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Breaking: Report Confirms Lakers Fans Are the Most Loyal in the NBA

12:22 PM PST on November 22, 2019

It’s not just that LeBron and Davis (and Caruso!) are the most exciting duo to dominate the Lakers’s board since Shaq and Kobe — yeah, we said it. Lakers fans are just... not bandwagoners.   

Faculty director at Emory University’s Marketing Analytics Center Michael Lewis analyzed NBA team fandoms and brands across a three-year data sample and found that Los Angeles Lakers fans are most loyal and engaged across the league.

In a report published last month called the NBA Brand Report 2019, Lewis, who is also a business professor at the university, wrote, “In most sports, fan loyalty is about teams first and players second. In the NBA it is often the reverse.”

“I evaluate NBA team fandom using three metrics. Fan Equity is based on how teams perform in terms of home revenues. This captures pricing power and attendance. Social Equity is based on team’s reach via Twitter. Road Equity is based on how teams draw on the road,” Lewis wrote. “The overall winner going into the 2019-2020 season is the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers score consistently high across the three metrics. Number 1 in Road Equity and Social Equity and number 2 in Fan Equity.” 

While New York Knicks fans have technically ranked higher in Fan Equity, it is clear that the Lakers have a stronger fan base across the board. Plus, as Lewis wrote about Fan Equity, “This metric does not consider a team’s national following and may be constrained by arena capacity.” Here, Road Equity is perhaps more accurate, as it “is based on a combination of national following and willingness to travel. In the NBA this is probably almost all about national following.”

The Lakers ranked first in Fan Equity in 2016, the last time Lewis filed such a report, but recond second overall at the time. In both 2016 and 2019, Lakers have ranked first in Social Equity and Road Equity. Lewis wrote in 2016, “The Lakers dominate. And as this analysis was done looking at fixed effects across 15 years it is not solely due to Kobe Bryant.” Consistency between the two reports across three years also goes to show the Lakers’ high ranking isn’t necessarily due to LeBron’s influence either.

The Los Angeles Clippers moved down from 17th to 24th in Lewis’s ranking between the three years.

Lewis is also the host behind podcast Fanalytics with Mike Lewis, which focuses on sports marketing and sports analytics.

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