First, let us take a gander at what the criteria is for ranking each team.
Basically this boils down to a few key factors. First of which is stadium size. It has been well-documented that Soldier Field has the smallest seating capacity of any NFL stadium. I did not see that this was accounted for in their ranking system, which could put the Bears at a disadvantage.
Another key factor to this is the amount of money spent. The ticket prices as of 2016 were, on average, the highest in the NFL at $131.90 per ticket. Bears fans are also subjected to the fourth-highest beer prices in the NFL at $9.25 per beer. While the average cost per fan is high, the size of the stadium still keeps the Bears at a lower spot than they should be.
The last big factor as I see it, is overall attendance. We all know that as far as ticket sales are concerned, the Bears are doing quite well. Soldier Field holds 61,500 fans and in 2016, the Bears averaged 60,368. Based on the games I watched, I am guessing that is tickets sold, not actual attendance though. This also hurts revenues but since team performance factors into this equation, the losses there are mitigated.
Social Media Equity:
I would like to think that WCG plays a huge role here. As a single (original) team, in the third-largest NFL market, the Bears have a somewhat unique situation.
The overwhelming majority of IL residents, as well as a strong showing in Northwest IN, Southeastern WI, IA and retirement areas such as Phoenix, AZ mean that the fan base is quite wide-spread.
This fact alone makes social media, blogs, podcasts and other fan-engagement outlets increasingly more important. Our fandom is connected in ways that it hasn’t in past years.
The spread of the fan base also dovetails nicely into the next factor which has to do with populating road stadiums with Bears fans.
But first, let’s see what the Twitter has to offer us today...
"He's just wearing a Bears jersey, has no pants on." #chicagoscanner— Jordan Owen (@byjordanowen) June 21, 2017
Yep, that sounds about right!
This is pretty self-explanatory. How many Bears jerseys are we seeing in other team’s stadiums? Well, perhaps we should ask the Chiefs, Rams and Colts about this. Typically the Bears travel very well. Rams games have basically been an extra home game for the Bears in recent memory.
It doesn’t necessarily factor in much, but everywhere I go, I see Bears gear. I take a lot of road trips and it never fails. Whether I’m in Apache Junction, AZ or Gruene, TX or Bardstown, KY, I see Bears stuff. This team has a massive following worldwide that is likely only eclipsed by the Cowboys.
The overall rankings are a composite of these individual items. The rating system is of course flawed, which the author admits. I don’t see apparel/licensed gear sales taken into account, which should then be weighted for playoffs or championships, as sales spike at those times.
Circling back to the nuts and bolts, where DO Bears fans rank on their list?
Seventh. On the surface, that’s not so bad. Top-10 right?
There are a few teams you expect to be at the top. The Cowboys, Patriots, Giants and maybe the Steelers. All in larger markets (except the Steelers) with long histories of success. But the Eagles and Saints? Really??
This I can’t buy. There is something in the equation that, when formulated, are skewing these numbers. You rarely see Eagles or Saints merchandise outside of their respective geographical locations.
I also don’t feel that these teams travel all that well. I could probably make a case for Philly but the Saints are a tough pill to swallow here.
What do you think? Do the Bears deserve to be higher or lower on this list?
On the bright side though, we are ahead of everyone else in the NFC North, including these fans...
Follow me on Twitter - @BearsLink82