When it comes to ranking fan bases, there’s really no right way to do it.
It’s mostly subjective, and the rankings can fluctuate heavily depending on what criteria one factors in. But a recent study by Emory University undertook the task of ranking the 32 NFL fan bases, and they ranked the Colts eleventh.
There are three categories that are considered. Fan equity looks at the revenue the team generates at home, and the Colts are 12th. Social equity looks at the team’s social media communities and the engagement there, and the Colts are 28th. And road equity looks at the team’s fan base on the road at away games, and the Colts are 8th. So essentially, it tries to incorporate how much fans spend, how much they follow along with their teams on social media, and how much they follow their teams on the road (how widespread the fan base is).
In this ranking, the Colts fan base is behind the Cowboys, Patriots, Eagles, Giants, Steelers, Saints, Bears, Broncos, Packers, and 49ers. But when looking at the rest of the AFC South, the Colts have far and away the best fans. The Colts are 11th, and the next-closest AFC South fan base is the Texans at number 22. The Jaguars (29) and Titans (30) are among the very worst in the league.
A lot of that is probably attributed to the Peyton Manning era, when the team was just so much fun to watch and to follow. That type of sustained success is something that the Texans, Jaguars, and Titans haven’t had in a while (if ever) and it makes it understandable why Colts fans would be more invested.