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Are Phillies Fans the Biggest Front-Runners?

Judging by sports talk radio, the Phillies, even during their 2007 through 2011 playoff run, are often second-citizens in their own town. During this run, many fans were accused being bandwagon fans or front-runners. The notion even gained enough traction to inspire one of the region’s most popular Twitter accounts, @fansince09.

According to a new Emory University study, the accusations may have been true.

Emory used attendance figures from 1998 through 2013 to draw conclusions about how “elastic” and correlated a fan bases’ attendance is compared to the team’s won/loss record. The Phillies, whose attendance is down an additional 8,000 per night in 2014, saw the biggest change in attendance compared to wins and losses.

The researchers argue the following:

For example, if the statistical model finds that a team’s demand is unrelated to winning rate, then the implication is that fans have so much of a preference for the team that winning and losing don’t matter. For a weaker team (brand) the model would produce a strong relationship between demand and winning.

An interesting finding to say the least. As a former NYU athlete who regularly competed against Emory in the University Athletic Association and a complete Philadelphia homer, I have biases against this particular study for reasons that are completely emotional. Anyone who would like to dispute this without an emotionally charged argument that doesn’t include “yeah, but cheesesteaks, tho” (like I would), feel free to be my guest.


H/T: Deadspin

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