The St. Louis Cardinals have the most loyal fans in baseball, according to a new report from a customer-loyalty consultancy firm.
Brand Keys analyzed each Major League Baseball team's fan base and ranked them according to its "sports fan loyalty index." St. Louis tops the list for the first time ever, just above the Philadelphia Phillies. Fans of the Houston Astros ranked the least loyal.
The company interviewed 250 self-declared fans to make their rankings, based on scores on entertainment (how exciting is the team, win or lose?), authenticity (how much support does the team get?), fan bonding (are players respected and admired?) and history and tradition (is the team part of the community's rituals, institutions and beliefs?).
"You can't buy authenticity," says Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys' founder and president. "The Yankees (now No. 6) had the highest payroll in baseball last year, nearly twice that of the Cardinals. Look who's No. 1."
Hint: It's not the Yankees.
This is the company's 22nd year ranking loyalty in sports teams. We've reached out to get St. Louis' fan loyalty history, and we'll update the story when we hear back. Last year, St. Louis ranked No. 4, and we've never been in the No. 1 spot until this year.
Here's the list of the most loyal and least loyal fans in baseball.
Top 5 Teams 2014: 1. St. Louis Cardinals 2. Philadelphia Phillies 3. Boston Red Sox 4. Atlanta Braves 5. San Francisco Giants
Bottom 5 Teams 2014: 30. Houston Astros 29. New York Mets 28. Seattle Mariners 27. Arizona Diamondbacks 26. Colorado Rockies
UPDATE, 10:15 a.m.: Here are our rankings for the last 21 years:
1993: 13 1994: 13 1995: 15 1996: 14 1997: 14 1998: 12 1999: 13 2000: 12 2001: 10 2002: 10 2003: 11 2004: 10 2005: 8 2006: 5 2007: 4 2008: 8 2009: 8 2010: 4 2011: 6 2012: 5 2013: 4
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.