May 10, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins fans Brandon Vieira and his brother Zach Vieira pose outside the TD Banknorth Garden before game five against the Montreal Canadiens of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Bruins Have NHL's Third-Most Loyal Fan Base

Boston Bruins’ Fans Great, Says Forbes Report

The Boston sports scene has been one of the winningest groups in America, enjoying a rich history with the Red Sox, Celtics and Boston Bruins. The New England Patriots really came into focus by the turn of the century when Bill Belichick spearheaded a crew of underdogs against the St. Louis Rams in 2001. The Celts, Bruins and Red Sox have had great success, even many years ago, but the B’s fan count hasn’t always existed at the top of the ladder.

Now, after a one Stanley Cup victory out of two appearances in the past four years, Bruins’ fandom has gained praise as being amongst the most “loyal” in the National Hockey League, according to a Forbes ranking report. Boston sits at third place in these standings, behind the Chicago Blackhawks at first and the New York Rangers in the second spot.

Here’s a part of the list itself, the best-five and worst-five “fan loyalties” in the NHL. The parentheses indicate last season’s position.

Top-5

1. Chicago Blackhawks                                               (#2)

2. New York Rangers                                                  (#1)

3. Boston Bruins                                                          (#2)

4. San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues                   (#3 and #6)

5. Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings and

Philadelphia Flyers                                                  (#4, #5, and #5)

Bottom-5

30. New York Islanders                                             (#30)

29. Columbus Blue Jackets                                     (#29)

28. Phoenix Coyotes and Winnipeg Jets              (#28 and #27)

27. Buffalo Sabres                                                     (#23)

26. Tampa Bay Lightening                                      (#26)

The article talks about how the list was determined, explaining factors that influence the order.

Rule-of-thumb is that win-loss ratios can contribute up to a 20% bump in a team’s loyalty. But to be fair to the NHL fans, professional hockey is a little different from other Major League Sports. Winning games contribute a bit more to loyalty for hockey. About 10% more, for a number of reasons: first, the sport moves faster than the others, so there’s a bit more attention necessarily paid to the Pure Entertainment driver wherein wins and losses reside. For the NHL, the Authenticity driver correlates very highly to at-home attendance figures, and makes a slightly higher contribution to engagement and loyalty than it does for the NFL, MLB, or the NBA, probably because in recent years NHL TV access has been comparatively limited versus other Major League Sports.

And while we’re sure hockey fans have their favorite players, the protective equipment makes it hard to instantaneously identify a player (with the possible exception of the goalie), so Fan Bonding makes a slightly smaller contribution in the case of this sport.

Overall, it’s an fascinating way of obtaining data, and it’s great to see Boston Bruins’ fans near the head of the index.

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