ESPN The Magazine (see PDF below) and Stats & Info Group’s (SIG) Sports Analytics Team created The Fan Happiness Index, a nexus of metrics that captures a fan base’s level of satisfaction based on a variety of factors.
These inputs include preseason FPI (Football Power Index), performance in recent seasons against expectation, 2017 recruiting against expectation, 2016 revenue against expectation, strength relative to and performance against rivals, sentiment on Twitter and ESPN Insider Phil Steele’s coach hot-seat scores.
According to Sports Analytics Associate Tiffany Kelly, here is some of the behind-the-scenes discussion that took place while putting this index together:
1.“This is not a top teams list — we understand the Non-Power 5 team fans of the world still care about their college football, and we wanted that to be showcased.
2. “With fans having an impact in athletic department decisions, we wanted to make their voices count in talks happening around campus.
3. “The variables of Program Power, Rivalry Dominance, and Recruiting Trend matter most in this preseason version, but expect that to change as the season rolls on.
4. “The College Football Playoff is constantly being scrutinized for wanting to spread the love to teams, but our results show a similar variation in conferences that are now gaining traction from the fans.
5. “We will be updating the Fan Happiness Index four times this season as upsets surface, coaches get fired, and the whirlwind of college football plays out before our very eyes.”