Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees Top Sports Loyalty Engagement Survey

Special to NYSportsJournalism

April 5, 2012: The Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have the most loyal fans in baseball while the Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners and New York Mets have what is described as the least-loyal fan base, according to the just-released Brand Keys2012 Sports Loyalty Engagement Index.

But the team with the most loyal fans appears to be the NHL's Detroit Red Wings, the only team in this survey to be ranked No. 1 in 2012, 2005 and 2000.

The New England Patriots have the most loyal fans in the NFL and the San Antonio Spurs top the NBA, according to the survey.

The top four in MLB, which also included the San Francisco Giants, were in their same respective positions in the 2011 Survey. This year, driven in part by their World Series win, the St. Louis Cardinals moved to No. 5, replacing the Los Angeles Dodgers, now under a new ownership group that includes "Magic" Johnson.

This is the 20th annual fan survey conducted by Brand Keys, a New York-based brand and customer loyalty research consultancy.

According to Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys’ founder and president, the Sports Loyalty Index was designed to help professional sports team management identify precise fan loyalty rankings in their home and national markets. “These insights enable league and team management to identify areas that need strategic brand coaching,” said Passikoff in a statement.

Passikoff said that the Sports Loyalty Engagement Index "provides an apples-to-apples comparison of the intensity with which fans within the team’s standard metropolitan statistical area support the home team versus corresponding values for the fans of the other teams in the market.

“That’s important because fan loyalty correlates very highly with broadcast viewership, merchandise purchase, and ticket revenue. And happier fans as well,” said Passikoff. “Everybody loves a winner, but it’s important to note that win/loss ratios do not entirely govern fan loyalty. There are three other factors that have to be taken into account.”

According to Brand Keys, fan loyalty is driven in four ways:

• Pure Entertainment: How well a team does, but more importantly, how exciting is their play?

• Authenticity: How well they play as a team. New stadia and, often, new managers, can lift this driver.

• Fan Bonding: Are players respected and admired?

• History and Tradition: Is the game and the team part of fans’ and community rituals, institutions and beliefs?

“And since overall league and team rankings correlate with viewership and merchandise sales,, and rankings can be influenced depending upon how loyalty drivers are managed, it’s critical that team marketers do accurate scouting regarding the strategic ball they intend to pitch to their fans,” said Passikoff.

"Fan loyalty correlates very highly with broadcast viewership, merchandise purchase, and ticket revenue. And happier fans as well.”

The Brand Keys Sports Fan Loyalty Index measures all the teams in the four Major Leagues, with this year’s Top-5/Bottom-5 rankings also showing in parentheses the team rankings for the years 2000 and 2005, respectively. The full list is available through Brand Keys.

Top 5
1. Philadelphia Phillies (#17, #6)
2. New York Yankees (#3, #2)
3. Boston Red Sox (#1, #9)
4. San Francisco Giants (#4, #10)
5. St. Louis Cardinals (#10, #18)

Bottom 5
1. Pittsburgh Pirates (#21, #21)
2. Baltimore Orioles (#25, #23)
3. Kansas City Royals (#12, #16)
4. Seattle Mariners (#10, #10)
5. New York Mets (#9, #7)

Top 5
1. New England Patriots (#18, #1)
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (#25, #6)
3. Green Bay Packers (#3, #4)
4. Indianapolis Colts (#5, #5)
5. New Orleans Saints

Bottom 5
1. Oakland Raiders (#29, #32)
2. Cleveland Browns (#10, #21
3. St. Louis Rams (#15, #17)
4. Washington Redskins (#13, #28)
5. Miami Dolphins (#26, #25)

Top 5
1. San Antonio Spurs (#5, #1)
2. Boston Celtics (#22, #7)
3. Los Angeles Lakers (#1, #3)
4. Dallas Mavericks (#27, #14)
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (were Seattle Supersonics: #18, #16)

Bottom 5
1. Charlotte Bobcats (expansion team in 2000, #20)
2. Sacramento Kings (#19, #4)
3. Golden State Warriors (#26, #19)
4. Minnesota Timberwolves (#13, #6)
5. Washington Wizards (#29, #21)

Top 5
1. Detroit Red Wings (#1, #1)
2. Vancouver Canucks (#27, #10)
3. Boston Bruins (#5, #6)
4. Philadelphia Flyers (#8, #4)
5. San Jose Sharks (#10, #17)

Bottom 5
1. New York Islanders (#19, #11)
2. St. Louis Blues (#8, #12)
3. Columbus Blue Jackets (#22, #27)
4. Tampa Bay Lightening (#29, #16)
5. Winnipeg Jets (were Atlanta Thrashers until 2011: #28, #30)

Source: Brand Keys

Phillies Hit A Home Run In 2011 Fan Loyalty Index Survey

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