Afternoon Notes: Eagles Have 5th-Best NFL Fans

Plus: How much is Jeffrey Lurie's team now worth?

Eagles fans. (Jeff Fusco)

Eagles fans. (Jeff Fusco)

Some interesting Eagles-related links popped up recently (plus one that flew under the radar when it initially came out), including stories on Eagles fans, how much the team is worth and a crucial loss for the Browns that should make Week 1 a bit easier for Doug Pederson. Let’s take a look.

Emory University Professor Dr. Michael Lewis ranked NFL fans a couple of weeks ago (h/t BGN), with the Eagles coming in at No. 5, behind the Patriots, Cowboys, Broncos and 49ers. The Giants are at No. 6, while Washington is at No. 16, giving the NFC East an impressive showing. The Chiefs (No. 30), Raiders (No. 31) and Jaguars (No. 32) round out the bottom of the league.

To compile the rankings, Lewis focused on box office revenues and social media, which focuses on fan willingness to engage as part of a team’s community. You can read more about the methodology and see the entire list on the Emory Sports Analytics Research page.

Here are a couple of excerpts about the Birds:

The Eagles are the big surprise on the list. The Eagles are also a good example of how the analysis works. Most fan rankings are based on subjective judgments and lack controls for short-term winning rates. This latter point is a critical shortcoming. It’s easy to be supportive of a winning team. While Eagles fans might not be happy they are supportive in the face of mediocrity. Last year the Eagles struggled on the field but fans still paid premium prices and filled the stadium.

A comparison between the Steelers and the Eagles highlights the underlying issues. Last year the Steelers had an average attendance of 64,356 and had an average ticket price of $84 (from ESPN and Team Market Report). In comparison the Eagles averaged 69,483 fans with an average price of $98.69. In terms of filling capacity the Steelers were at 98.3% compared to the Eagles at 102.8%. The key is that the greater support enjoyed by the Eagles was despite a much worse record.

Forbes came out with their updated ranking of the world’s 50 most valuable sports teams, and the Eagles are 17th with a $2.4 billion valuation. The Birds are actually at the bottom of the NFC East, with the Cowboys at No. 1 ($4 billion), Washington at No. 8 ($2.85 billion) and the Giants at No. 9 ($2.8 billion). Still, it’s fair to say Jeffrey Lurie made a pretty good investment when he bought the team in 1994 for a reported $185 million.

 Browns defensive end Desmond Bryant is reportedly expected to miss the entire season after injuring a pectoral muscle while lifting weights last week. When Cleveland visits Philadelphia for Week 1, they will now be without him and Armonty Bryant, who was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing substance policy. The Browns, who ranked 28th in sacks last year, will be missing their two 2015 leaders in that category.