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Which NBA basketball team is most popular?

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asked Sep 1, 2015 in Recreation and Sports by anonymous
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Determining which NBA team is most popular depends on how you measure popularity.

 

One way is by determining how loyal the fan base for each team is. Although loyalty seems like it would be a hard metric to measure, Adam Fromal from Bleacher Report tried to do just that. 

 

The method that he used was to compare the predicted attendance for each home game with how many fans actually showed up. When you think about it, true fans are the ones who are willing to spend money to go to the games regardless of whether or not the team is having a winning season, so it is actually a pretty good measure of loyalty. Based on his results, these were the top five teams that were most popular with their fan bases through thick and thin: [1]

 

1. New York Knicks
2. Chicago Bulls
3. Dallas Mavericks
4. San Antonio Spurs
5. Los Angeles Lakers

 

If, however, you go based solely on the number of people attending games, the list looks a little bit different. Here are the top five teams for overall game attendance for the 2015 season: [2]

 

1. Chicago Bulls
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
3. Dallas Mavericks
4. New York Knicks
5. Toronto Raptors


If, on the other hand, you base popularity on merchandise sales, the list looks even more different. Here are the top 10 most popular teams in terms of the volume of merchandise that they sell: [3]


1. Chicago Bulls
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
3. Golden State Warriors
4. Los Angeles Lakers
5. Oklahoma City Thunder
6. San Antonio Spurs
7. New York Knicks
8. Miami Heat
9. Boston Celtics
10. Los Angeles Clippers 

 

Finally, if you use Internet searches to measure how popular a team is, the following information from Google Trends from 2004-2014 shows an yet another completely different picture of which teams are most popular: [4]

 


References:

 

1. http://www.cheatsheet.com/sports/nba-the-5-teams-with-the-most-loyal-fan-bases.html/?a=viewall
2. http://espn.go.com/nba/attendance
3. http://www.nba.com/2015/news/04/14/nba-most-popular-jerseys-2014-15-season-lebron-james-still-reigns/

4. http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/the-distribution-of-fandom-in-pro-leagues/

answered Sep 1, 2015 by blueskies (57,070 points)
+1 vote
 
Based on a Twitter study, the Los Angeles Lakers are arguably the dominant franchise of the league.[1] 
 
The most popular NBA team is hard to quantify, given the number of ways that such a thing could be measured. The simple answer though is that the most popular team is usually whoever is playing against Lebron James. While not the 'villain' he was during his Heat years, most of us who root for Eastern Conference teams are a little tired of his whooping up on us. I'm personally a Hornets fan, and Lebron has something like 20 consecutive wins against counting Miami Heat games and his return to Cleveland. 

 Jersey sales seem like a good metric, but these are usually more of an indication of individual star status. As a season ticket holder, I do see fans show up wearing Bulls, Knicks, Lakers, Golden State,OKC, Heat and Cleveland jerseys a lot. But, the jerseys are typically for specific players like Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Lebron James and Kobe Bryant.  
 
Stephen Curry jerseys are popular in Charlotte in particular since he's from our area and his father was a Hornets player and current broadcaster. Jordan jerseys from his Bulls and Wizards days are also kind of accepted as 'home' jerseys since he's now the franchise owner. 
 
One interesting metric to track a team's popularity is not absolutely their home ticket sales, but how well they fill seats on the road. Some cities have no other pro franchises, or are just huge markets, and will naturally have more seats sold any given night. Smaller markets though see a lot more tickets sold when a 'marquis' team or franchise comes to town. For Charlotte, that means specifically teams like Golden State, the Lakers, Cleveland, the Knicks, San Antonio and the Celtics. 

 One growing but hard to track measurement is the growing popularity of the league on other continents, most notably in Europe, Africa and China. The growth in China was sparked largely by Yao Ming's career and then furthered by Jeremy Lin. Allen Iverson and many former NBA players also extended their playing years by going to China or other international markets. 
 
Tony Parker, and brothers Marc and Pau Gasol head up the list of European players that are now in the NBA. Hakeem Olajuwon and Dikembe Mutombo are instrumental in the league's attention in Africa. 
 
The 2014 NBA champion San Antonio Spurs featured 10 international players on its roster.[2] Three international teams will play in NBA preseason games next month, as several NBA teams will play overseas in both exhibition and regular season contests.[3] 
 
[1]http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2015/1/14/7546875/twitter-map-nba-laker-nation-is-everywhere 
[2]http://www.sportskeeda.com/slideshow/nba-2014-international-players 
[3]http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nba-international-teams-play-six-nba-preseason-games-212248825--nba.html 
answered Sep 1, 2015 by Topher (27,830 points)

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