The 10 Most Loyal Sports Fans in NY
The state of New York has more than a dozen major sports teams and well over that if you include college sports. New Yorkers from all over the state, not just The Big Apple, are generally considered among the most passionate in the country.
They are definitely some of the loudest.
They stack up well against fans in other states, but how do they stack up against each other? Let's take a look at the 10 most loyal fanbases in the state of New York and see which teams boast the most loyal followings.
10. TIE: New York Mets Fans & New York Knicks Fans
Considering the record of success, or lack thereof, for both the Mets and the Knicks, it's a wonder they still have any fans left at all. The Knicks are averaging a decade in between playoff victories and the Mets are…well…the Mets.
9. New York Islanders Fans
The New York Islanders ranked among the bottom five among NHL teams in a fan loyalty survey in 2012, but that doesn't really tell the whole story. The Islanders enjoyed unprecedented early success—they were founded in 1972 and by 1984 had racked up five Stanley Cups.
And then it stopped. The Islanders remained competitive for a few years, but haven't won a playoff series since 1993. Their reign of futility is as long and painful as any in professional sports, but their fans still show up year-after-year, hoping for the best.
8. Syracuse University Basketball Fans
Most of the sports fanaticism in New York is concentrated in Buffalo and New York City, but Syracuse hoops fans represent in upstate New York.
The Orange almost always assemble a competitive team and the entire campus and surrounding city revolves around it for much of the year.
7. New York Giants Fans
New York Giants fans have occasionally been accused of being fair-weather fans, but I don't necessarily think that's a fair assessment. In 2012, they were ranked the 9th most loyal fans among the NFL's 32 teams.
That is pretty good, especially considering the split football allegiances of the city and the fact that they don't have a sad history of hardships and failure to bond them together.
6. Buffalo Sabres Fans
Unlike the Rangers, the Buffalo Sabres don't have any Stanley Cups to their name. And they don't have a city of 10 million people to draw from for their fan base and to sell tickets. But that doesn't prevent them from selling out games or believing they build a championship team.
In fact, in 2011, Sabres fans were the subject of a documentary about the diehard loyal fan base in Western New York.
5. New York Red Bulls Fans
The New York Red Bulls have some of the most loyal fans in MLS, and have international superstars Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez bulking up that audience. Their attendance is one of the highest in the league, and those loyal fans were rewarded with a state-of-the-art stadium in 2010, complete with a translucent top.
The Red Bulls have a longstanding and broad fan base, with the Empire Supporters Club, Viking Army Supporters Club, and the Garden State Supporters making up some of those loyal followers. In addition, a group of diehard fans are known to shut down the local streets before each home game as they march toward the stadium.
4. New York Rangers Fans
People often refer to the NHL as a third, or even fourth, tier sport in this country. Well, if you've ever been to a Rangers game at Madison Square Garden, you know it certainly doesn't feel that way on game day.
New York is a big city with busy people, but when the Rangers are competitive, their fans create one of the most electrifying home crowds in professional sports.
3. New York Jets Fans
I think we can all agree that it's not easy being a Jets fan. They do have one Super Bowl to their credit, but it's been a very long time since "Broadway" Joe Namath was behind center for the Jets. Some years they're competitive, other years they're a mess and almost every year they're a circus.
Yet, their fans rank 5th among the most loyal in the NFL, according to a 2011 survey. Hardships tend to bring people together, and the Jets have had plenty of those.
2. New York Yankees Fans
Hardships help bring fans together, but so does success. And there has been no team in sports that has been more successful over the last century than the New York Yankees. They have been called "The Team of the Century," with good reason—no sports franchise in North America has more than their 27 championships.
The Montreal Canadiens get close with 24, but the next closest is the Boston Celtics with 17. Yankees fans recognize a good thing and are always ranked amongst the most loyal in sports—in 2011 they came in second to only the Phillies in a fan loyalty survey.
1. Buffalo Bills Fans
Few teams in professional sports have had a more painfully futile decade (plus) than the Buffalo Bills. After becoming the only almost dynasty to never win a championship in the 90's, the Bills went into a steady decline that they are just now starting to emerge from.
Fans haven't had much to be hopeful about, but they've remained devoted and hopeful through the worst of times.