With Super Bowl XLVII set to kickoff in just over 24 hours, most fans attending the game are already settled into the New Orleans area, eagerly anticipating kickoff between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.
Though the 49ers have a much more storied Super Bowl history, a perfect 5-0 record in the NFL's biggest game, it's Ravens fans who apparently outnumber 49ers fans in New Orleans.
Ravens fans outnumbering 49ers fans in the Super Bowl's host city makes sense on a number of levels -- even though the Ravens have only existed as a franchise since 1996. As a city, Baltimore is closer to New Orleans than San Francisco is, making travel easier for fans coming from the Baltimore area. Baltimore is only 1,124 miles away from New Orleans, whereas San Francisco is a cool 2,272 miles -- making a road trip nearly impossible.
San Francisco's storied Super Bowl history could work against them in terms of fan attendance as well. Yes, the 49ers have set the golden standard for the Super Bowl, winning five times without losing, but the success breeds expectations -- and Niners fans expect their team to be in the Super Bowl. Granted, it's been nearly 20 years since San Francisco played in the Super Bowl, but the fact remains that Niners fans have seen their team in the Super Bowl multiple times already.
By contrast, Baltimore has appeared in just one Super Bowl, Super Bowl XXXV, when the Ravens dominated the New York Giants en route to the franchise's first Super Bowl title.
Regardless of the outcome, Super Bowl XLVII marks the end of an era for the Ravens. Future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis is retiring following the game, and the franchise may lose long-time safety Ed Reed in free agency this offseason as well. If the Ravens do lose Reed, the team will be without its two defensive leaders that have become embedded in Baltimore's franchise history.
Ravens fans in New Orleans not only have the opportunity to see their team crowned NFL champions, but they will also witness Ray Lewis' final career game. If you're a die-hard Ravens fan with a chance to get to New Orleans, the chances are you would find a way to get to the SuperDome on Sunday.
49ers fans, meanwhile, hope that Sunday is just the beginning of an era, as San Francisco has found success under second-year head coach Jim Harbaugh -- and they now appear to have a franchise quarterback in Colin Kaepernick, as well.
It's extremely unlikely that Ravens fans will be able to create any type of advantage at the SuperDome on Sunday -- but it does look like they'll outnumber Niners fans.