When I start photo shopping pictures of Roy Hibbert into bed with me then I think you can compare these things. Otherwise I think you are making a gigantic leap just to try and make a play at being on some kind of moral high ground.
A big part of being a "brony" is stuff like this. They take it way beyond just going to conventions. A lot of these dudes form "relationships" with these cartoon characters and they will photoshop them into pictures.
If it was just as simple as going to conventions and stuff, sure I could just consider it another subculture of nerd, but when people do stuff like the above that makes it another sort of something. I'm sure there may be people like this that do this sort of thing with Star Wars or Star Trek folks, etc. but that doesn't make it any less weird. And if there are people that do this sort of thing with their favorite athletes then that is just as weird.