Being a sports fan means not only cheering for the success of your favorite teams and athletes but also pulling almost as hard for the failure of their opponents. The inherent negativity that comes along with having a rooting interest in athletic competitions has led most sports fans to develop deeply-rooted negative feelings towards certain teams, players, and even opposing fanbases.
Whether it be because of personal experiences and interactions with other fans, annoyance generated by obnoxious fan behavior on social media, or just plain jealousy over the joy these fanbases get from rooting for successful teams, most sports fans can easily identify the opposing fanbase that “bugs” them the most.
Since we deal with all manner of pesky pest annoyances here at Insight Pest, we wanted to find out exactly which sports fans their peers find to be the most annoying or bothersome, and apply some hard numbers to those opinions. To do this, we reached out directly to every team’s fanbase in the four major American sports leagues as well as college football and basketball fans in general to survey them on which sports fans and fanbases they just can’t stand. All in all, we collected more than 13,500 responses, giving us a VERY thorough look into which fans bug other sports fans the most.
With football season starting soon, the NFL results were some of the ones we were most interested in. As most people who follow the NFL could have predicted, the New England Patriots easily took the crown as the most despised fanbase in the league. While the outcome isn’t terribly surprising, the margin might be.
New England fans earned more than a third of the votes, a full 20% more than the second-place team, the Dallas Cowboys. Fans of the Eagles, Steelers, and Packers round out the top five in this category, with those top five being the only teams to earn at least 5% of the vote.
On the NBA side of things, there was once again a clear-cut number one, once again earning more than a third of the votes. Unlike in the NFL, however, the most annoying fans in the NBA are not the ones that root for a current dynasty but instead those that cheer for a historic one. Fans of the Los Angeles Lakers came out on top here, with the Golden State Warriors coming in second place with nearly 24% of the votes. Boston Celtics fans were the only other ones with at least 10% of the vote.
Like the NBA results, baseball fans tend to be bugged by fans of teams with storied histories, although in this case four of the teams in the top five have all been among the most successful in the sport in the very near past. Fans of the New York Yankees comfortably outpace their bitter rivals from Boston with 32.75% of the vote compared to just 20.77% for Red Sox fans. The Chicago Cubs fanbase, once known as “lovable losers” appears to have drawn the ire of other baseball fans since their historic World Series win in 2016, as they were named the most annoying MLB fans by 10.74% of respondents. The Dodgers and Phillies round out the top five here.
Of all the major sports leagues, the results of the NHL portion of our survey were easily the closest. Here, fans of the Boston Bruins took the top spot but did so with less than 20% of the vote. The Pittsburgh Penguins finished within 6% in second place, with Toronto Maple Leafs fans only 4% behind them in third. An additional point of interest here is that the Bruins finishing in the top three in voting here means that a Boston-based team was voted as one of the three most annoying in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, the only city whose fans pulled that off.
Turning to college athletics, two blueblood schools took the top spots in both football and basketball. The college football fanbase that people found most annoying is Alabama, with almost 22% of the vote. Ohio State finished reasonably close in second with almost 16% of the vote, with their arch-rivals from Michigan following in third.
The basketball side of things was not nearly as close, as Duke earned the highest percentage of the vote for any top finisher across the various sports leagues we covered, with more than 35% of the vote. No other team in college basketball even got 10% of the votes, with Kentucky finishing second with less than 9%.
We also asked those we surveyed to name the fanbase they find most annoying overall across the sports world. The New England Patriots repeated their performance from the NFL portion of the survey, finishing first with 12% of the votes, more than double that of the second-place fanbase, the Los Angeles Lakers. In addition to the Patriots finishing first here, people answering some variation of “All Boston Fans” earned enough votes to finish in third place, driving home just how much other sports fans seem to despise Boston fans.
All of the previous graphics and results look at cumulative numbers, showing who all sports fans combined find most annoying. To get a deeper look at specific annoyances and rivalries we also tracked the answers for every question based on which teams each survey respondent identified as their favorite.
Armed with this data breakdown, we were able to find which fanbases in every category included in our survey bugs the fans of specific teams the most. We then put together “Annoyance Matrixes” for each of the four major sports leagues, identifying which team from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, college football, and college basketball individual fanbases find most annoying. To parse out the results, simply find a specific team on the left-hand side of each graphic and read left to right in a row across the graphic to find the fans of other teams each is bugged by the most.
Finally, we decided to look at a very specific and intriguing aspect of our data – respondents who identified as fans of a specific team and also named their own fanbase as the one that annoys them the most. We collected this data for each of the six categories we surveyed people on, and the results can be seen above broken down by league.
Among NFL, NBA, college football, and college basketball fans the results for fans that are annoyed by their own fanbases mirror the overall results from the entire survey, with the Lakers, Alabama, Duke, and the Patriots all having the most self-loathing fans. The Patriots garnered the most overall votes from their own fanbase, with 8.88% of Pats fans saying they find other New England fans to be the most annoying in the NFL. That number just edged out Duke basketball fans, 8.43% of which are bugged by their fellow fans the most.
Among MLB and NHL fans, the top spot went to teams other than those that finished on top in the overall survey. Among hockey fans, it is those that root for the Toronto Maple Leafs that find their own fanbase most annoying. Even more interesting than that result, however, is what we found on the baseball side of things, where the Baltimore Orioles had more fans who are annoyed by their own fanbase than anyone else, topping their AL East rivals from New York and Boston for that “honor.”
No matter who they root for, teams, players, and other fans will always be around to bug sports fans, but that is part of what makes being a fan fun. What isn’t fun is when your house is full of actual bugs, pests, and other annoyances. If you are experiencing any of those problems, be sure to contact Insight Pest Solutions today to get rid of what’s bugging you!