Pens fans emerged the most fanatical. They consumed the most team merchandise last season, led by jerseys sales of NHL poster boy Sidney Crosby and Art Ross Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin. Televised games drew an average 72,644 households each on FSN Pittsburgh. On top of that the Igloo, as Mellon Arena is affectionately known, sold out every game in the 2008-09 season--the second year in a row.Ok. Perhaps the Pens are the fans who have spent the most money over the 08-09 season, but I hardly find that as an appropriate method of determining which market has the "best" fans.
Link - Forbes.com
See, what the above snippet tells me is that there happened to be a large percentage of Pens fans who didn't have jerseys prior to their Cup year (ugh... still makes me gag). I recall the thought I had sitting four rows in front of The Captain and Kenny Holland at the Game 5 trouncing of the Pens during the 09 Cup Finals (yes. It was amazing) regarding the Pens fans' jerseys:
- Thid, Thid, Thid, Thid, Malkin, Malkin, Fleury, Fluery, Thid, Fleury, Malkin - hm... apparently there are only three players on the team
The fact is, the overwhelming majority of Pens fans are simply bandwagoners. Hence the recent splurge in purchasing. Sure, they're doing just fine now. But that directly stems from bombing for so long that they got a few no-brainer picks. Add to that the fact that the lowly Pens were a hair away from moving out of town because of a lack of fan support.
Sure, if your definition of "best" means "spent the most money in the last fiscal year," good on you for picking the Pens. Seems like a pretty strong disconnect from what actually makes for the best fans in the league.
My suggestion: the criteria should be based solely on how many of the teams' fans live in the state of Michigan. Seems like a no-brainer.