It’s relatively easy to measure how good a team is compared to the field. We have a bevy of statistics (like win-loss record, net rating, playoff success, etc.) to help us quantitatively assess who is better than who.
But when it comes to ranking fanbases, that task proves to be far more difficult. There is no win-loss record or net rating for fanbases. Almost all the methods we have for ordering them are qualitative rather than quantitative.
Notice how we said “almost.” Recently, the people over at Betway did a study measuring which NBA teams have the most active fans during the off-season. This doesn’t exactly answer the question of who the best fanbase is in the NBA, but it does provide us with some understanding. After all, the great fans are the ones that are representing/supporting their team all year long.
To quantitatively measure fan activity during the off-season, Betway’s metric looks at the total number of fan posts during the off-season, Google searches during the off-season, and online fanbase growth percentage. Through looking at those variables, they come up with a “Support score,” which they use to rank the fanbases.
The team that finished number one in this measure (by a landslide) was the Golden State Warriors, who had a Support Score of 98.54. Number two was the Boston Celtics, who had a Support Score of 79.82. Number three was the Los Angeles Lakers, with a Support Score of 62.58. The Miami Heat were fourth with a Support Score of 58.71. And the Brooklyn Nets were fifth with a Support Score of 55.50.
The team that had the worst Support Score was the newly-rebuilding Washington Wizards. Their Support Score was a 2.70. And unfortunately, not too far behind them in 26th place is our New Orleans Pelicans. Our Support Score is a 15.79.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean that we are necessarily a bad fanbase. It just means that we haven’t been having a ton of engagement this off-season.
It is also important to keep in mind that these kinds of metrics always put small markets at a disadvantage because we have a smaller pool of people who potentially could be contributing to the fan post numbers and Google searches. Look again at the teams that finished in the top five. All of them are based in areas we consider to be larger market areas.
The Wizards are technically a larger market too. So the fact that they finished dead last is extra rough for their fans (sorry, Wiz of Awes).