The Cincinnati Bengals and their fans aren't getting much love in a pair of popularity rankings.
The first comes from Scholar Blogs, which formed a study on fan, social and road equity and how it can be used to determine how popular professional sports teams are. The teams near the bottom of this ranking typically suffer from relatively low attendance, have below average pricing power and have limited social followings. They also have limited drawing power as a road team.
Unfortunately, those issues have plagued the Bengals at various points in recent years, which is why the team ranked 28th overall in this ranking of fan bases and team brands:
After the disastrous 2016 season the Bengals had, it’s not all that surprising to see the team ranked so low. Though, even the lowly Browns rank higher than the Bengals.
A poor season led to some bad attendance numbers as the season wore on, not to mention a lack of interest from a large portion of the fanbase.
Another popularity study, this one from Yahoo Sports, also has the Bengals ranked very low, though a bit higher at 24th overall, as far as the most and least popular teams in the league.
24. Cincinnati Bengals
> 2016 pct. stadium filled: 92.4% capacity
> 2016 avg. home attendance: 60,511
> 5-year record: 49W/29L/2T
> Home stadium: Paul Brown Stadium - Cincinnati, OH
> 2017 avg. ticket price: $164
Cincinnati Bengals fans may be tired of having their hopes dashed. The team lost in the first round of the playoffs after strong regular season performances in five of the last six seasons.
You may see the 92.4-percent stadium capacity and wonder how the Bengals can be so low, but the NFL is so popular that most franchises hit close to 100 percent, and sometimes even surpass capacity.
Not the Bengals, at least not last year. By the time Buffalo came to Paul Brown Stadium in Week 11, fan attendance had begun reaching the lowest it had been in the past six years, which was a period that saw the team experience five straight winning seasons. Sadly, none of those resulted in a single postseason win, which is why so many fans were already on edge with this team and willing to stop coming to games once the team started struggling in the regular season.
And the Bengals haven’t exactly ranked super high in these types of studies even when they were winning, though they typically ranked better than this. That’s unfortunate, but that’s life in professional sports, especially for a small market team.
Hopefully, the Bengals have a resurgent 2017 season and jump back into the upper half of these rankings. Winning puts butts in the seats, and the Bengals have the potential to win a lot in 2017.