In the United States, football is by far the most prominent and popular sport. Every Sunday (and some Saturdays) from September to January, most Americans wake up with excitement and eagerness. Watching NFL games and rooting for a favorite team is part of American tradition. On average, NFL games tend to get 18 million viewers and the big games are consistently the most watched broadcasts every year. The next most popular league in America, the NBA, only gets around 1.8 million viewers per game. Considering how important football is to America, FanWide has decided to create its own ranking of the top 10 NFL franchises. Using FanWide’s unique data, this top 10 list includes the amount of Fan Clubs each team has around the nation. FanWide has evaluated all 32 NFL teams across both the AFC and the NFC. The top 10 teams have been successful in recent seasons as well as throughout history. They all have their fair share of Lombardi Trophies and are all considered “NFL Elites” relative to the rest of the league. In addition, all 10 NFL teams are big market teams with large and loyal fan bases. Due to their consistent prowess, every football player growing up wants to play for these 10 teams. These teams are considered the tip of the top and have succeeded for decades on and off the field.
The reigning World Series champs take the #3 spot! At the moment, there are few fan bases in all of sports happier than Boston Red Sox fans. For the Sox, 2018 was nothing but a resounding success. Following a franchise-record 108 wins in 2018, the team cruised through the playoffs to take home another Commissioner’s Trophy upon winning their 4th World Series. During this streak they lost only three total games while defeating the archrival Yankees, reigning champion Astros, and a Dodgers team making its second consecutive World Series appearance. Expectations couldn’t have been higher at the recent Red Sox Winter Weekend, held every January, an annual event that allows fans to hear from and even meet current players, team officials, and Red Sox legends. Led by young manager Alex Cora and stars such as right fielder Mookie Betts, designated hitter J.D. Martinez, and ace left-hander Chris Sale, the Red Sox (and their fans) hope to be firmly in the mix for another World Series title in 2019. As a franchise with a rich and storied history, the Red Sox are popular with fans in New England and across the country. It should come as no surprise that they graded out highly among FanWide’s Top 10 Baseball Teams, finishing third overall.
It is not a bad time to be a fan of Liverpool Football Club. The team is currently in second place in the English Premier League, and they aren’t too far behind in the Champion’s League race. Young phenom Mohamed Salah is driving the team’s success as of late, but if you know Liverpool, you know that the team is much more than one player and much more than one year. Liverpool’s success has transcended eras, gaining them the reputation of one of the elite football clubs in the world. Alongside their deep trophy case lies an impressive social portfolio; in short, Liverpool is successful on and off the field- successful enough to land them the #5 spot in FanWide’s European soccer rankings.
FanWide’s #4 team on the Top 10 Baseball Teams list is the Chicago Cubs. Few teams can match the history, good and bad, of the Chicago Cubs. In 2016, the Cubs broke the 71 year “Curse of the Billy Goat”, a period in which did not even appear in a World Series, let alone win a championship. Now, led by young stars such as third baseman Kris Bryant, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and second baseman Javier Baez, the Cubs hope to win another World Series soon. Led by top 10 finishes in every category and top 3 showings in fan clubs, regular season wins, national games televised, and Forbes value, the Cubs can proudly call themselves FanWide’s #4 Baseball Team.
Teams were evaluated in 9 different categories (visit this blog post to see the methodology). The Cubs graded out as follows:
Arsenal is currently in a scorching hot Champions League qualification race. Each year, the top four teams in the English Premier League earn themselves a ticket to the Champions League. Arsenal will continue to battle with Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Chelsea for the third and fourth spot- the top two spots are currently occupied by Manchester City and Liverpool, who have all but secured entry. Arsenal is no stranger to the Champions League- they have failed to qualify just twice since 1998. Unfortunately, they have never been able to capture the elusive Champions League trophy.
