Packers, Saints lead top NFL fan bases in recent Nielsen report

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay and New Orleans were the most loyal NFL cities in 2013, while Seattle's 12th Man missed the top five.

The endlessly publicized 12th Man in Seattle got plenty of attention during the Seahawks' Super Bowl run. While the fan base is among the loudest in the NFL, a recent Nielsen report claims it's nowhere near the most loyal.

In its annual sports media report, Nielsen estimated that 34 percent of local fans watched, attended or listened to the Seahawks during 2013, a far cry from Green Bay, Wis., which led all NFL cities by tuning into the Packers at an 88 percent clip. In fact, Seattle wasn't even close to the top five, coming up 35 percentage points shy of No. 5 Kansas City.

Green Bay's 88 percent is an impressive number, but as a town of just 104,000 residents, it stands to reason that Packers football would be such a large focus. Perhaps even more impressive is the 81 percent of fans who follow the Saints in New Orleans, a city of just under 370,000. Pittsburgh (78 percent) and Baltimore (70 percent) come in at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively.

Americans as a whole tuned into the NFL at higher rate last year, Nielsen also reported. Viewership increased by 4.8 percent between 2012 and 2013, the second-highest increase among the four major American pro sports. The NHL led all comers with a healthy 19 percent jump, while the MLB rose a modest 3 percent. The NBA saw an 11 percent drop in its regular season viewership, but did get a 5 percent spike in Finals viewers.

While Super Bowl XLVII blew the NBA Finals coverage out of the water in terms of audience (108.7 million to 17.7 million), the social media-friendly NBA actually had more robust Twitter activity: There were 26.7 million 2013 Finals tweets, compared to 26.1 Super Bowl tweets (granted, the Finals took place over a seven-game series). Both of those numbers are roughly six times higher than the 2013 World Series.

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