A new survey demonstrates how National Football League fan loyalty is affected by action on and off the field. Fan loyalty in the NFL has fallen from first to third place among major league sports as a result of the Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice scandal according to a new survey. The Brand Keys survey Sports Fan Loyalty Index measures overall professional league loyalty.
In January 2014, self-classified football fans representing the NFL’s 32 teams rated the NFL first in terms of league loyalty. Survey results taken after the Rice domestic violence case show the fans rating the NFL in third, dropping below Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association. Loyalty for the Baltimore Ravens team (ranked at number 7 this year) has not been unaffected by the publicity surrounding the Rice video.
The Sports Fan Loyalty Index was designed to help professional team management identify precise fan loyalty rankings in their home and national markets. The survey is based on an apples-to-apples comparison of the intensity that fans within the team’s home market area support their team versus the corresponding values of fans from other teams or leagues. The survey measures on the following components:
History and tradition (33 percent): Are the game and team part of a fan’s community rituals, institutions and beliefs? These include both moral and legal codes of behavior and principals.
Fan bonding (29 percent): Are players particularly respected and admired? (An issue like domestic violence will not only have its effects primarily on this driver, but on an overall basis as well.)
Pure entertainment (21 percent): How well a team plays, wins and losses – but even more importantly than a win to loss ratio, how entertaining is the play?
Authenticity (17 percent): How well do the players work as a team? What’s the offense and defense like? (How does the team – and in this particular instance the league – behaves in a situation like Rice’s.)
Here are the top five and bottom five NFL teams according to the 2014 survey. For comparative purposes, the numbers in parentheses provide the team’s 2013 rankings:
1. New England Patriots (1)
2. San Francisco 49ers (4)
3. Green Bay Packers (2)
4. Denver Broncos (7)
5. Indianapolis Colts (5)
32. Oakland Raiders (32)
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (31)
30. Cleveland Browns (30)
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (24)
28. Dallas Cowboys (26)