With five Super Bowl championships and 15 of the last 17 AFC East division titles, the New England Patriots are used to coming in first.
Their fans, however, will have to settle for second according to a recent study.
On Tuesday, Emory University released its annual rankings of each team’s fanbase and for the second year in a row, New England fans came in at No. 2, only trailing the Dallas Cowboys.
Dr. Michael Lewis, an associate professor of marketing at Emory’s Goizueta Business School, uses three factors to compile the rankings.
The Patriots ranked first in “social equity,” which measures how engaged and loyal a team’s fans are on various social media platforms. In “fan equity,” a measurement of how much revenue fans create for their team through ticket sales, memorabilia, etc., New England placed third. The final factor, “road equity,” which examines how well fanbases travel to road games, placed the Patriots fifth.
Dallas and New England were the only two franchises to finish in the top five in all three metrics.
“Patriot fans may be bandwagon fans,” Lewis writes. “But they have been on the bandwagon a long time. A couple decades of success likely means that the Patriots will remain NFL royalty even after Tom Brady leaves the game.”
With the Cowboys and Patriots finishing first and second, the Eagles, Giants, and Steelers rounded out the top five.
The Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, and Tennessee Titans were ranked as the five worst fanbases.