FanSided 250: Washington Wizards sneak into ranking of top fandoms

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal Thomas Bryant (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal Thomas Bryant (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

Congratulations, Washington Wizards fans. You’re some of the best ones out there!

For the first time since the list debuted back in 2017, the Washington Wizards fandom has finally made the FanSided 250, a ranked list of the top 250 fandoms throughout sports and pop culture.

The Washington Wizards fandom had not appeared on the list in any of the first three editions. Neither were any individual Wizards players. But that all changed in 2020. Wizards fans slipped into the top 250 fandoms at #222. The rankings are primarily determined by three primary factors: Fan Vote, Social Follows, and Search Score. The Wizards ranked 217th in Fan Vote, 99th in the Social Follows, and 57th in Search Score. You can check out a breakdown of the methodology here.

The Washington Wizards created some buzz in 2020, and there’s more in store for 2021.

Despite missing the playoffs for the second straight season, the Wizards had more buzz than ever in 2020. Although they have the lowest-ranked NBA team fandom on the list, at least their fans made it. The New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons, and Cleveland Cavaliers fandoms all missed the cut.

Bradley Beal’s rise to the cusp of superstar status certainly helped the Wizards work their way into this year’s standings, as did the arrival of Rui Hachimura. Although the second-team All-Rookie member isn’t as popular as fellow 2019 draftee Zion Williamson, who ranked 96th on this list (18th among sports figures), Hachimura is a star in his own right. I mean, the guy just shot a commercial with Bruce Willis and a talking dog.

The rankings don’t take into account how two newcomers help inflate the Wizards fandom, though. It’s more than likely that we’ll see the Wizards fans ranked higher on the 2021 list than #222. Russell Westbrook, one of the league’s true superstars, and Deni Avdija, the pride of Israeli basketball, should make the Wizards a lot more relevant on the national and international stages.

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Of course, winning some games and getting back into the discussion of ‘Which teams have a chance to win it all this season?’ will do the most to bolster their buzz. What’s the saying? Winning heals everything. Well, it heals irrelevancy, too.

For comparison, the Washington Capitals and Washington Nationals also appeared on the list. The Caps ranked 168th (3rd in NHL), and the Nationals were 142nd (13th in MLB). No other Washington teams made the list.