Don’t kid yourself. A huge part of why you love sports is to talk crap to other fans about how much better your team is.
The competitiveness doesn’t stop with opposing fanbases though. You fancy yourself such a die-hard that, not only do you argue with your rivals about their level of fandom, but you actually argue with fans that root for the same team you do. You swear you’re a better fan than them. You’ve been to way more games and you can name off players on the roster like it’s the alphabet.
There’s nothing anyone can say to prove they’re a better fan than you and there’s nothing you can tell them — until now.
I’ve been that guy I just described above, and I’ve been mulling it over for a while now. How can you quantifiably prove one’s level of fandom? I like to call it my Quest to Quantify Fandom.
My struggle was I was getting too specific with my criteria. Instead of focusing on general metrics that could apply across multiple sports, I was worried about specific bragging points like owning all Nebraska Cornhusker National Championship DVDs and being able to name the Carolina Panthers’ first ever draft pick.
Once I figured out that I needed to focus on high-level metrics, I needed to figure out what metrics mattered and related to every sports fan. Think about the types of questions you ask someone when they tell you their favorite team. Are you from there? How long have you been a fan?
I thought about every interaction I’ve ever had where I discussed with someone which teams I like and came up with the following core categories on how you could measure one’s fandom:
- Duration – how long have you been a fan?
- Knowledge – what do you know about the team?
- Locale – are you from the team’s area?
- Attendance – have you actually been to a game?
- Investment/Pride – how much do you invest in showing your team pride?
Having 5 core categories allowed me to a create rating scale where you could get a max of 20 points per category to come up with a score based on a 100 point system. I call this the Pure Fan Rating.
The beauty of this system is the metrics are general enough to apply to all team sports (Basketball, Football, Hockey, Soccer) and you can calculate the average of all your Pure Fan Rating scores for each sport to come up with a Total Pure Fan Rating. Basically, you can see if you really are a bandwagon fan.
After hours of deliberation, here’s what I came up with. Answer the following Core Pure Fan Rating questions and see just how “pure” of a fan you are. The closer you get to 100 points, the purer you are.
Core Pure Fan Rating Questions:
- Years you’ve been a fan
- 0-5 years = 5 points
- 6-10 years = 10 points
- 11 + years = 20 points
- Which members of the team can you name?
- Only the Star player, Coach, & 1 other player (1-3 of these) = 5 points
- All of the above plus the following (when applicable) = 10 points
- Starting lineup (Basketball)
- Starting field position players (Baseball)
- Starting line (Hockey)
- QB and 3 starting skill position players plus 4 defenders (Football)
- 11 players including Goalie (Soccer)
- All of the above plus owner/president/GM = 20 points
- How close are you to the team/franchise?*
- Same state or bordering state = 20 points
- Same time zone but not bordering state = 10
- None of the above = 5
*If you lived in the state for any extended period of time you get 20 points
- How many games have you attended in person?
- 0-1 games = 5 points
- 2-5 games = 10 points
- 6+ games = 20 points
- How many pieces of team apparel or merchandise do you own?
- 0-1 pieces = 5 points
- 2-5 = 10 points
- 6 + = 20 points
Total Pure Fan Score before bonus and penalty points = ____
Now that you’ve figured out your core score you need to be rewarded for anything you do that goes above and beyond the core pillars of being a fan and penalized for those actions that are just plain bandwagon-ish and fairweather-y.
This is where I need your help.
Can you name the colleges each player from the ’92 Bulls starting lineup attended? You should get rewarded for that.
Does your buddy claim he’s a die-hard Oregon Duck fan? Penalize him for only being a fan since they won their last conference title.
Check out some of our example Bonus and Penalty questions and see if you can come up with a question general enough for us to include in the Pure Fan Rating scoring system.
Example of Bonus Points question:
- How many team message boards do you peruse?
- 3+ = + 5 points
- 1-2 = + 2.5 points
- None = + 0 points
Examples of Penalty Points question:
- Years you’ve been a fan minus years the team last won a title (conference or league)?
- 0-5 years difference = -10 points
- 6-10 = -5 points
- 11+ games = -0 points
How did you score? Do you have suggestions on metrics we should use? Let us know in the comments section.
This is a preliminary framework to build off of and your feedback is vital in my quest to quantify fandom!