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Thread: Regional fan base composition

  1. #1
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Regional fan base composition

    In New England the Red Sox are the undisputed king of all the regional sports franchises, and it’s not even close. Despite the recent championships won by the Patriots and Celtics, and solid fan support for both teams, the Sox inspire a passion and devotion that is unmatched. Even in the dead-of-winter baseball off-season the Red Sox are the talk of New England, and so-called “hot-stove” reports on the team’s happenings capture front page headlines. Chances are good that the sports-talk radio yahoos are talking Red Sox at any given time, even on a pre-game Patriots broadcast. The Sox are a 24-7-365 New England obsession, one of those things you can’t explain unless you grew up here (excluding Connecticut which is Yankee territory- at least partially).

    The immense popularity of the Red Sox in New England is often explained due to Boston being a historic baseball town (the first World Series was played in the city), and while this is certainly true, I think there is a much more compelling reason: women fans. The Sox have a huge and incredibly loyal following among women, more so than for any of the other teams. At Fenway Park the crowd the gender divide is usually split 50/50, while it is usually more of a sausage-fest at Patriots, Celtics, and especially Bruins games. The talk radio yahoos sometimes like to poke fun at the “pink hat” contingent of female fans that attend Sox games, but in truth they’re generally as knowledgeable as male fans.

    Although the Red Sox have a universal appeal, on the whole most Sox fans are probably older and more educated than fans of the other Boston teams. Bruins fans are mostly blue-collar and heavily concentrated in northern New England (N.H., Maine) where hockey is king. The Patriots for many years had an almost exclusively blue-collar fan base mostly on the South Shore and Rhode Island, but their tremendous success over the past decade attracted a lot of bandwagon fans. The Celtics seem to be the most urban of the Boston teams, with a big following within the Route 128/inner-Boston beltway and more minority fans overall.

    I’m wondering about the fan composition of other regions- what are the most popular teams and are there certain teams known to be supported mostly by certain sub-groups? I’ve heard that the San Diego Chargers have a huge Mexican following, that (contrary to popular belief) the Sabres and not the Bills are Buffalo’s team, that San Francisco 49ers fans are a wine-and-cheese type of crowd, and that Chicago is foremost a football town.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    There's probably no surprises here, but in most of Texas, the Dallas Cowboys reign supreme, though in Houston metro there's probably a larger Astros following than Cowboys or Texans. Houston's the closest thing Texas has to a baseball town. Central and South Texas also have a large Spurs following that might rival the Cowboys, though there is still a large Cowboy following.

    As far as demographics, the Dallas Stars and Dallas Mavericks have as a large part of their fanbase successful businesspersons and yuppies from north Dallas and Collin County. The Texas Rangers have more of their following from suburban areas either in Tarrant County or northwest of Dallas. The Cowboys take in everyone, it seems (except for the scattered loyalties of the large number of transplants who live in DFW and Texas as a whole).

    In Oklahoma, folks marginally followed either the Dallas Cowboys or St. Louis Cardinals predominantly, at least until the last decade or so brought on a huge bandwagon of Red Sox and Yankee fans, and now more recently a huge Thunder following. Still, Oklahoma is still mostly a collegiate sports state.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Chicago is definitely a Bears town, with the Cubs coming in second. The Blackhawks have regained a lot of popularity but are probably 3rd or 4th overall right now (neck and neck with the White Sox). The Bulls are 4th, but during the Jordan championship years in the 90's the Bulls were right there with the Bears as top dog. I can't ever see the Bears not ruling Chicago sports, though.
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    For Michigan, in general, I would say popularity goes as follows:

    Lions
    Tigers
    Red Wings
    Pistons

    The Lions being at the top might be surprising consider their Lost Decade, but they still dominate talk radio and continue to draw fans.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    ^^
    Except in Da YuPee (the Packers rule there).

    Wisconsin and many other parts of the upper midwest is Packer country. Nothing really comes close except for the Badgers and maybe the Brewers. In fact, the Packers are a part of the very fiber of the local culture to a level that is nearly unknown anywhere else.