Even without this hardware, Arsenal has been a staple in English football since they were founded in 1886. In fact, in 1891, they became the first London football team to turn pro. Today, London (the largest city in England and 24th largest city in the world) is a hub for soccer; Arsenal is one of six EPL teams to call London their home (along with Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace, Fulham, and West Ham United). Arsenal consistently performs among the top teams in the EPL, and the “Gunners” have grown out of their original home- The Royal Arsenal- and into the third largest stadium in England. Arsenal’s rich history has played a key role in their success. Their prominence on and off the field has earned them the #6 spot in FanWide’s European soccer team rankings.
When Chelsea FC was purchased by Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich, in 2003, the club had seen limited success in both domestic and international competitions. Now 16 years after his purchase, it is safe to say that Abramovich’s tenure as Chelsea owner has been bountiful. Chelsea has since won 5 of their 6 English football championships and their sole Champions League title. After purchasing the club for 140 million Euros (approximately $160 million as of February 2019) and injecting over $1 billion since, the team has grown into the seventh most valuable soccer club in the world, worth an estimated $2 billion (according to Forbes).
The new era of Chelsea football has been kind to the fans. After seeing relatively stagnant cup play since the club’s inception in 1905, fans have been able to see enough success in the past 15 years to last a lifetime. Because of this success, Chelsea has been able to take full advantage of the large London market. Chelsea is here to stay, and the Chelsea football renaissance has earned them the #7 spot in FanWide’s European soccer club rankings.
Coming in at #5 on the Top 10 Baseball Teams list is the St. Louis Cardinals. One of baseball’s premier teams, both past and present, the Cardinals graded out exceptionally well, with above-average showings in every category led by the most recent playoff wins and the second most World Series wins and second highest average attendance. In a St. Louis market without an NBA or NFL team, the Cardinals have come to represent the city and its fans, who are often considered among the best in baseball. Through their frequent success, they have represented St. Louis well. With the additions of All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and lefty reliever Andrew Miller to an already-strong roster, the Cards look poised to bring even more success to St. Louis this upcoming season.
It is 2019, and Manchester City, the reigning English Premier League champions, looks poised to add another trophy to the case. The club’s 2017-2018 title was their third in the past 10 years, tying them with Chelsea and Manchester United for the most Premier League Titles in that span. Considering 60% of Manchester City’s all-time domestic league titles have been won within the past decade, it is safe to say that they are beginning to establish themselves as an English football powerhouse.
After years of living in the shadow of cross-town rival Manchester United, Manchester City’s recent success has allowed them to differentiate themselves as a club and claim some of the market for themselves. Establishing a presence in one of the most competitive regions of English football (the northwest) has given them additional access to fans and revenue, something to build upon in the future. Lead by Belgian midfielder, Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City looks to stay among the top in the Premier League and make a splash in the Champion’s League in the near future. Read on to find out what makes them FanWide’s #9 European soccer team.
The time has come! The #10 of FanWide’s very own Top Ten NBA Teams has been announced. Since its creation, FanWide has gathered data regarding fan clubs and fan engagement, which is used in ranking the Top Ten NBA Teams is unique to FanWide and has produced a ranking like no other. The metrics used to list the teams from first to last were based on both their on and off court success. This balance ultimately creates a broader and more balanced field to judge teams in the fairest way possible. Without further ado, coming at #10 on FanWide’s Top Ten NBA Teams is the Oklahoma City Thunder.
FanWide’s #6 team on the Top 10 Baseball Teams list is the San Francisco Giants. The Giants’ most notable recent achievement is their incredible “even year” run: the Giants won the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Their widespread popularity, however, extends beyond the team’s on-field success. With the recent growth of Silicon Valley and the tech industry, more and more people have migrated to the Bay Area, increasing the number of prospective Giants fans. Oracle Park (formerly AT&T Park), widely considered one of the best ballparks in the MLB, occupies a prime spot in downtown San Francisco on the water, making it a popular destination. The team also benefits from the presence of charismatic superstars like lefty ace Madison Bumgarner and former MVP catcher Buster Posey. A combination of all these factors and more earned the Giants the sixth spot among FanWide’s Top 10 Baseball Teams.