For sports fans, it can be heartbreaking to move away from your team’s hometown.
Whether it’s for a job, loved one or family, many sports fans have had to make the decision to part ways with their city.
But does ending your relationship with your team’s hometown also spell the end of your fandom for that team?
We were curious to find out where team loyalty lies when it comes to transplant fans, so we surveyed NFL fans across the country to hear from them.
NFL Team Loyalty
Among NFL fans who have moved to a new city, 51% say they left for work and 31% made the move for family. Overall, 71% of NFL fans surveyed say they cheer for more than one team, but which teams have the most loyal fanbases?
According to respondents, the Dallas Cowboys take the No. 1 spot for most loyal fans followed by the Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots.
When it comes to least loyal fanbases, the top spot goes to the Denver Broncos followed by the Seattle Seahawks, the 2021 Super Bowl Champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
NFL Transplant Fan Behavior
Despite moving away from their team’s hometown, NFL transplant fans still have football in their blood no matter where they live. According to respondents, 69% of transplant fans say they’ll cheer on their local team even if it’s not their favorite team, but more than half (58%) say they feel pressure to do so.
When it comes to switching allegiances to a new team after moving, the Chicago Bears are the most attractive team for transplant fans. Along with the Bears, the Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills are among the top 5 NFL teams that transplant fans cheer for after moving.
But what makes fans cheer for the team in their new city? According to respondents, one of the top reasons is if their favorite player or players are on the team, if they enjoy the stadium (or game experience), if the team is playing well or if their hometown team is playing poorly.
NFL Fan Travel
For many NFL transplant fans, distance makes the heart grow fonder for their hometown team. According to respondents, 50% say they travel back to their hometown to watch their team play after moving.
While most NFL fans don’t have an issue with showing support to the team in their new city, there are some exceptions when it comes to hometown team rivals. 43% of respondents say that they would actually turn down a job offer if it meant moving to a rival team’s turf and one in five respondents say they would not move to a rival team’s city for their partner. Apparently for diehard football fans, not even love can tear their fandom apart.
We surveyed 1,500 self-reporting National Football League transplant fans around the country. 60% of respondents were male and 40% were female. The average age of respondents was 37 years old.
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