A Map of NFL Fandom … As Determined By Facebook Likes

Sean J. Taylor of Facebook’s Data Science department put together this nifty map of the United States showing NFL team loyalty, county-by-county, according to Facebook likes:

Image by Sean J. Taylor, Facebook Data Science intern

Image by Sean J. Taylor, Facebook Data Science intern

For some reason, South Carolina really likes the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The map, which shows the most-liked team in each county, can be a bit confusing because of the need to use 32 colors. The Cowboys, Colts, and Patriots, for instance, are all shades of gray; the Bears and Giants are very similar shades of blue; and the Vikings and Ravens are nearly identical purples.

By my count, there are ten states in which every county favors the same team: the Vikings in Minnesota, Packers in Wisconsin, Saints in Louisiana, Broncos in Wyoming, and Steelers in Hawaii (?) account for half of those. The rest belong to the Patriots, who have unanimous support in five of the six New England states. (It helps when your team is named for a region of small states.)

Taylor then broke down Facebook likes for the two teams in the Super Bowl and created this map showing which counties support the 49ers and which support the Ravens:

Image by Sean J. Taylor, Facebook Data Science intern

Image by Sean J. Taylor, Facebook Data Science intern

Granted, there are no doubt millions of football fans who have a preference in Sunday’s game but wouldn’t identify themselves as fans of either team, or bother to like either team on Facebook.

Taylor’s research also looks at when teams get most of their likes and examines friendships between fans. Packers fans, for instance, tend to have a lot of Facebook friends who are Bears fans. (It’s great to know that people can set aside their differences long enough to accept each other’s friend requests.)

“NFL Fans on Facebook”—Sean J. Taylor, Facebook



About Josh Tinley

Josh Tinley writes the Away From The Action column at Midwest Sports Fans, covering all aspects of sport aside from what actually happens on the field, court, or track. Josh grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from the University of Evansville and Vanderbilt Divinity School. He is the author of Kneeling in the End Zone: Spiritual Lessons From the World of Sports and the managing editor of LinC, a weekly curriculum for teens that explores the intersection of faith and culture. Josh lives outside Nashville with his wife, Ashlee, and children, Meyer (7), Resha Kate (5), and Malachi (3). He will not allow himself to die before the Evansville Purple Aces make another trip to the NCAA Tournament. Follow him on Twitter @joshtinley or send him an e-mail.

Comments

  1. Seattle managed to again be completely ignored, even when every county in the State of Washington us rooting for them.

  2. Agreed, Justin! We are Oregon Seahawks season ticket holders and it never ceases to amaze me how frequently the Hawks are left out of the national coverage. You would think that Wilson’s fancy footwork, Lynch’s seismic Skittle explosions and our guys’ overall Pro Bowl success put us on their radar?!?

  3. This is puzzling…Tennessee is not a solid Titans state. There is a huge following still for Peyton Manning. See Broncos stuff everywhere now and before Colts. The only thing I can figure is a lot of TN isn’t on Facebook.

  4. go pack the bigest state Alaska likes the Green Bay Packer yes upper michigan well i love you too

  5. This is a really neat concept/map…I just wish it were more accurate. I have lived in the Carolina’s my whole life (32 years). I have lived in Charlotte NC, Columbia SC, Myrtle Beach SC, and now live in Charleston SC…And in each of these places, the majority of team support was towards the Carolina Panthers, and its not even close. I would say that 85% of all people in SC root for the Panthers. The Steelers are next in line but not even close to Carolina. That’s the reason Jerry Ricbardson wanted the name to be “Carolina Panthers” instead of North Carolina or Charlotte Panthers. They play in Charlotte but they represent both north and south Carolina.

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