It's been said before that everyone likes a winner. While this old adage is certainly true, it appears some people are more loyal than others. Specifically, when it comes to fans of Major League Baseball teams.
Recently, two researchers from Emory University wanted to see which fan bases are more prone to jump ship or stay loyal during rough times. The researchers ultimately arrived at the following question as part of their 2014 MLB Fan Analysis: Which teams' attendance is most closely correlated with its success?
Using a set of data from 1998 to 2013, and controlling certain variables such as price and market size, the researchers were able to boil their findings down to something they like to call win elasticity.
The win elasticity provides a measure of the importance of quality in driving demand. For example, if the statistical model finds that a team's demand is unrelated to winning rate, then the implication is that fans have so much of a preference for the team that winning and losing don't matter. For a weaker team (brand) the model would produce a strong relationship between demand and winning.
Basically, the teams with a lower win elasticity supposedly have fans that attend games regardless of the team's success (i.e. winning/losing). Fans of teams who boast a higher win elasticity are essentially viewed as bandwagon or apathetic. So, where do the Reds rank on this list? According to the study, the Reds have the eighth-most loyal fan base in Major League Baseball.
To my surprise, the Phillies topped the list as presumably having the most fair-weathered fans in the sport. Meanwhile, the Cardinals and Yankees are ruled to have the most loyal fans. I can see the argument for St. Louis, but I think New York is getting the benefit of the doubt here because they sell out most every game. Seriously, how many Yankees "fans" have you met that can name more than three players on the team?
For what it's worth, the study also showed that Reds fans have a "happy but volatile" relationship with the club on social media. From what I've seen, I'd say this assumption is spot on.