NBA
December 22, 2021
BY Lines.com Staff

Survey: Which Franchises Do Sports Fans Think Have the Most/Least Attractive Fan Bases?

Key Takeaways

  • According to sports fans, the use of vulgar language is the most unattractive fan behavior (28.7%).
  • Fans claimed the Atlanta Falcons have the most attractive fan base in the NFL (21.4%), while the Detroit Lions have the least attractive fan base (2.1%).
  • Fans labeled the fan base of the Los Angeles Lakers as the most attractive in the NBA (31%), while the Utah Jazz were deemed the least attractive fan base (2.4%).
  • Fans perceived the Atlanta Braves fan base as the most attractive among all MLB teams (26.3%), while the Toronto Blue Jays fan base was perceived as the least attractive (1.6%).
  • Fans viewed the Los Angeles Kings to have the most attractive fan base in the NHL (26.1%), while the Philadelphia Flyers were seen to have the least attractive fan base (1.5%).

Seeking a “match made in heaven” is easier said than done. There are various characteristics that lead to feelings of attraction—some more so than others. But when it comes to love in the world of sports fandom, do sports fans agree on what makes other fans hot or not? Moreover, do sports fans feel that certain fan bases are more attractive than others? We may have an answer.

We surveyed 908 sports fans to uncover the answers to a few burning questions, such as which fan behaviors are seen as attractive or unattractive, and which fan bases are considered to be the biggest catch. Did your favorite team show up on top?

Behavioral Turnoffs

Before you start shopping around for a potential match, it’s certainly helpful to know what you’re looking for. While charm is subjective, does public opinion place certain traits on a pedestal?

As it turns out, using vulgar language (28.7%), consuming alcohol (23.8%), and being confrontational toward opposing fans (22.3%) were seen as the most unattractive fan behaviors. If any of those actions define you as a sports fan, there’s no need to panic. Here’s some advice: Fans engaging in traditions (73.5%), singing or joining in group cheers (72.8%), and being competitive (71.3%) were seen as the most attractive, so if you care about it enough, it may benefit you to put down your drink and start a chant.

How do different genders feel about these behaviors? Overall, men and women both found the use of vulgar language to be the most unattractive fan behavior, with women feeling the strongest about it. While both genders agreed upon the top three most unattractive fan behaviors, engaging in fan traditions proved more contentious. Men were 4.8 percentage points more likely to find this behavior unattractive than women. 

When observing generational differences, it was apparent that Generation Z was less likely to be turned off by the three behaviors that the other generations found most offensive, i.e., using vulgar language, consuming alcohol, and being confrontational toward opposing fans. On the other hand, younger age groups were more likely to find singing and joining in group cheers unattractive in comparison to their older counterparts. 

Sports Fan Heartthrobs

To explore perceptions of attractiveness across specific fan bases, we asked fans of each major sports league to call out the teams they felt had the most attractive followers. Whether the results are surprising or within your expectations, they’re certainly interesting.

In terms of the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons came out on top as having the most-attractive fan base, with 21.4% of fans voting so. The second-and third-most attractive fan bases were the Arizona Cardinals (20.1%) and the Baltimore Ravens (16.6%), respectively. As far as who landed at the bottom of the pile, the Detroit Lions came off worst with only 2.1% of fan support. The runners-up for the title of least attractive were the Tennessee Titans at 3.4% and the Denver Broncos at 3.5%.

In the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers were voted cream of the crop, with 31% of respondents labeling their fan base as the most attractive. This figure also makes Lakers fans the most attractive pro sports team fan base of any league included in our survey. The second-and third-most attractive fan bases were the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets, with 25.2% and 22.9% of fan support, respectively. The least attractive fan base was the Utah Jazz, with only 2.4% of the vote. The Detroit Pistons and the New Orleans Pelicans missed out on this dubious title by a small margin, with just 2.8% and 3.5%, respectively.

In MLB, the 2021 World Series-winning Atlanta Braves had the most attractive fan base, with 26.3% of fans voting in their favor. The second-and third-most attractive fan bases weren’t far behind, with 26% of fans having the hots for the Los Angeles Angels and 24.4% feeling the same about the L.A. Dodgers. The least attractive fan base appeared to be the Toronto Blue Jays, with only 1.6% of fan support. Titles for second-and third-most unattractive went to the Oakland Athletics at 2.3% and the Detroit Tigers at 2.8%, respectively.

