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The NFL’s Most (And Least) Loyal Fan Bases
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It’s one of the most hotly debated topics among all NFL fans – which team’s fan base is really the most loyal? To determine the best-followed NFL teams, we compared stadium attendances (using ESPN data) vs capacities across the NFL in the 10 seasons between 2010-2019.
Using this data, we then ranked each team on its 10-year average percentage attendance. Where some teams recorded greater than 100%, this is attributed to additional fans in hospitality or standing room-only sections.
Which NFL teams Have The Most Loyal Fan Base?
According to our research, fans of the Dallas Cowboys are the most loyal in the NFL. The Cowboys recorded an average stadium attendance of 103.2% in the 10 seasons between 2010-2019. The fact that the Cowboys have not been to a Super Bowl since 1995 makes the loyalty of their fan base even more impressive. In fact, half of the top 10’s most-supported teams have failed to win a Super Bowl since 2010.
In a close second behind the Cowboys are the Indianapolis Colts, boasting an average 10-year attendance rate of 102.2% stadium capacity. Behind the Colts in third place is the Philadelphia Eagles, the only team in the NFL to record at least 100% capacity each season between 2010-2019. This data shows the Eagles’ fan base can be crowned as the most consistently loyal in the NFL.
In a tie for fourth place, with average attendances of 101.2% over the 10 seasons between 2010-2019, are the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. Just behind them are the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears, which recorded average attendances of 100.6% and 100.5% over the same period, respectively. Rounding out the top 10 are the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens, the final two teams with at least 100% average attendance.
Interestingly, despite playing in an impressive five Super Bowls (winning three) between 2010-2019, the New England Patriots (99.4%) only rank 11th on our list.
Which NFL Teams Struggle to Attract Capacity Crowds?
While some NFL teams regularly exceed stadium capacity on gamedays, there are some that struggle to attract a full crowd.
The worst culprit of this, with the lowest average stadium attendance between 2010-2019, is the Los Angeles Rams. On average, the Rams’ stadium is only at 84% capacity on gamedays. In fact, the Rams have placed in the bottom five for average attendance in all but two of the last 10 seasons (2011 and 2019). Let’s see if the move to SoFi Stadium, the team’s home since September 2020, makes a difference.
Just above the Rams, with an average gameday stadium attendance of just 85.9%, is the Washington Football Team. Rounding out the bottom three is the 2020 Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers (86.4%). The Bucs labored a little with attendance in the 2010s but are likely to see a rise in attendance due to their current on-field success since signing of star quarterback Tom Brady.
The Cincinnati Bengals (86.7%) rank 29th in the NFL for average stadium attendance between 2010-19 but were ranked dead last in 2019 with a measly average attendance figure of 72%. The Las Vegas Raiders (89.8%), whose fans have a reputation for being rabid and outlandish, weren’t much better off, with an average of one-in-10 seats in their stadium sitting vacant each game. The Raiders have since relocated to Las Vegas, and the numbers at new Allegiant Stadium promise to be much more impressive.
The Buffalo Bills (91.5%) and Cleveland Browns (92.4%) also are included among the lowest-ranked NFL teams for fan base loyalty, and they are joined by the Miami Dolphins (93.1%) and Jacksonville Jaguars (93.7%). Curiously, the Los Angeles Chargers (94.3%) rank as the 10th worst-supported team over the 10-year period, despite filling their stadium more than any other NFL team in both 2018 (121.4%) and 2019 (117.6%).
As crowds continue to return to full capacity after last year’s pandemic-led interruption, it’ll be interesting to see which teams top the attendance charts over the next few seasons! In the meantime, check out all the latest NFL odds and NFL picks for your team from the top betting sites in the country.
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