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The media isn’t disrespecting the Arizona Cardinals

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The media isn’t disrespecting the Arizona Cardinals

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With the recent success of the Cardinals it’s tough not to feel disrespected by the media. The Red Birds are playing great and look like a real threat for the post-season. Yet it feels like the team hasn't gotten much coverage compared to the other successful teams.

The adage "money talks" describes this situation. This year the Cardinals have been getting more media attention than seasons past, but few outlets seem to take the Cardinals serious. Part of that is history, the bulk of it however really just comes down numbers.

In 2012 the Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective published on article on Deadspin about the most popular teams in the NFL based on Facebook "likes." Who was the favorite team? None other than our old nemesis the Dallas Cowboys with over 3.5 million likes.

Facebook Likes

The Cardinals ranked 29th on this list with less than 500k likes. Again this was 2012 and the team’s recent success has upped these numbers to over 1.1 million on the Cardinals Facebook page as of today. The Cowboys have over 8.1 million and the Patriots and Steelers are both around 6.1 million likes. We may not like it but the Cowboys are America's team.

Further along in the article the Harvard team presents a different angle creating a metric of "loyal fans." This information was made by finding the percentage of fans who lived within 50 miles of their respective team’s stadium. The Cards again rank low (27th) with just 43 percent of fans (on Facebook) in Phoenix "liking" the Cardinals. The Saints led with 92 percent loyalty and the Cowboys were 10th with 69 percent. You can see the Patriots and Steelers up there as well.

According to Fortune the Packers, Cowboys, Patriots, Steelers and Seahawks are the most popular teams by ticket sales. The Seahawks are a bit of an anomaly as they are middle of the pack in all the above metrics, total likes and % of loyal fans. Based on the numbers they should be getting less air time but due to winning two Super Bowls they are obviously experiencing a boom in fan growth and coverage.

So why do these numbers matter? As I mentioned above, it’s all about the Benjamins.

ESPN, CBS, ABC, the NFL Network, Yahoo!, SBNation, etc., are all here to entertain you and get you to watch/view their stuff and get more advertisement dollars from it. The media conglomerates need to get as many views as possible and the best way to do that is focus on the teams with the most fans. I.e. the Cowboys, Packers, Steelers, etc.

Using Google news and some other software (and some quick guesstimation math) I found that there were an average of 200 articles written about the Panthers a day in the last week, minus game day. In the same time period over 2000 were written about the Seahawks and 1700 for the Cowboys. The Cardinals? Just under 900.

No one is really talking about the Panthers despite their 4-0 record. The Panthers have 1.6 million likes right now and very few articles are being written about them. Yet we keep reading about how much the Saints suck. Taking a look at the Saints numbers you see that the team has 4 million likes and about 2000 articles written about them.

With the Cardinals recent success under the Cue Balls the Cardinals are already growing. Success will bring in more fans and ultimately more media coverage. When Bruce Arians brings home that elusive championship the number of fans following the Cardinals will explode and so to will the media coverage of the Cardinals.

So it comes down to this, the media follows fans because fans make them money. If you want more media time you need more fans. If you want more fans, you need to win.