The Chiefs didn’t rank well in 2017 or 2018, either. The team was 30th in these rankings in 2018, and 32nd in 2017.
All right... so what do these numbers mean?
Emory professor Mike Lewis collected information on three metrics, and explained them this way:
I use three measures of fan engagement: Fan Equity, Social Equity and Road Equity. Fan Equity focuses on home box office revenues (support via opening the wallet). Social Media Equity focuses on fan willingness to engage as part of a team’s community (support exhibited by joining social media communities). Road Equity focuses on how teams draw on the road after adjusting for team performance. These metrics provide a balanced analyses of fandom – a measure of willingness to spend, a measure unconstrained by stadium size and a measure of national appeal.
Somehow, Lewis failed to take into account the number of fans who utilize each NFL team’s SBNation site — which we could tell you would paint an entirely different picture!
You might be tempted to dismiss this information strictly on the basis of Kansas City’s relatively small market size. But according to Lewis, these figures have been adjusted not only for market size, but also for the amount of success each team is currently having.
Here’s how NFL teams were ranked in all three metrics, and in total.
Lewis — who has now published these reports for three years — already knows which fans he’s most likely to hear from.
The Chiefs are the team that will generate push back. The Chiefs have had some success and they have significant star power. The problem is that the Chiefs lack pricing power and do not have much of a social following (I use Twitter). However, the Chiefs and Browns are probably the best positioned teams to make moves up the charts the next few years.
It’s important to note that the whole purpose of this data isn’t to measure the intensity of feeling fans might have for their favorite team — although that’s undoubtedly a part of what drives Lewis’ data. Instead, it’s to measure how successful these brands are — that is, if a sponsor wanted to form a partnership with an NFL team, which one would be most likely to generate the best results?
As the Chiefs become more successful on the field — and Patrick Mahomes becomes more of a Sunday afternoon draw for NFL fans in general — it will be interesting to see how these numbers change in the coming years.