As fall approaches, students are heading back to colleges across the nation for another year of studying hard. As they pack up their possessions and transport them cross-country back to their schools, it’s also the sign of another new beginning – the start of the college football season!
We can’t wait for the tailgates, the game day excitement and the touchdowns! All of this has us asking one thing. Every college and every state claim to have the most dedicated and loyal fans, but who are the true die-hards when it comes to dedication to their team? We surveyed over 2,000 college football fans to find out!
America’s Game Preferences
Before we looked at the most loyal divisions and states, we started out by gauging how America feels about college football in general. We all know that the gameday experience is about much more than just the actual game – with nearly half (44%) of respondents choosing something other than the game as their favorite part of gameday. Almost a quarter (22%) of college football fans said they don’t attend any games at all during a season.
That’s not to say college football fans aren’t fiercely loyal! Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Americans said they’d skip work to watch their team in a championship game – with 25% even saying they’d risk the wrath of their partner and miss an anniversary.
We also wanted to know whether we’re a nation of loyal fans, rooting for our home team, or a bunch of bandwagon supporters. We’re pleased to say that a majority of Americans (58%) choose their college football team based on state loyalty, although 39% of people did say they chose a team based on success. You might expect college football loyalties to be strongly linked to the college fans attended. This proved not to be the case, with only 32% of people saying their Alma Mater influenced their choice.
The Most Loyal Conference
Every fan thinks their team’s conference is the best, but which one has the most loyal fans? Who has the kind of supporters who would miss their own child’s birth and drive cross-country to watch them in a championship final? We combined five ‘loyalty ranking factors’ from our survey results and uncovered the conference with the most devoted followers. These ranking factors included the number of fans who…
- Attend 5+ games a season
- Support their home state team
- Would travel 7+ hours for a game
- Would miss their child’s birth to catch their team in a championship game
- Return to their college Alma Mater at least once a year
When rooting for your team – loyalty matters! We can unveil the Mountain West Conference as the most loyal of all the college football conferences. The Mountain West came out on top in an incredible four of our five factors! With 69% of their fans supporting their home state team and 57% returning to their Alma Mater at least once a year, these fans are seriously loyal to their state and college. What’s more, almost a quarter would hit the road and travel over seven hours to support their side! Fans in both the Mountain West and American Athletic Conference (AAC) are most likely to be in the stands, with 34% of their fans attending at least five games a season.
The AAC and Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) came joint second overall and the latter has the fans most likely to head to more games. 14% even said they’d happily skip their own child’s birth to cheer their team on to a championship win.
Most Loyal Conference
- Mountain West
- Big 12
- Big 10