It’s official: MFFLs are the most loyal fans in the NBA.
That may be a bit of an overstatement, but the Harvard Sports Analytics Collective (HSAC) posted a study on its blog today that compares attendance, which it uses as a proxy for loyalty, to a team’s winning percentage in each of the last 15 seasons.
The Dallas Mavericks end up with the weakest correlation between winning and attendance, meaning they have the least fair-weather fans in the NBA (by this measure at least). You can see the full study here at the HSAC’s blog, but here’s what you need to know:
- Attendance at the AAC does not appear to depend much on the team being good.
- Many other teams do have attendance swings based on whether or not they are winning.
Now, the author admits a number of potential confounding variables and shortcomings, but I’ll add one more: it doesn’t do a great job accounting for whether a team was good the whole timeframe, like Dallas mostly has been. There’s a big difference between, for example, the Mavericks’ 67-win season and a 50-win season, but a 50-win team is still a good team that’s likely to attract fans.
Additionally, you have to remember that attendance figures are often, frankly, bullshit. So, this might in part be a measure of how good Mark Cuban is at making sure tickets get scanned with or without people in the seats.
The most favorable interpretation, however, and the simplest, is that MFFLs show up and show out no matter what. Way to go, Mavs fans!