Posted: 7:11 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, 2013
By Parks Smith
Chances are if you're reading this that you think your school has the best fan base in the country. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't? Fandom hit a fever pitch this past season with the Harlem Shake and virtually an international YouTube competition to prove who is the best (it was Colorado State no contest, and yes their mid-majorness is up for debate).
But really, who are the best fans among this niche, passionate group of people all across the nation? A lot of people will just label the loudest, craziest fans in the country as the best around but I'm here to tell you that just isn't true. Sure, I'm looking for creativity and general rowdiness, but I also want fans with a good understanding for the game. Think of the St. Louis Cardinals, their fans are great. Cards fans are always present and knowledgeable about the game of baseball. But who fits that moniker among the mid-major ranks?
VCU fans are certainly loud and travel extremely well, but the historic basketball knowledge and understanding for the game just isn't there. If a Ram gets sneezed on in the Seigel Center then the refs are going to hear it. O yea, and they have a damn good band.
Wichita State has a heck of a following and if I even whisper something against the Wheat Shockers then I'm sure to hear it on twitter, Facebook, this site, text, and probably snail mail. I love the passion but sorry WUShock nation, you're not the best.
There are plenty of other stories from around the country and nearly every conference of a school who simply has the best fans around. I love it, but I'm hear to tell you I have to agree with Emory University in announcing that the Dayton Flyers have the best fans around.
Number one on our list is the Dayton Flyers. For the decade from 2001 to 2011, the Flyers averaged over 21 wins per season and made three NCAA tournaments. And while this is a very respectable performance, the Dayton fans provided exceptional support. Dayton plays in a large arena (13,435 seats) and on average over 92% of seats are filled (2005 to 2011). The end result is that Dayton has averaged about three times as much revenue as the average D1 basketball program. The second and third ranked programs were Xavier and Wichita State. Xavier also produces about three times the revenue of the average D1 college by filling their 10,250 seat arena to almost 98% percent of capacity.
Those numbers are staggering. Sure, Flyers fans aren't the loudest and they don't lead the country in destruction of property, but Dayton shows up and provides a homecourt advantage. It's even more impressive when you think how well the city supports the "First Four", which is essentially a mid-major showcase. Simply put these are most knowledgeable fans around and they'll never stop showing up.
So let the great debate begin! I know I'm wrong...so who has the best fans among the mid-major ranks?