getFullYear()) Television information was unavailable for the Toronto Blue Jays because Nielsen has figures only for the U.S., but the team was not penalized in the ranking for that missing metric. The Indians are an interesting case as well. The Indians’ social media following—2.4 million—exceeds Cleveland’s metro area population, and the team often gets credited as one of the earliest social media adopters in all of sports, with a dedicated social media space in the ballpark. More New York City baseball fans favor the Mets over the neighboring Yankees with Opening Day due this weekend, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Friday. The two oldest franchises in the league, the Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta Braves, who both started National League play in 1876, are among them. There’s no easy way to sift through 130 FBS fan … (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images), EY & Citi On The Importance Of Resilience And Innovation, Impact 50: Investors Seeking Profit — And Pushing For Change, Michigan Economic Development Corporation With Forbes Insights. Sales of right fielder Bryce Harper’s jersey set a record for any sport for any player during the first 24 hours after his signing last year, helping to make the team’s merchandise among the league’s best-selling. The large market teams likely have the best fan bases because they often have significant histories of success and are often featured in the media. For the past few years, I have been studying fandom across professional and college sports. // The Cardinals finished 2019 with the best TV ratings and highest attendance in MLB. Will the current popular strategy of cycles of tanking and competing yield enough winning and “temporary” star to build brands? After my closest attempt at sporting success came in a spelling bee (thank you ESPN for televising and giving that sport cred), I finally decided to take the advice of all those coaches who told me I had the brains and benchwarmer's big mouth better suited for sideline competition. 1. It is a simple theory but the end result is that the second team in a market will struggle to compete. var theDate=new Date() Here’s Lewis, a professor in Emory’s Goizueta Business School, explaining his methodology and then ranking the teams, excerpted from his Sports Analytics Research blog. (True story: she played as my proxy on Forbes' softball team one season.) Copyright © There is also a more subtle point. There will be no seventh-inning stretch, no peanuts, no crackerjack. Additionally, the number of residents who identified as fans was down ten points from a high of 76% in prior years, per Nielsen. It was bad enough for Hunter that he negotiated a no-trade clause to the Red Sox into his playing contract, he said. Fans who show up even when the team is losing? Pitchers will not be able to lick their fingers between pitches. MLB’s most loyal fan bases are ranked based on the following quantitative consumption metrics: local television ratings (per Nielsen), stadium attendance based on capacity reached, secondary ticket demand (per StubHub), merchandise sales (per Fanatics), social media reach (Facebook and Twitter followers based on the team’s metro area population) and hometown crowd reach (defined by Nielsen as a percentage of the metropolitan area population that watched, attended and/or listened to a game in the last year). The Indians have made moves to shift from the Native American imagery but have retained the team name. View the complete list, with overall rankings and individual scores for fan equity, social equity and road equity. For home games during the 2020 season, the team will fill the stands with images of season-ticket holders. ... We had our beat writers ask as many players as they could — more than 240 in total — about the best players … But when you look at the numbers, there is not a lot of support. “When I was in Boston, it was so consistent,” Hunter told host Greg Hill about his experience with racism at Fenway. But Black players have felt differently about Fenway. Maybe Cardinals fans really are – in the aggregate – good and fair and knowledgeable and all the stuff that they will tell you they are. Each of these teams struggles with attendance; the Marlins barely managed to fill a quarter of their 37,446-seat stadium last season. University, Community, Athletics, School of Business. A member of the Cleveland Strikers runs the Indians flag on the right field wall as fans celebrate ... [+] the Indians. The “Overall” rankings are based on three sub-rankings – Fan Equity, Social Equity and Road Equity. The Cardinals finished 2019 with the best TV ratings and highest attendance in MLB. But the lure of the Bronx remains strong. This may not be the right weighting but it’s usually a good idea to emphasize how customers actually spend. The list is a measure of quantity of fan engagement. I think it’s mostly two (highly correlated) things: championships and stars. St. Louis Cardinals fans wait for autographs prior to a spring training game on February 22, 2020 in ... [+] Jupiter, Florida. For more details, check out his full Major League Baseball Fandom Report 2019, which also explores the impact of baseball’s aging fan base, what happens when teams “tank,” collective bargaining and more. June 4, 2017 July 5, 2018 Michael Lewis Fan Base Analyses, Fan Equity, MLB, MLB Fan Rankings, Social Media MLB Fandom Report 2017: The “Best” Fans in Baseball – Rough Draft Who has the best fans in Major League Baseball? The list of winners probably raises an issue of “large” market bias. The markets with two teams seem to yield dramatically different results within each market. Pitcher Madison Bumgarner gets a standing ovation from Giants fans in one of his last games with the ... [+] team. In May 2019, the team banned a fan from Wrigley for life