Thursday, August 15, 2013

Jeff Duncan needs to remember to cite his own work

Jeff Duncan just posted a NOLA.com story referencing this NFL fan loyalty index created by Emory University. The Saints do quite well, as you may expect. But the commentary is a little backhanded.
Professors Mike Lewis & Manish Tripathi measured team box office revenues relative to team on-field success, market population, stadium capacity, median income and other factors to rank the teams.

"The Saints are a more recent success story, but the team's new success combined with limited professional sports options in New Orleans has created a very strong fan base," the report said.
I'm assuming Lewis and Tripathi mean "recent success" in terms of performance both on the field and in the "strength of fan base" measurement they're writing about.

But Duncan could have used just a few more pixels to point out that this isn't the first attempt to measure NFL fan loyalty.

Back in the summer of 2005, before the Saints had experienced their "recent success" and when Tom Benson was agitating for a new stadium or a move out of town, the Times-Picayune published its own loyalty index.  It took a bit simpler approach dividing total attendance per win over the period of time the Saints were in existence. (1967-2004 at the time).
Based on statistics from 1967 through 2004, the Saints lead the NFL in average fans per win, a ranking that considers a team's on-field performance and its attendance history. The rankings do not include the expansion Houston Texans, whose three seasons are not enough to be statistically significant.

The Saints lead the NFL with an average of 76,088 fans per win, derived by dividing the team's all-time attendance of 17,880,875 by its 235 total wins. Cleveland is second at 75,721 fans per win. Detroit is third. None of those teams has ever reached a Super Bowl, but Cleveland and Detroit have played in conference championship games.

"The loyalty of Saints fans over the years is one of the great stories in sports," Arnold Fielkow, the Saints' executive vice president of administration, said in an April statement. He acknowledged the club's advertising campaign as the "the legacy of our great fans."

Saints officials declined to comment for this story.
Even before the "Golden Age of Saints Football" and before the team had ever advanced beyond the divisional round of the playoffs, New Orleans had "crated a very strong fan base."   It's a fact worth remembering.  You'd think Duncan would remember it.  He wrote the article. 

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