There was a mention this week that the Twins’ overall ticket sales have been fewer through 47 home dates for a team that was 49-40 and carrying the best home record in the American League at the All-Star break than at the same point in the losing 2014 season.
It is a pleasure to follow news of that poor display of support with accolades for another fan base — the legion belonging to the Vikings — for its remarkable willingness to stick with the Purple through thin or emaciated.
Emory University is an Atlanta area college that rates among the nation’s top universities. Emory’s Goizueta Business School has a marketing analytics center that includes studies of important sports entities.
This month Emory Sports Analytics has offered two NFL studies: first, the “Fan Equity’’ rankings, and this week the “Social Media Equity” rankings.
It was encouraging to learn that Vikings fans rate 18th among the 32 teams when it comes to investment in their teams, and rate 20th in their involvement with the team in social media (particularly on Twitter).
Emory’s summary of the first study was this: “The Fan Equity rankings are based on home box office performance, adjusted for market size, winning rates and other factors.”
The study analyzed economics of the past 15 years. Clearly, the Vikings customers will be required to contribute to a much greater box office performance starting in 2016, when the team moves into the new dome.
That should vault Purple fandom into the NFL’s first division (top 16) when it comes to support of the home team, yet Minnesotans don’t have to wait until Emory’s next analytical study to be proud as punch over their loyalty to the Vikings.
We’re No. 18, and if you go back to 2000, what level of equity have the Vikings actually earned from their fans? On merit, the Vikings should be maybe 28th, ahead of Miami, Cleveland, Jacksonville and Buffalo.
You could put the Vikings ahead of Oakland, I suppose, but the 2002 Raiders did go to the Super Bowl. So, I’d say 18th is dang good for a franchise that has earned the right over the past 15 years to be 10 places lower in fan support.
• The 2000s opened with an 11-5 regular season and a trip to New Jersey for the NFC title game. Randy Moss started pouting before the game because he couldn’t get some buddies on the field, went through the motions all afternoon, and the Vikings suffered the most embarrassing loss in their history — 41-doughnut to the Giants — on Jan. 14, 2001.
• The Vikings backed into the playoffs at 8-8 in 2004 and upset the Packers in a wild-card game at Lambeau Field. Moss made a jerk out of himself not with disengagement on the field but by wagging his rear end at the crowd. The Vikings traded him to Oakland, and used the No. 7 overall choice in disastrous fashion, selecting receiver Troy Williamson.
• Daunte Culpepper had a fantastic season in 2004, even in the games an injured Moss was out of the lineup. Culpepper was going to build on that in ’05. Instead, it became the year of Daunte’s lousy play and knee injury, of the Love Boat Scandal, of the Original Whizzinator, and of coach Mike Tice being fined by the NFL for having scalped Super Bowl tickets.
• New owner Zygi Wilf fired Tice immediately after the season finale and quickly hired Brad Childress. He oversaw an upgrade in personnel, including the drafting of Adrian Peterson with the No. 7 overall selection in 2007 and Percy Harvin with No. 22 in 2009. Still, the only real success was in 2009, when the Vikings had to bring in Brett Favre, a quarterback of legend for the archrivals to the east. That intriguing season ended in overtime, after Favre’s interception at the end of regulation in the Superdome.
• The Vikings brought back Moss in 2010. Once he found out there was no contract extension to be had, he returned to jerk mode and Childress performed the noble act of dumping him. Soon, Childress was dumped.
• Harvin caught 60 passes through the first half of 2012. For two months, he would have edged out Peterson as most popular Viking. Then, he got hurt and basically quit the franchise.
• Peterson was unstoppable in the second half of the schedule, rushed for 2,097 yards and became the hero of heroes. That ended when he gave a whippin’ to his 4-year-old son and missed the final 15 games of the 2014 season.
I applaud you, Vikings fans. To be as lofty as No. 18 in fan involvement with this track record in the 2000s … that’s mighty loyal of you.