after he flashed a white supremacist symbol during an in-game report on its local NBC partner. Click here for the full list of MLB team valuations. To be fair in determining social media reach, in the multi-team markets, we divided the population accordingly. Fenway is the oldest baseball stadium in the United States and is… Or perhaps another team suffered a slew of injuries? The percentage of Americans who are baseball fans dropped to as few as 41% during the last strike, but was as high as 63% in September 1998, during Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa's home run race. “If you doubt him because you’ve never heard it yourself, take it from us, it happens,” the statement read, adding that the problem exists for Black employees, too. The topic of how these brands are built over time is another one of my favorite things to talk about. MiLB is … In order to determine the best cities for baseball fans, WalletHub compared 361 of the most populated U.S. cities based on 31 key metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Merchandise was for units moved, not dollars spent. Texas A&M — Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. The Giants and Johnson then issued statements condemning her campaign and racism. Fans who are willing to pay the most? Teams over capacity were given the same consideration as if they had reported 100%. The team has ranked in the top three in MLB in local TV ratings in each of the last three years. “Spring” training will reopen today after the coronavirus forced teams to shut down in March, and a shortened 60-game season is set to start on July 23. Matters such as a pitcher beaning a batter will have to be settled in some way other than a bench-clearing brawl. The team has been among the top five in attendance every year since. The Yankees closed out the 2010s having not played in a World Series, a kind of losing streak that the team had suffered through in only one previous decade in its 117-year history. While the “winners” tend to come from the bigger and more lucrative markets, other major market teams do not fare particularly well (White Sox, A’s). The Blue Jays illustrate an important feature of the model. The Milwaukee Brewers are the only whippersnappers among the top ten, having joined MLB in 1969. ", © 2020 Forbes Media LLC. Why do the Marlins struggle? The 2018 MLB Poll: Most intimidating? The biggest change of all, though: no fans in the stands. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. The team has since retired its laughing Indian logo, and during the playoffs last season, it began efforts to reduce the use of the tomahawk chop in the ballpark. The key is that these models are used to determine which cities’ fans are more willing to spend or follow their teams after controlling for factors like market size and short-term variations in performance. Even after we agree on the question(s), answering it is also a challenge. Scott Kane USA TODAY Sports To account for bandwagon fans, we considered both the numbers and the trends for the past three years. The method is explicitly designed to control for differences in market demographics (and team performance). Fandom is what separates college football from the rest of the sports world. This is intended to provide stable but evolving measures of brand equity. Emory University - All Rights Reserved | 201 Dowman Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30322 USA 404.727.6123, Emory, Georgia Tech share in McCamish Foundation commitment for Parkinson’s research, Emory seniors, recent graduate named 2021 Schwarzman Scholars, Militarizing police does not reduce crime, new Emory data analysis finds. Fans who show up even when the team is losing? ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Cardinals fans pride themselves as the “Best Fans in Baseball,” and in a way they are, according to a new analysis from WalletHub. 1. Which team has the best farm system? Its social media following has more than doubled, to 5.9 million, and is more than twice that of the crosstown rival Chicago White Sox. The … Historically, the Cubs are the best example of this. Boston is probably the best sports town in America. 2. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for baseball fans. In terms of year over year comparisons, there is a good amount of stability on the list. I failed at, I spent the first half of my life trying to be an athlete so I could become the second woman after Mary Lou Retton to appear on the front of a Wheaties box. “I heard ‘N-word, N-word,’ just chanting my name, and I looked at these grown-ups, and they are clapping and laughing.”. The Forbes best fans ranking looks at … They are all baseball fans. Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper celebrates with fans after a home run. Still, the team managed to set a single-season franchise attendance record in 2019 of 3,974,309—49,066 per game—including 28 sellouts. Cubs fans are still showing their appreciation for the team breaking its 108-year-old drought and winning the World Series in 2016. I can be seen crossing the finish line of my front door celebrating my first place victory a few mornings a week...then eating a bowl of Wheaties, because "that's what big girls eat. Last year, the Indians dropped their racially insensitive caricature Chief Wahoo from their uniforms, but it remains on merchandise sold to fans despite concerns from Native American groups. Not surprising, MLB is run on nostalgia. “His style attracts and transcends generations of fans. In 2018, Giants fans threatened a boycott after learning that one of the team’s owners, Charles B. Johnson, had donated to Mississippi Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith’s Senate campaign, which drew national headlines for a comment about a public hanging and other racist remarks. Emory Report | Even after we agree