A recently released annual report on NFL fanbases is not loving the Cincinnati Bengals. The research was conducted by Emory University’s sports analytics professor Michael Lewis. He ranked Cincinnati as the league’s 28th best fanbase.
Hey, it’s better than 32nd, right?
The Bengals were ranked above the Jaguars, Titans, Chiefs and Rams in that order. That said, Lewis ranked the teams based on three categories which were all summed up in an overall rank.
Fan equity, social equity and road equity was at the crux of the rankings.
Here’s how a fanbase was judged by Lewis via those three aforementioned categories.
“Fan Equity focuses on home box office revenues (support via opening the wallet). Social Media Equity focuses on fan willingness to engage as part of a team’s community (support exhibited by joining social media communities). Road Equity focuses on how teams draw on the road after adjusting for team performance.”
I think this is fair.
Teams that are beloved, both at home and by those around the country, travel well. They also care to engage with the team’s fanbase, which, in today’s age, is done via social media. Lastly, fan equity is who cares enough to spend money to see the team play.
All three are important factor in ranking the team.
In 2018, the Bengals ranked 26th in Twitter following. To add to that, Cincinnati’s home games brought in 406,028 in 2018, only in front of the Los Angeles Chargers who were playing in a limited-seating stadium.
It’s a bit more difficult to rate road equity, but the Bengals did rank 27th in number of fans at road games. That figure, which is over half a million, doesn’t necessarily count which of those fans supported the Bengals on the road, obviously a low percentage of that 505,261.
Lewis, who didn’t specifically mention Cincinnati much, did group the bottom five as a whole and highlighted what challenges they face.
“These teams all suffer from the same issues – relatively weak pricing power and limited social followings.”
That being said, let’s do better in 2019, Cincinnati!
A new coach, a rejuvenated team, and hopefully a winning culture will all grace Paul Brown in 2019. Let’s welcome them with a few sell-out performances.