    Interestingly, a couple of decades ago, Fox Sports got the NHL contract and polled viewers in the NE Wisconsin market what the 'home' team should be for programming purposes - the result was the Red Wings (disdain for Chicago sports teams runs that deeply here).

    Mike

  6. #6
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    ^^
    Except in Da YuPee (the Packers rule there).

    Wisconsin and many other parts of the upper midwest is Packer country. Nothing really comes close except for the Badgers and maybe the Brewers. In fact, the Packers are a part of the very fiber of the local culture to a level that is nearly unknown anywhere else.

    Interestingly, a couple of decades ago, Fox Sports got the NHL contract and polled viewers in the NE Wisconsin market what the 'home' team should be for programming purposes - the result was the Red Wings (disdain for Chicago sports teams runs that deeply here).

    Mike
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  7. #7
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Here is a map that shows the regional breakdown of fans for every league. I have been peeking in on this for years as I like maps.

    You all may too. You can add your own data to help.

    http://www.commoncensus.org/sports.php
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  8. #8
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    In Ohio it goes...

    Ohio State
    Professional Sports


    As it should
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    The Bills rule in WNY and probably all of Upstate from Utica and west. The Sabres are a distant second. The Bills haven't been to the playoffs in 11 straight years, and they still sell out most of their games -- this is the first time in 4 or 5 years that any home games have been blacked out. Even in a 2-10 season, they are big news.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    In Minnesota, Wild hockey is huge, but usually among wealthier suburbanites and people in the northern part of the state from all walks of life. The Twins (with the recent successes) have the most diverse fan base, and like the Red Sox, many die-hard fans are women. I think maybe this has to do with the Twins not having knuckleheads on the team (unlike the NBA an NFL franchises). Nobody cares about the Timberwolves since KG left and the VIkings generally have more blue-collar fans. Overall, Twins baseball is king of the talk radio except for Vikings games, in which they both are discussed.

    In Iowa there is a strange mix of sports fans. Few people in Iowa care about the NBA, and none of the geographically close teams ave a following. For baseball, most people are Cubs fans but for football most people are Vikings fans except for the extreme east part of the state. I don't know where this distinction came from but it exists. There are a few Twins fans but I'd say 95% of the state are Cubs fans. The neat thing about Iowa and Nebraska is that collegiate sports play a huge role in the sports-world. Almost everyone "has" a team even if they never went to college.
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  11. #11
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN View post
    Here is a map that shows the regional breakdown of fans for every league. I have been peeking in on this for years as I like maps.

    You all may too. You can add your own data to help.

    http://www.commoncensus.org/sports.php
    Sure, whip out one of your all powerful, fancy maps. No need for this thread anymore. Thanks a lot Z.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  12. #12
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    While Buffalonians are rabid about sports in general, the level of "display patriotism" they show for their preferred team is divided along class lines. Educated middle-class and higher-income folks, along with the preppy crowd of all classes, will deck themselves out in Sabres gear, while the blue-collar crowd are hardcore Bills fans. At the coffee houses in Elmwood Village or Williamsville, if anyone is wearing logo apparel, it'll almost always be for the Sabres. Head to a supermarket or tavern in the working-class eastern suburbs, and it's dose der Bills der.
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  13. #13
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN View post
    Here is a map that shows the regional breakdown of fans for every league. I have been peeking in on this for years as I like maps.

    You all may too. You can add your own data to help.

    http://www.commoncensus.org/sports.php
    The map must be overestimating the percentage of Red Sox fans in eastern upstate NY (although it makes me happy).

