Was the Chiefs’ fan base as bad as their defense in 2018?
According to a quantitative analysis of NFL fandom, yes.
Chiefs’ fans ranked only ahead of the Los Angeles Rams for the 2018 season in a study conducted by Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business.
That’s a chop to the pride of a team that finished sixth in NFL home attendance, reached the AFC Championship Game and had first-year starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes win the NFL MVP award last season.
The analysis measures the entirety of the fan base and uses three criteria: fan equity, social equity and road equity, measuring how a team is supported at home (how much they spend on tickets, gear), on social media and on the road. The Chiefs ranked 29th in all categories.
The top five fan bases: Cowboys, Patriots, Eagles, Giants and Steelers.
Study author Mike Lewis acknowledged the Chiefs’ eyebrow-raising position.
“The Chiefs are the team that will generate push back,” Lewis wrote. “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.”
Large market or historically strong franchises have the advantage of fan bases that reach beyond its region. The Chiefs Kingdom may spread far but according to Lewis’ study, not as far as the fandoms of the Arizona Cardinals or Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Perhaps a few more years of Mahomes-led success can improve the equity.