Finally, in the NHL, the L.A. Kings were No. 1 with 26.1% of fans voting in their favor. The second-and third-most attractive fan bases were the Boston Bruins with 23.8% of fan support and the Anaheim Ducks with 22.2%. The least attractive fan bases were the Philadelphia Flyers and the Winnipeg Jets, both of whom had only 1.5% of fan support. This figure makes these two fan bases the least attractive pro sports fandoms of all—at least, according to our respondents. Third from the bottom spot were the Ottawa Senators with 2.1% of the vote.

Overall, it seems like there’s something in the water in L.A. that results in their pro sports fan bases being perceived as the most attractive.

How do sports fans compare the attractiveness of different leagues’ fans overall? When asked to rate the attractiveness of fans within each sports league on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least attractive and 10 being the most, here is how they stacked up:

  1. MLB Attractiveness Rating: 7.1
  2. NBA Attractiveness Rating: 6.8
  3. NFL Attractiveness Rating: 6.6
  4. NHL Attractiveness Rating: 6.2

The Perfect Match

Which fan bases are perceived as more attractive by certain genders and generations, and how much more attractive do they find them than the average fan?

Our findings showed that there are stark contrasts between the opinions of different generations and genders. For starters, none of the generations share a common favorite, and the same is true for male and female respondents. 

Some more interesting insights include the degree of favorability some categories of fans showed toward fandoms that were otherwise generally considered to be among the least attractive. For example, baby boomers found the Toronto Blue Jays fan base to be 173.4% more attractive than the average fan overall, while they found the Dallas Stars fandom to be 130% more attractive. Additionally, Gen Xers found the New Orleans Pelicans to be their favorite, or 155% more attractive than the average fan. Last but not least, Gen Zers found the Philadelphia Flyers to be 165.7% more attractive than the average fan. 

Attraction Is a Matter of Perception 

All in all, it seemed like fan bases with particularly aggressive habits were viewed less favorably, with tendencies toward using vulgar language, consuming alcohol, and being confrontational toward opposing teams affecting their perceived attractiveness. Additionally, as far as pro sports leagues go, MLB and NHL fans were decidedly the most and least attractive fan bases, with average ratings of 7.1 and 6.2, respectively. In terms of individual teams, the Atlanta Falcons, L.A. Lakers, Atlanta Braves, and L.A. Kings fandoms were shown the most love, whereas fans of the Detroit Lions, Utah Jazz, Toronto Blue Jays, and Philadelphia Flyers were the least favored. 

Lastly, different gender and generational categories had their own idiosyncrasies when it came to the fan bases they found the most attractive. Nevertheless, while attractiveness may be a matter of perspective, generalized public opinion can certainly provide enough ammunition to get you through a Reddit debate.

Let’s face it—from doing your bit to uphold your team’s reputation to keeping up with the latest stats, being a fan comes with a lot of responsibilities. Lines.com gives fans the resources they need to be well-equipped for a bet or any other situation, providing up-to-the-minute information so you can stay on top and reap the reward that comes with it. All you need to bring to the table is your intuition. Whether it be a mock draft, point spreads with updated odds and lines, or the latest sports standings, Lines.com consistently keeps fans in touch with their teams. 

Methodology and Limitations

For this study, we surveyed 908 sports fans via Amazon MTurk. 90.5% reported being fans of MLB, 78.1% reported being fans of the NBA, 69.3% reported being fans of the NFL, and 53.4% reported being fans of the NHL. Overall, 61.4% of respondents were men, 38.3% were women, and the remaining 0.3% reported as nonbinary. Generationally, 10.7% of respondents were baby boomers or older, 23.6% were Gen Xers, 57.8% were millennials, and the remaining 7.9% were Gen Zers. The average age of respondents was 37.3 years old with a standard deviation of 10.7 years. 

Fan perceptions of what represented unattractive behavior was not directly related to the results of which fan bases fans reported being the most attractive. In order to generate those rankings, sports fans were given a list of teams within a league and asked to select which teams had the most attractive fans, in their opinion.

The main limitation of this study is its reliance on self-report, which is faced with several issues, such as, attribution, exaggeration, recency bias, and telescoping.

Fair Use Statement

Given that attractiveness is a subjective metric, there’s plenty of scope for further discussion on this topic. If you find our data useful, feel free to share it. Just make sure you do so for noncommercial use only and always provide a link back to our site.

Photo: Getty Images