Ranking the best SEC football fan bases


Emory Sports Marketing Analytics has been ranking college football fan bases for the last week and has been identifying which teams have the most loyal fans.

In the SEC, all 14 teams truly have great fan bases. But anytime anyone ranks fan bases, somebody is first…and somebody has to be last.

The rankings are based on Revenue Premium Brand Equity, which you can read about here. Below is a quick summary.

For the fan analyses, we build a statistical model that predicts team revenues as a function of metrics related to team performance such as winning percentage and bowl participation. We then compare actual revenues to what is predicted based purely on team performance (and other factors such as number of students, capacity, etc).

Related: 10 SEC fan bases included in this top 25 ranking


Here’s a snippet from Emory.edu on why Georgia ranks ahead of Alabama:

It should be pointed out that this study covers a ten-year period, and that the top four ranked schools in the SEC are also among the top ranked football fan bases in the country. So, what separates Georgia from Alabama? Over the period of our study, both Georgia and Alabama averaged between 9 and 10 wins a season. However, Georgia averaged 12% more in revenues per year than Alabama. Alabama also had a couple of years in the beginning of our sample (2002 & 2004) where the home games were not all filled to capacity. Thus, over the period of our study, when we control for team performance and other institutional factors, the Georgia fan base is just a bit more loyal and devoted.

Related: 10 inappropriate ways for SEC fans to get ready for 2013

Here’s a brief explanation regarding the bottom four:

Vanderbilt is ranked 11th in our study. We would like to point out that the last couple of years have been positive for the Commodores, and although lagged, the revenues for the football program seem to be improving. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are at the bottom of the study of SEC fan bases. During the period of our study, Ole Miss and Mississippi State actually averaged more wins per season than Vanderbilt. However, Ole Miss generated roughly the same amount of revenue as Vandy, and Mississippi State generated 20% less.

Photo Credit: Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports



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  • Anyone else think it’s funny that Emory University is ranking the SEC schools?

    • Thats exactly what I was thinking. Then again, their business school is no joke. Maybe they declared themselves Georgia fans. If so, I declare bias! HA!

    • Emory is in ATL…so could be Tech fans, not necessarily UGA there. Bias possible, not probable.

      • Tech fan first, but still a Georgia school. Very Biased study.

        • Great….some wannabe statistician at Emory makes up a random list that takes into account sooooo many swagged variables that you could make New Mexico St. look good. “Thus, over the period of our study, when we control for team performance and other institutional factors”…….”other institutional factors ???? How does one quantify THAT bb/s ??? At the end of the day, the only list I care about….. starts with BCS.

  • Makes me sad that Arkansas is 8th and its the only state that has only one major university Arkansas State isn’t very big

  • I know this is revenue based, but a real look into the fan base for each university would lead to many ties. Its hard to separate some schools, but there are 4 tiers that I see.

    1 BAMA/LSU

  • I love how people are responding to this poll so emotionally! UGA runs an incredibly smart business model and this academic study validates that. It doesn’t take anything away from the talent on any other teams, but there are many aspects of success, and brand equity is one that at UGA, we have worked hard to excel in. I couldn’t be more proud to study sport management at a place where college athletics is smart, successful, and financially solvent.

  • Look SDS posting something with MSU as last again. What a shocker Jon.

  • Could be speculation of biased opinions by The University, but also take into consideration that Georgia, Florida and A&M have no competition unlike Alabama and Tennessee… Although Vandy has a smaller fan base, they keep Tenn. from rising to the top 5 due to their in-state rival.

  • It varies with the success of each team. It wasn’t long ago, Bamer was a bottom feeder in just about every category, except, tea bagging passed out LSU fans. They have enjoyed some success, so, their revenue goes up. I think it should be based on consistency. Which school are at the top and bottom, over the past 10 years. I bet you would find Florida at the top.

  • Don’t know where you got your information, but I totally disagree. I’m a Bama fan, but LSU should be ranked higher. Have you ever been to Death Valley??

  • Wow…It’s hilarious how everyone has reacted to this….Sorry folks…but we got ya on this one. You see being a REAL fan isn’t about championships. Yeah we get frustrated…yeah we came up short a few times, but we still fill up our stadium every home game and buy our team swag NO MATTER WHAT. And I don’t think the braniacs working on their doctorates at Emory give 2 craps about UGA football. They’re more concerned with saving lives. Don’t get it twisted…no matter what the map says Atlanta is a LONG ways from Athens. GO DAWGS GO …SIC ‘EM!!!

  • Its extremely appropriate that the top teams on this list are the ones who have predominantly done well in the conference and nationally in the last 5-6 years. Living in this area I have come to find that culturally it seems pretty fairweather fanbase-wise. When the Georgia Dawgs are doing really poorly I have seen lackluster support, when teams outside of athens in the conference are doing well I suddenly experienced fans coming out of the wood work at local bars and dives. Suddenly after knowing someone for three years I find out they are a HUGE gators fan, etc. I thought it interesting enough I had to register and comment. Proceed!

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