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Top 15 Teams With the Most Bandwagon Fans

For many of us sports fans, we live and die by our favorite teams. A large portion of long suffering supporters of the Toronto Maple Leafs haven't witnessed a Stanley Cup victory in their lifetime. The team hasn't taken home hockey's ultimate prize since 1967 and they haven't had a sniff of a Cup Final appearance since. Most of Leafs Nation has long since accepted that every year will ultimately end in pain, but they continue to cheer on the blue and white, believing that one day they'll witness the one that doesn't. Fans of the Chicago Cubs, meanwhile, are entrenched in a 107-year World Series championship drought. The Cubs last appearance in the World Series came in 1945 and many hold a Billy Goat curse responsible for the team's lack of success since. Cheering for these perennial losers is not easy, yet fans of the Maple Leafs, Cubs and many other teams would never want to support any other team.

For these people, there are few things worse in all of sports than bandwagon fans. Bandwagon fans are nowhere to be seen when the team is struggling, but they come out in droves to cheer on a winner. This is often seen as disrespectful, disloyal and embarrassing. The belief is that to truly appreciate a team's success you have to have been there for their failures. You have to have followed the team closely for a long time and have grown to love them no matter what the result is. How can you care about a team winning a championship if your fandom is only as old as a house fly? Following a team is like a marriage; you're there for good times and bad, unless the team does something unforgivable enough for you to file for a divorce and seek something better.

Nevertheless, many teams have seen people jump on the bandwagon when things are going well and some gladly accept the insufferable fair weather fans. Here's a look at the 15 teams with the most bandwagon fans.

14 San Francisco Giants

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

13 Arizona Cardinals

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

While the narrative going around is that the Seahawks are the team filled with the most bandwagon fans, a recent study by Emory University put the Arizona Cardinals at the top of the NFL in that category. The conclusion being that Cardinals fans reaction to winning percentage is reflected in their attendance more than any other team. Many rival fans will also quickly point out that folks in Arizona didn't care very much about the Cardinals until Kurt Warner showed up to take them to a Super Bowl.

Many are quick to point the finger at Seattle, but the study explicitly says: "fans are most responsive to winning percentage in the NFL based on our statistical model of attendance."

 

12 New Orleans Saints

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

11 Atlanta Hawks

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

10 Boston Red Sox

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox once went 86 years between World Series titles, but they've now brought home three titles since 2004. They're a team that is always willing to spend money to build a winner and no matter how each season ends, they'll spend more money if they think it'll help them win more baseball games. While the Sox definitely have their share of die-hards who stuck with the team despite the drought, suffice it to say, they've acquired a lot of bandwagon fans since they ended the curse.

9 Winnipeg Jets

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

The original incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets suffered through financial troubles in the early 1990s leading to a search for a new owner and a new home for the team. Rather than show their support for the Jets and attempt to convince the league to keep the franchise in Winnipeg, many fans stayed home as attendance dipped to a little over 11,000 during the team's final season in Winnipeg in 1995-96, before relocating to Phoenix.

8 "Canada's Team"

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Every spring during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, when only one of the seven Canadian franchises remains in contention, people are quick to proclaim them "Canada's team". The idea being that everyone in Canada should cheer for them out of a desire to see the Stanley Cup return north of the border, disregarding that there are Canadian players on every team and that the whole concept is largely based on a petty hatred of our southern brethren.

7 Toronto Blue Jays

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays went 22 years between playoff appearances, so it's not that surprising that fans lost interest in baseball in a hockey mad city like Toronto. In mid-July it looked like the Blue Jays could be headed towards another disappointing season, but the team made two blockbuster trades to bring in Troy Tulowitzki and David Price and immediately caught fire.

6 Dallas Cowboys

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys are a successful NFL franchise with a history of winning, including five Super Bowl titles. They have a long line of iconic players, like Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith. They were once dubbed "America's Team". When people are in search of a winning football team to cheer, many with no ties to the Texas city opt for the team with a giant star as their logo. Many within the Cowboys fanbase are even bandwagoners when it comes to their own players. For years, Cowboys fans blamed Tony Romo for their lack of postseason success, but with Romo injured this year, many have pointed to Romo's injury as the reason for Dallas's disappointing season. That's true, but it's hypocritical coming from a fanbase that trashed him for nearly a decade.

5 Cinderella Teams

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

4 Chicago Blackhawks

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Blackhawks teams of the early 1990s featuring the likes of Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios, and Ed Belfour were well supported in Chicago, but when the team's play dropped off, the fans started to disappear. In 2006-07 attendance at Blackhawks games dipped below 13,000 per game for the first time in 25 years. Once the Blackhawks team was rebuilt around Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, fans quickly returned and they've averaged over 21,000 spectators per game since the 2008-09 season. The team's fanbase has even grown across North America.

3 New York Yankees

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

2 Cleveland Cavaliers

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

During the Cleveland Cavaliers awful 2002-03 season nobody wanted to watch the team and it showed when a little more than 11,000 people attended their games. Once LeBron James showed up to turn the Cavaliers fortunes around, people quickly became fans and attendance numbers soared. During the Cavaliers 2006-07 season that ended with a trip to the NBA Finals, they set a franchise record for attendance numbers and then promptly broke that record the following season.

1 Pittsburgh Penguins

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Following the initial retirement of superstar Mario Lemieux, the Pittsburgh Penguins floundered through the late 1990s. The team filed for bankruptcy for the second time and was purchased by Lemieux. Attendance dropped and Jaromir Jagr was traded for financial purposes. By the end of the 2003-04 season the Penguins were last in league in attendance and there was speculation that the team might have to relocate. Enter Sidney Crosby and fans quickly flocked back to the Penguins. Attendance figures rose, the team won the Stanley Cup in 2009, and then opened a new arena in 2010-11 which consistently sells out games.

The Pittsburgh Penguins franchise is the healthiest it's ever been and Lemieux and co-owner Ron Burkle are exploring the possibility of selling the franchise, seeking $750 million - more than seven times the $107 million they paid for it. That's something that would've been unimaginable a decade ago when the Penguins were on the verge of extinction.

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Top 15 Teams With the Most Bandwagon Fans