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Kansas City Chiefs fan base rankings and the value of a ticket

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This article was inspired by the fan equity study written by Mike Lewis and Manish Tripathi. Some fans may have been upset to find their team didn't fare so well in their fan equity ranking. In particular Chiefs fans were very disappointed with the 27th ranking in the report.

The goal of this article is to get a second opinion in regards to fan loyalty based on different data as well as look at a number of other organizational rankings. The data collected for this article is from the past three seasons (2012 - 2014.)

Let's begin with fan loyalty. What makes a fan base dedicated to their team? What makes one fan base better than the other? It should be considered a fact that it is impossible to gauge the love a fan base may have for their team. Love and loyalty can't be measured by a statistic or by a number. A fan can't say, "I love my team by a value of X passion points." There is no value to the dedication, loyalty, and love that each fan around the NFL may have for their team. So how does one gauge such a thing?  The fact of the matter is: one can't. However, how much a person is willing to sacrifice out of their budget to see their favorite team play in person is something that can be measured. Also, the number of people who attend the games is also measurable.

Now that we've gotten the loyalty disclaimer out of the way let's begin digging into the numbers in regards to how much an individual is willing to spend to watch their team play, and how many people are willing to spend. The following data was used for this portion of the study.

  • The average entertainment budget of households for each NFL team's metropolitan area adjusted for cost of living. The average entertainment budget was drawn from the median income of the metropolitan areas. Income numbers were taken from census data and entertainment budget was set to 4.86 percent which was drawn from here.
  • The average cost of each NFL team's home tickets adjusted for cost of living.
  • The average home attendance percentage of each NFL team.
Have you fallen asleep yet? No? Good! Now lets take these numbers and observe this:

Which fan bases pay the highest percentage of their entertainment budget at the highest attendance percentages?
This value is drawn from simply multiplying the average cost of a ticket in regards to an average household's entertainment budget with the attendance capacity percentages of each fan base. If loyalty was based only on financial motives (which it isn't) then this would be your loyalty factor.

There you have it, the Browns who have frequently been touted as one of the most loyal fan bases in the NFL are the No. 1 team in regards to financial sacrifice per game combined with attendance percentage. It should be noted that Cleveland also had the lowest median income of all the NFL metropolitan areas. The Saints, Bengals, Colts, and Packers round out the rest of the top five.\ Each of these teams had low median incomes compared to the rest of the NFL metropolitan areas. However, the sixth place team, the Bears, had one of the highest median incomes; they just have to pay much higher prices for tickets. The Chiefs are No. 23 (oh no you di-int girl.)  -- We'll touch on this further on.

Now that we're on the topic of ticket prices let's take a jab at another question:

Which teams in the NFL have the most affordable tickets when adjusted to regional cost of living?
Below is another graph that illustrates ticket price affordability.

The Raiders have the most affordable tickets in the NFL when adjusted for cost of living. It's not surprising to the see the Patriots second from last given their success. It is also not surprising to see the Cowboys in last place given their otherworldly stadium. The Chiefs have the ninth most affordable tickets; which is not too shabby. It's interesting to see the most 'financially loyal' fan base (Browns) to have the second most affordable tickets and the least 'financially loyal' fan base (Raiders) to have the most affordable tickets. Interesting.

What if we used the cost of tickets and compared them to average wins for the past three seasons?

This data can tell us which NFL organizations have the most 'value' in terms of what they charge for their team's live game experience.
The obvious assumption here is that we as fans place value on winning - OF COURSE WE DO!!! Let's take a look shall we? Are we having fun yet?

I'm sorry Jaguars fans ... it appears as though you've been bamboozled. In all seriousness, the Jaguars have the least ticket value most likely due to the rough stretch they have endured over the past three seasons. The rest of the teams that round out the bottom of the list have also had a rough three season stretch. The Seahawks take the top position and provide great ticket value for their fans. Lastly, the Chiefs are near the middle of the pack at 15th. The value of their tickets would be much higher if it weren't for the two win 2012 season. In fact, if just the 2013 and 2014 seasons were taken into account for the Chiefs they would finish No. 3 on this list in regards to ticket value.

How about a nice little recap?
From the data, the Chiefs have to sacrifice the 25th most amount of their entertainment budget to attend a single game, they have the ninth most affordable tickets, and they have the 15th most value per ticket. At the end of the day this most likely means the Chiefs organization could be charging more for their tickets. It wouldn't be a shock to see the Chiefs ticket value jump up to near the top spot after a solid 2015 season; especially with the two win 2012 season holding them down in the data that was used for this article. Hopefully the Chiefs continue to charge less than they 'could' for their tickets in comparison to the rest of the league. Perhaps after all of this number crunching and all the talk about the Chiefs having the '27th ranked fans', it's not actually the fans who are in question. We all know we live, die, and breathe Chiefs football. The crowd noise record is a testament to that. Perhaps it is the Chiefs organization that is in question, and the answer to that question is: they are loyal to their fans by not driving up their prices in comparison to the rest of the league.

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