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I have a confession to make: I am a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan, and have been since I first fell in love with the game of football. That being said, I was not at all surprised to hear that a recent Emory University study found that the Dallas Cowboys have the best fans in the NFL. How did they qualify “best?” The authors define “best” as, “the most avid, engaged, passionate and supportive fans.” I happen to agree with the findings in this study.
Don’t worry – I won’t reflect on the Cowboys storied history, reminisce about growing up in the glory days of the Triplets beating up on the Bills in back to back Super Bowl’s, lament the dark days when Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson wore the star, shed tears over a fumbled FG snap Terrell Owens-style, or rant about Dez Bryant’s… that was a catch! What I will do is touch on the passion of fans and the opportunity for brands to engage them.
Emory University’s “Best Fans” Leaderboard
For the past two years I’ve had the pleasure of working on Taylor’s P&G projects, primarily supporting Tide’s NFL sponsorship. Not to boast, but this work has seen Tide dominate the NFL Draft on social media (in 2014 @TideNFL was mentioned more than 28 NFL teams on Draft night, followed by 30 in 2015) and provide fans of all 32 teams with engaging social content throughout the NFL season.
Through each program, Tide provided passionate and engaged fans with content in the moments where they were supporting their team’s colors. Colors are how fans demonstrate pride in their team and signify that they belong. The most hardcore fans bleed their team colors. The biggest fans proudly rep their colors at the stadium, at work, at school or wherever anyone may notice.
Tide’s NFL Draft Studio
While the Cowboys may have the best fans in the NFL, it’s clear from my work on Tide (and the staggering viewership numbers the league continues to see) that all 32 teams have passionate, avid fans. NFL sponsors must find authentic and relevant ways to reach them. When a brand makes an emotional connection with fans, and they feel like the brand “gets” them, that’s when a brand gains new followers. Isn’t that what it’s all about – building a community?
I can’t wait for September 10th, when the NFL season officially kicks off. You’ll find me at the stadium (Metlife since I reside in NYC), at work, at a bar or wherever anyone will notice, decked out in Blue and Silver. I’m ready for my Boys to battle it out for a spot in Super Bowl 50. After reading Emory University’s study, I won’t be surprised to see them there.