The Arizona Wildcats basketball program ranked second in strength of its fan base by an Emory University study. Sean Miller's program fell behind only reigning national champion Louisville and was followed -- in order -- by Duke, North Carolina, Arkansas, Texas, Kentucky, Syracuse, Marquette and Oklahoma State.
The study, done by Emory's Sports Marketing Analytics, is based on the following:
The intuition of this approach is that fan base quality is reflected in a school's men's basketball revenue relative to the team's performance. To accomplish our analysis, we use a statistical model that predicts team revenues as a function of the team's performance, as measured by winning rates and post season success. The key insight is that when a team achieves revenues that greatly exceed what would be expected based on team performance, it is an indication of significant brand equity. The analysis therefore avoids bandwagon effects and gets at the core loyal fan bases.
In this way, Arkansas is the seemingly the outlier because they're a program that still has a good amount of fan support relative to how average the program might be compared to the other big-time basketball schools on the list. The support is measured in revenue.
This might not be a great surprise given Arizona's brand name. And it goes to show that major college sports programs have a great deal of influence in representing the academic side of the university. In that way, it also reflects the upper hand Miller might have on the recruiting trail. Before he even hits it, recruits know about the Wildcats.
The original post from March delves into college hoops programs'"revenue premium-based brand equity."