Take the Fan Satisfaction Index Week 2 survey: https://goo.gl/forms/TM5nHn360mOTQ0E42
Not all victories are created equal. Coming off the high from beating Florida last week, beating Cincinnati 36-14 felt almost like a loss. The thrill of victory and agony of defeat are infinitely sensitive to a host of factors about Michigan, its opponent, and how the season is going.
This raises an interesting puzzle: How should we measure the satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) we feel after a game, or a season?
The most obvious metric is wins and losses. But as readers of this blog can probably all agree, all 9-win seasons are not created equal. A 9-win season with wins against MSU, ND, and OSU and a Big Ten Championship, for example, would feel a lot better than a 9-win season with losses to MSU and OSU and no championship. A season in which the team outperforms expectations certainly feels better than one in which the team underperforms. And a season that ends with a bowl victory rather than a loss is certainly more agreeable to think back on during the offseason. Clearly we need something that does a better job accounting for fact that some games matter more than others. In other words, we need to be able to more precisely measure the emotional impact of specific wins and losses.
One way to create a fan satisfaction index would be to make some assumptions about what kind of wins and losses feel particularly good or particularly bad, and then create some kind of point system. A win against a cupcake might be worth 5 points, while a win against a rival might be worth 50 points. A loss against a top-ranked foe might be worth -10 points, while a loss to an archrival at home might be worth -100 points.
This process might be a good way to go back and rank past seasons, but there is an even better way to measure satisfaction for the current season: just ask people!
Thus the Michigan Fan Satisfaction Index is born. The research methodology is straightforward: I will post a two question survey after every game asking fans how they felt about the game and how they are feeling about the season so far.
Then, each week I will post the results, discussing trends and trying to understand what’s driving the fan base. Assuming the project finds an audience, I expect the survey process to evolve some over time and feedback and suggestions are welcome. At the end of the season, for example, I will ask people to look back and tell me how they feel about each game – in order to see how feelings changed over time. And once the bowl game is over, I will field an end of season survey asking people to provide a final assessment of their satisfaction.
For now, thanks for reading and Go Blue!