Residents of Broncos Country may feel slighted after a study released by Emory University this week ranked them as the 13th most passionate fanbase in the NFL.

The Emory Sports Marketing Analytics website has spent the past three years trying to answer the question, “Which NFL team has the ‘best’ fans?”

The website was founded by Emory professors Dr. Manish Tripathi and Dr. Michael Lewis to provide an outlet for research on how sports entities create valuable marketing assets.

The study was created to consider the value of sports organizations’ brands. Given the special relationship that exists between teams and fans, the applied phrase used throughout is “Fan Equity.” “Fan Equity” is a fancy term for “what team has the most avid, engaged, passionate and supportive fans…using hard data…in a very controlled and statistically careful fashion.”

“Fan Equity” was calculated using a revenue-premium model, which ranked the Denver Broncos 13th out of a possible 32.

“The basic approach is to develop a statistical model of team revenues based on team performance and market characteristics. We then compare the forecasted revenues from this model for each team to actual revenues. When teams’ actual revenues exceed predicted revenues, we take this as evidence of superior fan support.”

The Dallas Cowboys came in first place, followed by the New England Patriots, New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens, and New York Jets.

A statistical model is used to control for factors such as market size and short-term variations in team performance. This allows the measure to reflect true preference levels for a team, rather than effects due to a team playing in a large market or because a team is currently a winner.

The Fan Equity measure is calculated based on actual fan spending decisions, explicitly designed to capture fans’ willingness to spend. Other measures of fan demand such as television ratings, social media followings, and merchandise sales, were not considered, but could help estimate a “premium” model of “Fan Equity” in the future.

Broncos fans confused how a team with a sellout streak that dates back to 1970, as well as a stadium with a seating capacity of 76,125, the sixth largest in the league, can be ranked so low can view the study for clarification.

Bryce Rudnick, a Mile High Sports intern, and CU-Boulder student, contributed to this report.