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Union named best Philly team for fans

The Phillies followed in a close second while the Eagles finished dead last.

Union’s CJ Sapong celebrates goal against Columbus.
Union’s CJ Sapong celebrates goal against Columbus.Read moreAP

The Union have been named the top professional sports team for fan experience in Philadelphia by J.D. Power.

"We at Philadelphia Union are honored to receive this recognition from J.D. Power," said Union chief business officer Tim McDermott. "We all come to work every day in order to create the best fan experience possible for Union supporters at Talen Energy Stadium. It's a very proud moment for us to have J.D. Power affirm what we are constantly striving to do, but by no means are we finished. We will continue to do our very best at assuring each and every fan that visits us has the best possible experience."

In the Philadelphia market, the Eagles scored 701 putting them in fifth. The next closest team is the Flyers, which scored 51 points higher at 752. And despite years of tanking, the 76ers still scored a respectable 759 points, proving it's possible to provide fans with a good experience even in the face of on-court failures.

The study measures fan satisfaction with their overall experience at major pro sporting events. In last year's inaugural study, only teams in the nation's four largest markets — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston — were evaluated. This year, the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Philadelphia, South Florida, and Washington, D.C. have been added, while Los Angeles has been expanded to include all of Southern California.

Fan satisfaction is evaluated across seven factors (in order of importance): seating area and game experience; security and ushers; leaving the game; arriving at the game; food and beverage; ticket purchase; and souvenirs and merchandise. Satisfaction is measured on a 1,000-point scale. Additional factors that are measured but not included in the official ranking are loyalty and future intentions; team performance (on field); and team image.

"We know franchises and clubs with winning records generally do not have problems filling seats, but this study is about finding out which teams are giving their fans the best experience for their dollar," said Greg Truex, senior director, sports research at J.D. Power. "Whether a team is a perennial champion, a contender or is accumulating draft picks to build for the future, they all need to find ways to get people through the turnstiles. The teams at the top of their markets understand what it takes to keep fans coming back for more, as well as recommending the experience to friends and family, regardless of the standings.

The study found that NFL teams perform at the bottom in every market. The Eagles, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, and Washington Redskins scored the lowest in fan satisfaction in each market.

"Top performers in this study show that they really understand what it's like to give a world-class experience to their fans," Truex said. "These results have to make NFL teams sit up and take notice — particularly when coupled with their sagging TV ratings. The league needs to learn what is influencing their low scores and how they can be improved so that pro football is able to retain its overwhelming popularity."

The study also examined potential causes for the recent ratings decline in football viewership and found encouraging trends for the NFL. More than a quarter of the respondents (27%) say they actually watched more football this year vs. the

previous season, and 62% say their viewership stayed the same. Just 12% say they watched fewer NFL games than in the past.

Among the 12% who watch less, 26% of them say national anthem protests are to blame, however those respondents reflect only 3% of the full, nationwide sample. Other reasons given are off-field problems with domestic violence (24%), game delays (24%), excessive commercials (20%), and Presidential election coverage (16%).