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    In Iowa there is a strange mix of sports fans. Few people in Iowa care about the NBA, and none of the geographically close teams ave a following. For baseball, most people are Cubs fans but for football most people are Vikings fans except for the extreme east part of the state. I don't know where this distinction came from but it exists. There are a few Twins fans but I'd say 95% of the state are Cubs fans. The neat thing about Iowa and Nebraska is that collegiate sports play a huge role in the sports-world. Almost everyone "has" a team even if they never went to college.
    Part of it has to do with proximity (for the eastern part of the state), but also the Cubs AAA affiliate is the Iowa Cubs based in Des Moines.
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  15. #15
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rygor View post
    Chicago is definitely a Bears town, with the Cubs coming in second. The Blackhawks have regained a lot of popularity but are probably 3rd or 4th overall right now (neck and neck with the White Sox). The Bulls are 4th, but during the Jordan championship years in the 90's the Bulls were right there with the Bears as top dog. I can't ever see the Bears not ruling Chicago sports, though.
    Yeah, I think you have it pretty much nailed. Although, you're right, during the 90s, we were definitely a Bulls town. And I would argue that in the spring of 2010, we were a Blackhawks town all the way. But yeah, when these teams aren't in the runnings for the championship, it seems that the Bears typically dominate, and the Cubs to a slightly lesser degree. Which is kind of annoying for this Sox fan, as we typically rank behind in popularity. In baseball, it seems like the Cubs have about a 2-1 share of the fanbase over the Sox. It's also kind of strange that the two Chicago teams that haven't won in the past two decades are the most popular.

    As far as range, I'd say most teams (Bears, Bulls, Sox, Blackhawks) have a range that generally includes all of Northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana. I'd also say that most of these teams' ranges extend into Central Illinois, but Central Illinois also includes fans that have allegiances towards St. Louis and Indiana teams. The Cubs have a much larger, national range, and a local range that includes much of Iowa, as has been mentioned. I think both the Cubs and Sox probably also have ranges that extend farther into Indiana, since that state doesn't have a baseball team.
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  16. #16
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    NW Ohio & SE Michigan (Along The OH Border)

    Best Bear guestimate of fan base composition in my area. My area includes NW Ohio and the portion of SE Michigan that borders Ohio.

    NFL
    Cleveland Browns 30%
    Detroit Lions 30%
    Pittsburgh Steelers 20%
    Cincinnati Bengals 10%
    Dallas Cowboys 5%

    MLB
    Detroit Tigers 40%
    Cleveland Indians 30%
    Cincinnati Red Stockings 20%
    Chicago Cubs 5%

    NHL
    Detroit Red Wings 80%
    Columbus Blue Jackets 5%
    Montreal Canadiens 5%

    NBA
    Detroit Pistons 60%
    Cleveland Cavs 30%
    Boston Celtics 5%

    College
    Ohio State Buckeyes 50%
    Michigan Wolverines 40%
    Michigan State Spartans 5%

    Ignore Hink's reference to Ohio being solidly behind the Buckeyes. This corner of Ohio feels pretty much ignored by the balance of Ohio and the ratio between Wolverine fans and Buckeye fans is close to even.

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  17. #17
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    NJ is interesting in that it is sandwiched between NYC and Philadelphia who both are home to quite a few pro sports teams. NJ is home of the Nets for basketball and the Devils for hockey. Between the two teams the Devils are far more popular than the Nets.

    Northern NJ tends to support the NY teams-Knicks, Giants, Jets, Yankees, Mets, Rangers. Southern NJ tends to support the Philly teams-76ers, Flyers, Eagles. Interestingly, the Giants and Jets actually play in NJ at the Meadowlands.
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  18. #18
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    The Sox have a huge and incredibly loyal following among women, more so than for any of the other teams. At Fenway Park the crowd the gender divide is usually split 50/50, while it is usually more of a sausage-fest at Patriots, Celtics, and especially Bruins games. The talk radio yahoos sometimes like to poke fun at the “pink hat” contingent of female fans that attend Sox games, but in truth they’re generally as knowledgeable as male fans.
    The female thing is also true for the Tigers in terms of #s, although they're not as knowledgeable as male fans, IMO.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    The Bills rule in WNY and probably all of Upstate from Utica and west. The Sabres are a distant second. The Bills haven't been to the playoffs in 11 straight years, and they still sell out most of their games -- this is the first time in 4 or 5 years that any home games have been blacked out. Even in a 2-10 season, they are big news.
    False. Utica is Giants territory. Take it from someone who lives here.

    Also, this map has it right.



    Utica is the grey dot in the middle of the state. Grey is Giants.

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