When you think of the best football fans in the country, most people would immediately go to the SEC… Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, and so on. The passion for football in the deep south is unparalleled. So when attempting to rank the fan bases, the measures for doing so surely become tricky.
Leave it to a few professors at Emory University business school to find new variables to make this happen. On Emory’s sports marketing blog have been dozens of studies posted about basketball and football and ranking different conferences, teams, and fan bases. This time they rank the SEC football fans based on “revenue premium-based brand equity” and Kentucky does not fare well.
Without diving into too many ugly details, the formula used to calculate the rankings is something similar to a return on investment measure. The statistical model predicts team revenues as a function of metrics related to team performance, like winning percentage and bowl participation. You can read more about the ranking process on the Emory blog.
Over the last ten years, Georgia has the number one football fan base in the SEC according to the study. Separating the Bulldogs from Alabama – who many would think are on top of the world right now in the Saban Dynasty – is Georgia averaging 12 percent more in revenues per year than Alabama. Both teams averaged between 9 and 10 wins per year, but a handful of home games in 2002 and 2004 for the Crimson Tide were not filled to capacity, and that was the difference.
Kentucky comes in at No. 10 in the list, just ahead of Vanderbilt. While the blog post does not spell out the reasoning behind the Wildcats rank, it likely has a lot to do with wins and losses and not so much about revenue and overall fan loyalty.
Give Mark Stoops a few years and the Cats will climb up this list. No question.