Cowboys Most Popular NFL Team

September 10, 2010

The Dallas Cowboys are the most popular NFL team in the US, according to recent data from The Nielsen Company.

Cowboys Earn Perfect Score
According to The Nielsen Sports Media Exposure Index, which measures media exposure on TV and online, the Cowboys were the most popular NFL team in America last season. The Cowboys earned a perfect score of 100 on the index, far surpassing the runner-up Pittsburgh Steelers, who finished with an index score of 81.


The Cowboys’ top ranking was boosted by first-place showings in two of the four categories tallied by Nielsen: gross audience during nationally televised games and monthly unique audience to the team website.

The other two categories, local team ratings and total buzz volume, were captured by the Suoer Bowl champion New Orleans Saints and New York Giants, respectively.

Vikings Climb, Redskins Fall
The Cowboys have held the top spot in each of the last two years. The Steelers moved up from third to second, swapping places with the Giants. The Minnesota Vikings, likely aided by the addition of top-performing quarterback Brett Favre, climbed from 13th place in 2008 to a tie for fourth with the Green Bay Packers, a former team of Favre’s, in the 2009 regular season ranking. The Washington Redskins, meanwhile, dropped from fifth in 2008 to 11th in 2009.

NFC Captures America’s Hearts
The NFL is divided into two conferences: the National Football Conference (NFC) and American Football Conference (AFC). NFC teams dominated the 2009 rankings. Seven of the top 10 teams represented the NFC, while the Steelers, Indianapolis Colts (tied for eighth with the Saints) and New England Patriots (10th) were the only three AFC teams to crack the top third of the list.

Giants, Raiders Outperform Local Rivals
Some markets have more than one NFL team to choose from, the most prominent being New York and the Northern California Bay Area. Among the two New York teams, the Giants had the most media exposure, ranking 15 spots ahead of the Jets.

In the Bay Area, even despite drawing 38% lower local market ratings than their local rivals, the Oakland Raiders were the most popular national brand, ranking two spots ahead of the San Francisco 49ers (25th vs. 27th).

NFL Team Values Fall 2%
NFL team values fell 2% last season to an average of $1.02 billion, according to analysis from Forbes Magazine. This marks the first decline in average NFL team value since Forbes began tracking the league’s finances in 1998, with 21 of the league’s 32 teams seeing their worths drop and another seven maintaining flat value.

Forbes analysis indicates team values slipped because the bad economy has reduced demand, and there is less non-broadcasting revenue for many teams.

About the Data: The Nielsen Sports Media Exposure Index measured all 32 NFL teams in four categories during the 2009 regular season: local team ratings, gross national TV audience, online buzz volume, and monthly unique audiences to official team websites. Teams in each category were assigned a score, with the top rank worth 100 points and each subsequent ranking assigned a lower weighted score based its distance from the top. Final team rankings were calculated using the sum of scores across all four categories, and then indexed with the highest total equaling 100.

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