Oakland Raiders Have the NFL’s Worst Fanbase, According to Study

Aug 9, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders fans celebrate in the Black Hole during the 4th quarter in an preseason game between the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t really like ripping the Oakland Raiders fanbase anymore, but on Sunday, I was alerted about a study done by Emory Sports Marketing Analytics that ranked the Raiders as having the worst fans in the NFL.

What were the grounds of this study?

“The key idea is that we look at team box office revenues relative to team on-field success, market population, stadium capacity, median income and other factors,” it reads. “The first step in our procedure involves the creation of a statistical model that predicts box office revenue as a function of the aforementioned variables. We then compare actual revenues to the revenues predicted by the model. Teams with relatively stronger fan support will have revenues that exceed the predicted values, and teams that under perform have relatively less supportive fan bases.”

Ok, so it certainly doesn’t help that the Raiders haven’t had much on-field success over the past decade. It also doesn’t help that they play in the outdated O.co Coliseum, and it certainly doesn’t help that at 53,200, the stadium has the lowest seating capacity out of any venue in the league.

But calling the Raiders fanbase the worst in the NFL is bit a of a stretch. The people who did the study may have used some advanced formula and statistics (we don’t know how they exactly gauged their results), but sometimes numbers don’t tell the whole story.

One of the first things that comes to mind when talking about the Raiders is the “Black Hole,” which consists of sections 104-107 behind the end zone at the Coliseum that is filled with rowdy, die-hard fans. There’s even been a book written about these fans.

In addition, the Raiders have plenty of fans, whether it’s in the Bay Area, around the country, or even worldwide. I’ve been in contact with fans in places you’d never expect them to be, such as Austria and even Australia. The Raiders are a proud franchise, one that has multiple Super Bowl championships and a plethora of Hall of Fame players, which has certainly helped build up a core group of fans that passes on their love of the Raiders from generation to generation.

Are the Raiders a perfect team, playing in a state-of-the-art stadium? No freaking way.

Do they have the best fans in the league? It’s debatable, but to put them last behind teams like the Jaguars, Dolphins, and Bengals is surely a head-scratcher.

Topics: Oakland Raiders

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  • James Holtslander

    Maybe the turn out to the games , but nationwide? I do not think so.

  • Samuel Charles

    Although my wise editor has written an objective piece here regarding this utterly bogus study, he did fail to mention that he’s a 49er fan, or that the 49ers, who played in last year’s Super Bowl, were ranked all the way down at #26 in the loyalty listing, holding their noses among the riff raff.

    I’m sure it was just an accident.

    But Eric has encouraged me to share this response that I posted elsewhere regarding this “scientific analysis”, which is what follows.


    As a Raider fan with a Master’s Degree in Econometrics from a school ranked in the Top 10 by (reputable) sources — please allow me to retort.

    First of all, I’ve exhausted the links, and the study’s methodology is not made public.

    The first sign of bad science is not making make every step of your reasoning transparent, so it can be picked apart. People looking for valid conclusions welcome skepticism and others correcting errors, or shoddy reasoning in their conclusions, which isn’t possible without making your actual methodology available.

    As is the case with all statistics, you have to start with a clean hypothesis, regression, understanding and sound reasoning. But you should always point out when/why your “analysis” is limited by things you haven’t accounted for, can’t account for, or have omitted altogether. The final paragraph from the study’s “results” page states:

    “Detroit, of course, suffers from a relative lack of on-field success and a struggling local economy. But we should note that our method does explicitly control for these factors. It may well be a matter of the Wolverines & Spartans winning the battle for fans against the Lions. Similarly, teams like Atlanta and Tampa Bay may suffer from being located in SEC territory.”

    Earlier in the “findings summary” the authors say this” The key idea is that we look at team box office revenues relative to team on-field success, ”

    Wait, the key idea is revenue relative to on-field success and you don’t account for lack of on-field success? Seriously?

    The second half of that paragraph references external factors regarding your choices of sports (but not entertainment) options.

    Which alludes to a key variable they obviously considered, before deciding it was too hard to account for, at which point they should’ve acknowledged the shortcomings of this undergraduate level “science”.

    Are you telling me you’ve based your entire study on revenue at the gate, and consciously decided not to mention you’re not factoring in the enormous impact made by vast differences in entertainment choices or sports options among NFL cities?

    This is an error so large it almost single handedly makes your study about as valuable as throwing darts.

    Professional sports is incredibly expensive, and often a luxury purchase (the demand for a luxury item is elastic, highly affected by small changes in price or income).

    Here are the number of pro sports teams within an hour drive of the five lowest ranked teams in this study:

    28. Detroit Lions (Red Wings, Pistons, Tigers, wnba Shock)

    29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers ( Rays, baseball & hockey, in a state with tow other NFL teams)

    30. Arizona Cardinals (PHX Suns, Coyotes, Diamond Backs wnba Mercury)

    31. Atlanta Falcons (Hawks, Braves, wnba Dream)

    32. Oakland Raiders (A’s, Warriors, Sf Giants, Sf 49ers, SJ Sharks)

    # 27 is Jacksonville,which has no other Pro sports teams, and supposedly, nothing else to do, and nothing else to spend their sports dollars on.

    So how can we possibly know if Jacksonville is above any of these other teams, even if we use this woefully simplistic metric?

    A metric based on “local” revenue — but many NFL teams have more fans around the world than they have in their home cities. (I don’t use the term Raider Nation, but it didn’t appear out of thin air).

    After many years of observation, its clear to me most 49er fans are the products of inbreeding who swill wine and bathe in cheese, so I was both happy and surprised to see them ranked #26,

    But the latest merchandise sales rankings list the devil’s favorite Red & Gold team is at #1


    But how can that be?

    And from a year ago, ESPN’s study in popularity put the 49ers eighth, and the raiders 12th and Lions 15th in popularity — on a phone study, meaning people could be anywhere…

    And it also ranked the Jaguars dead last…


    I read Bill James’ baseball abstract before Marcus Allen made the greatest run in Super Bowl history, I can recognize voodoo stats from a mile away, stat nerds often need direction, and i’m here to help.

    I’d love to have the two authors of these “findings” be forced to defend them. Mike Lewis & Manish Tripathi — and by the way, did you notice that this statistics analysis team includes the word marketing?

    I could cite so many more issues — Number of local major college teams? Weather? Exciting v. boring style of play? Without even going to get into how one could never break out anything about the city of New York’s metrics.

    The truth is there’s no possible way to put a finite value on “loyalty”, and you don’t even need a GED to realize that.

    Who is more loyal, a guy who buys two tickets a year, never watches the other 14 games, and is worth a million bucks, or the guy who goes to the same dive once a week come hell or high water for 30 years whether his team sucks or rocks, because that’s all he can afford????

    Care to try and defend your —- “science” fellas?