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Philadelphia Phillies Overtake Red Sox as Having Most Loyal Fans PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 22 March 2011 23:14

PhilliesAccording to an annual index, the Philadelphia Phillies have surpassed the Boston Red Sox as having the most loyal fans in all of Major League Baseball. The Red Sox moved out of first, where they had held the position since 2008, and slipped to third behind the New York Yankees. The World Series Champion San Francisco Giants moved into the top five for the first time in the past four years.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Pittsburgh Pirates held down the “least loyal” fans for the third consecutive year. The Mariners, after seeing a horribly disappointing season in 2010, is shown as 5th worst in MLB, with the Diamondbacks having the 4th worst.

The Brand Keys Sports Loyalty Engagement Index, conducted for the 19th consecutive year, was designed to help professional sports teams’ management identify precise fan loyalty rankings in hometown (and national) markets. “These insights allow league and team marketers to identify areas that need strategic brand coaching,” said Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys founder and president.

The Sports Loyalty Engagement Index provides a direct comparison of the intensity with which fans within the team’s SMSA support the home team versus corresponding values for fans of other teams in the market. “That’s important because fan loyalty correlates highly with broadcast viewership, merchandise purchase, and ticket revenue. And happier fans as well,” noted 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 performs, but more importantly, how exciting is their play?

Authenticity: How well they play as a team (and in the case of MLB is it natural talent or steroid-enhanced performance?) New stadia can help propel this driver, and sometimes a new manager.

Fan Bonding: Are players respected and admired? See “Authenticity” for additional affects).

History and Tradition: Is the game, and the team, part of a fan’s and a community’s rituals, institutions and beliefs?

“And since overall league and team rankings do 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 the fans,” said Passikoff.

Below are the rankings of the Top 5 and Bottom 5 MLB teams by fan loyalty dating back to 2008, according to Brand Keys

Top Five MLB teams in Brand Keys

Sports Loyalty Index

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

1

Red Sox

Red Sox

Red Sox

Phillies

2

Yankees

Phillies

Yankees

Yankees

3

Indians

Yankees

Phillies

Red Sox

4

Astros

Mets

Dodgers

Giants

5

Mets

Athletics

Angels

Dodgers

 

Bottom Five MLB teams in Brand Keys

Sports Loyalty Index

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

1

Orioles

Pirates

Pirates

Pirates

2

Pirates

Orioles

Orioles

Orioles

3

Royals

Royals

Royals

Royals

4

Rangers

Rangers

Nationals

D-backs

5

Marlins

Rockies

Diamondbacks

Mariners

© Brand Keys, Inc. 2011


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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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