A New York University PhD candidate (Sean Taylor) has published a series of new maps based on Facebook figures that show a surprising social and geographical breakdown of NFL fans.
About 35 million people on Facebook have ‘liked’ one of the 32 NFL teams, or roughly one out of every ten Americans.
He crunched the data and looked at how many users clicked ‘Like’ for each team’s page on each day throughout the season.
While winning is obviously key element, other factors are at play, too.
‘NFL teams have local followings that are probably heavily influenced by family ties and/or where a person grew up, so we were obviously curious to see where the fans for various teams live now.’
In some cases, whole states and even entire regions of the country uniformly support a single team.
‘For instance the Vikings are easily the only game in town in Minnesota. ‘While New England (minus New York) appears to be comprised of entirely Patriots fans except for a small portion of Connecticut.’
There are some states which are divided into regions by teams.
‘Florida has three teams–the Tampa Bay Bucs, Miami Dolphins, and the Jacksonville Jaguars–and Facebook users there seems fractured in their support, with some counties even defecting to teams from the North.
‘Ohio is another interesting story, with the Cleveland Browns in the North, Cincinatti Bengals in the South, and Pittsburgh Steelers fans occupying the middle of the state.’
He added that teams like the Steelers, Cowboys, and Packers ‘transcend geography, with pockets of fans all over the country. On the other end of the spectrum, the Jets have to share New York with the Giants and are only the most popular team for a single stronghold county in Long Island.