Derek J. Hernandez

The Pure Fan Rating Project – The Quest to Quantify Fandom

Let’s just say Lil’ Wayne would get a lil’ score in our Pure Fan Rating system

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 fan bases 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 determined I needed to focus on high-level metrics, I needed to figure out what those metrics were and which ones mattered most 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 had where I discussed my favorite teams 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  five core categories allowed me to a create rating scale where fans 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’re really 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, & one 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 three starting skill position players plus four 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.


If you’re really a die-hard Heat fan you know exactly who this guy is.

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! 



  1. Andrew

    September 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    i think the metrics you created are great, but they could be tweaked a little bit to be a more accurate assessment of true fans. the duration and locale metrics are pretty good as is, but i’d raise the bar for the knowledge category. for example, i can name the entire starting offensive line for the giants (as well as many non-starters on the team) and most of the bench players on the knicks. most serious fans should be able to know these types of players, as well as some of the team’s basic history.

    attendance metric isn’t really fair as it stands. i grew up in ny and stay loyal to my ny teams, but i live in colorado. so i never go to any of their games b/c i live 2000 miles away. plus, many fans can’t afford ticket prices these days, and they shouldn’t be penalized for not being able to afford to go to games. attendance should reflect how many games you watch per season. i make the effort to catch 10-12 (if not more) giants games a season on tv, even though most of these games aren’t televised in my area.

    i think you can tweak investment/pride to make it more accurate. i personally don’t own a lot of team apparel, and i know a lot of other people who don’t either. i don’t think that makes me any less of a fan. what about making investment/team pride about weathering the storm during the lean years. if you have been a detroit lions fan or an la clippers fan for 15-20 years and still support the team, you are a true fan and deserve to enjoy their success now much more than someone who just tuned in a year ago to see the chris paul/blake griffin show.

    maybe you can make wearing team apparel/face painting, etc. a bonus category. you can do the same with going to games, especially if you have to travel a great distance to catch your team live.

    a great penalty category would be tuning into and participation in sports talk radio. nothing screams i’m a buffoon that knows nothing about my team more than sports talk radio.

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