Penn State Football fans the most engaged in the country

Penn State Nittany Lions cheerleaders (Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports)
Penn State Nittany Lions cheerleaders (Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports) /

Penn State Football took a step back in 2020, but that did little to damper the enthusiasm of Nittany Lions fans in Happy Valley.

One of the most passionate fanbases in sports, Penn State Football tied with the National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide as the engaged fans in all of College Football in a recent study from WalletHub:

Not only was State College, Pa. (population 42,275) the No. 35 ranked city for football fans — college or NFL — but the borough fared significantly higher among college fans, trailing only Clemson, Sc., Tuscaloosa, Al., Fargo, Nd., and Fayette, Ms.

When it comes to most overall engaged fans, Penn State Football was tied with the Alabama Crimson Tide for the top spot in the sport.

Here is how WalletHub produced its rankings:

"In order to determine the best and worst cities for football fans, WalletHub compared 245 U.S. cities based on 21 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for football fans.For our sample, we chose cities with at least one professional football team (NFL) or at least one college football team (NCAA, including FBS and FCS). We then grouped the cities by division — “Pro Football” and “College Football” — and assigned weights to each divisional category based on its popularity among fans.Finally, we determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample."

It certainly helps that Penn State has the world’s largest alumni association, but the passion and enthusiasm for Penn State Football is certainly something that has been passed down for generations. Likewise, the resurgence under head coach James Franklin that has propelled the Nittany Lions to three New Year’s Six bowls in the past five years, along with a Big Ten championship, has only served to fuel the fans’ enthusiasm.

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