General manager John Lynch and pretty much anyone with the team will tell you that the San Francisco 49ers have the best fanbase in the NFL. They have to because they — you know — work for the team. While the national fanbase has always seemed strong, which is apparent during many road games, it's not the best in the league, according to a story from Emory University's Goizueta School of Business.


"Each year, I do a quantitative analysis of NFL fandom," writes Michael Lewis. "The analysis is grounded in economic and marketing theory, and uses statistical tools to shed light on the question of which teams have the most loyal or 'best' fans."

The Dallas Cowboys, the self-proclaimed "America's Team," came in at No. 1 in the ranking, which is based on three areas. The first is fan equity or how well fans back the team financially with a focus on home revenue. The second is social equity, which measures the team's social media reach. The third is road equity, which measures the team's fan presence on the road after adjusting for team performance.

The 49ers came in at No. 9 in the survey. While it is not uncommon to see the fanbase take control of an opponent's stadium, San Francisco came in at No. 28 when it comes to road equity, an area that significantly contributed to its lower ranking. Of course, recent on-field struggles may have played a role in that. The team did do well when it comes to fan equity, coming in at No. 2 and just behind the Cowboys. Way to spend your hard-earned money, Niner Faithful.

As far as social equity goes, the 49ers ranked No. 11 on the list.

"My approach to evaluating fan bases uses data on attendance, revenues, social media following and road attendance to develop statistical models of fan interest," added Lewis. "The key is that the models are used to determine which city's fans are more willing to spend or follow their teams after controlling for factors like market size and short-term changes in winning and losing."

Around the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks came in at No. 15 overall and the Arizona Cardinals came in at No. 25. The NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams came in dead last at No. 32.

You can find the complete ranking for all 32 NFL teams below.

Overall
Rank
Fan
Equity
Social
Equity
Road
Equity
Cowboys 1 1 3 2
Patriots 2 3 1 4
Eagles 3 12 4 1
Giants 4 7 10 3
Steelers 5 16 2 6
Packers 6 8 7 17
Broncos 7 5 6 25
Bears 8 4 14 12
49ers 9 2 11 28
Saints 10 9 22 7
Redskins 11 10 28 8
Colts 12 11 19 10
Falcons 13 23 9 14
Dolphins 14 15 20 9
Seahawks 15 18 8 24
Panthers 16 22 5 27
Raiders 17 31 13 5
Ravens 18 6 18 31
Bills 19 17 21 13
Jets 20 13 17 19
Texans 21 14 12 32
Lions 22 20 15 18
Buccaneers 23 25 24 11
Vikings 24 21 27 15
Cardinals 25 19 25 23
Chargers 26 26 23 16
Browns 27 24 16 30
Bengals 28 27 26 20
Jaguars 29 30 30 21
Titans 30 28 31 26
Chiefs 31 29 29 29
Rams 32 32 32 22