“To say they are an average NFL fan base might hurt some feelings, but … being an average NFL fan base means you are one of the top fan bases across all American sports,” he said.
Lewis said the rankings, part of his Fanalytics Research Program, encompass three components in this order of weighting: fan equity (“fans’ willingness to attend and spend, which is the best overall metric”); social-media following; and talent equity (“how teams perform based on what they have invested into payroll over time, the theory being that players may be attracted to better brands with better fan bases and more marketing appeal.”)
Lewis said the Falcons scored higher in social media than in the other categories.
“Atlanta is a relatively young city,” he said, “and I think younger fans are more likely to express themselves on the social-media side than on the season-tickets side. If anything, that’s sort of an upward trend for the Falcons.”
Behind the No. 1 Packers, other teams with top-five fan bases, according to the study, are the New England Patriots at No. 2, the Dallas Cowboys at No. 3, the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 4 and the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 5.
As for the other end of the spectrum: “Two decades of losing, poor talent acquisition and a long-term name controversy have pushed (Washington) to the bottom of the list,” the study found. The Tennessee Titans’ fan base ranked next-to-last.