on the question(s), answering it is also a challenge. What makes for a great fan or brand? Petco Park – San Diego Padres Those who haven’t been to Petco Park may find the continued ranking at No. 4. Fans who are willing to pay the most? Visit Fan Rankings to rank the Top 10 of your favorite athletes across multiple sports such as the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and etc. However, keep in mind that the methodology is designed to control for home market effects. The Red Sox say they are working to do better, pointing to already-established consequences like game ejections and lifetime bans. PNC Park A past winner in the fan vote for Best of the Ballparks, the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates … 1 on our list, are a reminder that numbers don’t always tell the full story, though. Managers will have to yell at umpires from six feet away, hoping they can kick dirt at them from that far. The Best Baseball Brands. More to the point, these teams are even able to draw well and command price premiums when they are not winning. Wondering where your team ranks? An open question is how much of the problem is the Indians’ branding? Some notable movers on the list were the Blue Jays and Phillies moving up and the Diamondbacks and Indians dropping down. -Chip Caray (play by play) -Jeff Francoeur (analyst) -Tom Glavine (analyst) -Joe Simpson (analyst) Previous rankings:… "Baseball was, is and always will be to me the best game in the world." When I calculate the brand “premiums” I use the most recent three seasons. How do we com… Without even being there! This should give prospect fans plenty to chew on until MLB Pipeline starts unveiling its 2020 top prospects ranking later this month. Our metrics show the team’s fan base is bigger than the Milwaukee metro area’s population of 1.6 million. How do we compare fan behavior in a market like New York with fans in a place like Milwaukee? Milwaukee Brewers fans cheer on their team during the playoffs. In early June, Torii Hunter, a former outfielder who spent 19 years in the league, went on a Boston radio show to discuss just how bad it is in Beantown for Black players. In general, the clubs at the top of the list share these same traits. We made no differentiation among teams that reported attendance figures beyond capacity. My approach to evaluating fan bases is to use data to develop statistical models of fan interest (more details here). New York, United States About Blog The official blog of Minor League Baseball. Boston Red Sox fans during a spring training game against the Atlanta Braves on March 1, 2020 in ... [+] Fort Myers, Florida. Los Angeles, CA: Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles Dodgers) When you first look at Dodger Stadium, it's … Rays (48%) 2. Take our poll below, and tweet at us using the hashtag #ESPNMLBPoll . Fan bases are communities and many fans want to be a part of the most popular group. But there are signs of problems in Redbird Nation, which self-describes as the “best fans in baseball.” For the first time since its current stadium opened in 2006, the team failed to sell out a playoff game in October—fewer people were in Busch Stadium for Game 4 of the NLDS against the Braves than for a typical regular-season game. In the past five seasons, the Dodgers have increased the average price of their season ticket package upwards of 90% and of individual tickets to $43, from $25. Florida weather, a short history (fandom is often generational), a history of small payrolls and bad teams, and Miami being a transient city. There are many different opinions, and many different rankings, and there may never be an official list. But the Padres play in baseball’s best stadium. Fans who are willing to follow a team on the road or social media? Due to COVID-19, fans are currently not allowed to attend MLB games. Overall fan sentiment at baseball stadiums has increased 17 percent over the last seven years, suggesting that teams are providing a better in-game experience for fans. His practice of taking Twitter requests from fans since 2011 is cited as one reason the stadium is family-friendly. After witnessing a 6-5 win at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates in late September, Phillies fans booed Harper and the team for not winning by more, prompting former utility player Sean Rodriguez, whose home run won the game, to call them “entitled” in the press. But fortunately, you can still be there! It also helped bring attention to the team’s Native American-inspired theme, widely seen as derogatory. Or in marketing terms, what are the best brands in baseball? In the case of the Phillies the improvement was about growing attendance coupled with relatively high prices. But Phillies fans are a notoriously tough crowd. It is interesting that the bottom also includes teams from major markets such as the Bay Area, Chicago and Miami. Fans who are willing to follow a team on the road or social media? In response, the Red Sox issued a statement on Twitter validating Hunter’s experience. PRINCETON, NJ -- As baseball's spring training winds down and doctors review the first round of drug tests for the new season, a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll finds fans are very concerned about the impact of performance-enhancing drugs on the national pastime, and that one in four are willing to say the drugs are "ruining" the game. This is a good sign since sports brands should evolve slowly. Padres (36%) Also received votes: Braves, D-backs, Dodgers, Mets Outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr.’s jersey was one of the league’s best-selling last season. FOX Sports MLB’s official Twitter account ran a poll Tuesday asking fans to vote on the best ballpark in the American League East. Attendance hit a record low last season but is still top ten in the league.