Yesterday, I wrote an article about the growing cost of being a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles over the next couple of years. Well, the folks over at Betway.com who brought us that study also shared another about the growth in size of fan bases across the NFL, and the Eagles are not exactly near the top. Unlike the growth in prices, which put the Eagles nearly in the top 10 in the NFL in cost to be a fan, the birds are in the bottom 3 when it comes to fan base growth, and the company that surrounds them is not ideal. Should this be a concern for Jeffrey Lurie and the rest of the Eagles organization? Or is there another explanation for the Eagles’ lack of growth? Let’s look at the numbers and comparable teams from the study and find out.
The way this study was conducted was by looking at the growth in number of followers on Instagram for each of the official team accounts for all 32 NFL teams. It’s not an exact science, but it does give us a bit of an idea about growth through social media which should be somewhat representative of the fan base. According to the study, the Eagles’ Instagram followership grew by only 3.88% this past season, only above the Cleveland Browns (1.22%) and the Houston Texans (1.13%). That’s not exactly the company you want to keep when it comes to NFL franchises, and as you continue up the list, the Eagles’ spot seems even stranger. The Eagles are the only 2021-22 playoff team that found themselves in the bottom 8 in growth, and only them and the New England Patriots made the playoffs last season and still found themselves in the bottom 13. This might make you say “Well, the study makes it seem like success on the field doesn’t translate to fan base increase.”, and to that I say “Not so fast my friend!” in my best Lee Corso voice. The top two teams growth wise? The Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams, who each played in the Super Bowl this year and who saw their followers grow by 94.68% and 51.80% respectively.
Ok, so winning clearly helps growth, but the Eagles won and didn’t see growth. What gives? I do actually think this study is slightly flawed, because it accounts for the PERCENTAGE of growth and not the NUMBER of followers gained. For example, if the Eagles had 4 million followers on Instagram, and gained 1 million followers, that would be a 25% increase and there would then by 5 million followers. Meanwhile if the Bengals had 5 followers on Instagram, and gained 5 more followers, that would be a 100% increase, but only 10 total followers. When you look at the total number of followers, the Eagles are still easily in the top 10 in the NFL, with a current total of about 2.2 million on Instagram. So fret not, Eagles fans. Just because our fan base doesn’t have the biggest percentage of growth from year to year, we’re still one of the biggest out there by number, and for my money, we’re still the most passionate. No survey will ever be able to take that away.