This is the finding of Emory University professor Mike Lewis, who rated fan bases on tangible measures of obsession, like game attendance and social media following. According to the analytics study, Lewis attempted to take a cold hard look at something that is difficult to quantify.
"These models are used to determine which cities' fans are more willing to spend or follow their teams after controlling for factors like market size and short-term variations in performance," he wrote.
Lewis added (via Comcast SportsNet New England): "The Patriots victory is driven by fans willingness to pay premium prices, strong attendance and phenomenal social media following," Lewis said. "The final competition between the Cowboys and the Patriots was actually determined by the long-term value of the Patriots greater social following. The Patriots have about 2.4 million Twitter followers compared to 1.7 for the Cowboys. Of course this is all relative a team like the Jaguars has just 340 thousand followers."
Lewis, a professor at Emory's Goizueta Business School has a Ph.D from Northwestern, an MBA from the University of Chicago and a masters from the University of Illinois in Industrial Engineering, according to his bio.
The good news about the study is that it is conducted by someone with extensive experience in sports marketing and consumer behavior, so we shouldn't see anyone freak out or overreact to its findings on the internet.