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Study: Denver has fair-weather Nuggets fans

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Evidence that Nuggets fans only root for a winner

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets - Game Four

Attendance at Pepsi Center has been a hot topic of discussion over the last couple of years, both at this site and around the Denver media landscape. It’s getting a bit tiresome but the simple fact has been that Denver’s attendance has been pretty poor ever since 2013. This shouldn’t be a surprise and there are a lot of different opinions about whether or not fans should pay their hard earned money to watch a 30-win basketball team. There are valid points on all sides and certainly a lot that goes into why attendance has dwindled inside The Can.

But a study released yesterday by the Harvard Sports Analytics Collective shows that Nuggets fans are among the most fair-weather in all of the NBA, 2nd only to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Harvard Sports Analytics Collective

The graph above is the results of the study that attempted to find the correlation between “wins” and “attendance.” So the Nuggets showed the second highest correlation while the Dallas Mavericks showed almost no correlation.

First off, I have a couple of problems with the methods used in this study. For starters, the Pelicans ranking high should set off some major alarms. The issue is that this study is showing rises and drop-offs based off of record but that doesn't account for a few key variables. The Pelicans have bad attendance whether they are good or bad so their correlation is small. But that doesn’t mean their fans are good fans. It doesn’t even necessarily mean that they are fair-weather fans, it more points to them being no-weather fans.

Second, the Knicks also rank very highly here but they have a market that is several times larger than a market like Denver. It’s not difficult to fill a 20,000 seat arena when you have 15 million people in your market.

Lastly, this also doesn’t account for things like ticket prices, season ticket promotions, marketing, and other factors that play into whether or not a city will fill an arena. It also doesn’t account for the fact that the Nuggets receive less national exposure than almost every other team and a large portion of even local sports fans tend to get their news from national sports news outlets like ESPN and Sports Illustrated.

Still, with regards to Denver I don’t think it took a study to show that this town has fair-weather fans. The major talking heads have even outed themselves as such with pride. I have (passionately) refuted this style of fanhood.

Player hate the empty arenas and lack of following. I think that a large part of what brought every member on the Nuggets roster to go up and hug Jusuf Nurkic after he almost single-handedly eliminated them from the playoffs, was that they were happy to see an arena full of fans with Nurkic Fever.

The silver lining is that the Nuggets are on the rise, as is the cities excitement for what they are building. It’s a slower process than most would like and there is still a chance that they take a step back before they take a step forward, but I think it’s safe to say that when and if the Nuggets are a playoff team once again, the fans will be there with Nuggets fever.