Forbes Ranks Miami Heat Fans as Best in NBA in 2015

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Miami Heat fans may get a lot of flack from Charles Barkley for being fair-weather fans, but that doesn’t actually appear to be the truth.

According to Forbes via The Sun Sentinel, Heat fans were ranked as the best in the NBA in 2015. Despite losing LeBron James in the summer of 2014, Miami ranked ahead of such fanbases like the Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics.

Forbes took into account the following criteria in coming up with their list:

  • Three years worth of television ratings
  • Three years worth of merchandise sales
  • Social media reach
  • Hometown crowd reach
  • Trends in behavior

The hometown crowd reach category is defined as a percentage of the local population that watched, attended and/or listened to a game in the last year. As far as the social media criteria, Forbes combined Facebook likes and Twitter followers of that given team.

Just four years prior in June of 2011 when the Heat played the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals, TNT analyst and Naismith Basketball Hall-of-Famer Barkley called Heat fans “the worst in the NBA.”

When asked if Miami was the worst professional sports town, Sir Charles responded with the following:

“Yeah they have the worst fans. No question. It’s not even loud in there. You’re at the game and you are like, ‘Man this place isn’t even loud.’ At least when you go to Chicago, it’s loud in there, it’s crazy down in Dallas but it’s not even loud in Miami.”

In spite of losing James to the Cleveland Cavaliers during the offseason, Forbes cited that Miami ranked in the top five in attendance before LeBron’s arrival and continue to play in front of sellout crowds even after his departure. They also stated that the Heat continue to rank high in terms of merchandise sales.

The following is the top 10 list of the best NBA fans according to Forbes:

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D.J. Siddiqi grew up in the heart of South Florida in Broward County. Growing up in South Florida during the late 90's and 2000's, D.J. witnessed the Pat Riley years where the Miami Heat faced off with the New York Knicks all the way to the painful late 2000's seasons where the Heat were a one-man team with Dwyane Wade. D.J. has closely followed the Heat over the past decade-and-a-half, and unfortunately witnessed Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals in person when the Dallas Mavericks overcame a 15-point deficit to knock off the Heat. D.J. has writing experience as a columnist with sites such as Bleacher Report and Rant Sports, and he is proud to bring his knowledge of the Heat and the NBA to Heat Nation.