Remember all that talk about how Miami Heat fans are fair-weather at best and they didn't really deserve LeBron James? Well, not true says Forbes' math. Apparently we're the best fans in the entire NBA.
To come up with the rankings, Forbes took into account a variety of factors:
Hometown crowd reach (defined by market researchers Nielsen Scarborough as a percentage of the local population that watched, attended, and/or listened to a game in the last year)
3 years worth of television ratings
3 years of arena attendance based on capacity reached
3 years worth of merchandise sales
Social media reach (a combination of Facebook likes and Twitter followers).
Noticeably shifts, spikes, and lulls over the three years were also taken into consideration.
To Forbes "surprise and a tad bit of disgust," the Miami Heat took the top spot. But instead of relying what they've heard on sports radio and Twitter, they actually did a bit of research and realized that this wasn't necessarily just because of the LeBron phenomenon. "Fact is the team has ranked in the top 5 in the league in attendance and/or filled their arena to capacity since the 2004-05 season. ...To boot, LeBron's exit did not open the floodgates for a mass exodus of fans. The Heat are still playing to a full capacity crowd and its merchandise is still a top seller."
Here's the top 10. Noticeably absent? The Cavaliers.
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1. Miami Heat
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
3. San Antonio Spurs
4. Chicago Bulls
5. Los Angeles Lakers
6. Boston Celtics
7. (tie) Dallas Mavericks
7. (tie) Indiana Pacers
9. Portland Trail Blazers
10. Los Angeles Clippers
This shouldn't be too much of a surprise to locals. Miamians are known to turn on teams that rightfully burn us. Like, say, teams who fail to find a decent quarterback in the past 15 years, or take billions in tax dollars to build a new stadium for a painfully perennial loser team.
Though, unlike some local owners, Micky Arison has done a pretty good job at making sure the Heat are putting a solid product on the floor more seasons than not and has maintained good relationships with the community. Hell, considering how hard it is to root for some of other teams, it's really no surprise we've all become such Heat loyalists.