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Facebook’s Data Science Team creates map of NFL fanhood

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

Facebook’s Data Science Team has produced a map to break down the NFL team allegiances of fans in every county in America, Gawker-affiliated sports website Deadspin passed on today.

Using data mined from all Facebook users who’ve “Liked” the page of an NFL team, the map in the header photo shows what parts of the United States are partial to certain teams. We’re concerned solely with New York State, particularly the boundaries between Bills fans and Giants fans, and whether the Jets have any presence whatsoever in any non-NYC zone.


The boundary between Bills and Giants fans is a little farther west than I anticipated—Buffalo’s fan-base extends only to the eastern borders of Wayne, Schuyler and Seneca counties, while Chemung, directly south of the trio mentioned above, supports the Giants. The “Steel Curtain” wraps beyond the Pennsylvania border to dominate Steuben County—another slight surprise—and Facebook’s “Fans’ friends” refers the Pittsburgh franchise as the NFL squad that friends of Bills’ fans like the most.

Not surprisingly, the Bills control almost all of Western New York—infiltrating Cattaraugus, Allegany, Chautauqua as well as obvious suspects like Erie, Niagara and Wyoming, Orleans and Genesee. Humorously, the New York Jets only win Nassau County. Life must be tough down there.

It’s important to note that there are big pockets of Bills fans—especially in the southeast U.S. and New York City—but they’re not represented in the map because of larger allegiances to more local teams.

Also, Deadspin glossed over a crucial fact that Facebook posted—playoff appearances and post-season wins have a major impact on generating new “Likes” for an NFL team’s Facebook fan page. I realize factors like the date the NFL team’s Facebook page was created, (especially) population density and social media promotion greatly affect the count of overall fans, but let’s take a quick gander at a few teams’ numbers for perspective (as of 2:15 p.m. EST on Jan. 30, 2013).

Buffalo Bills Facebook fans: 426,540

New York Giants: 2,616,871
New York Jets: 1,496,239
San Francisco 49ers: 1,674,796
Baltimore Ravens: 1,343,456
New England Patriots: 3,972,733
Miami Dolphins: 1,302,092
Pittsburgh Steelers: 4,828,021
Dallas Cowboys: 5,330,796

Speculating at a few teams who I’d believe would have a low number of Facebook fans, here are a few more believed-to-be bottom-feeders:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 537,638
Houston Texans: 830,385
Tennessee Titans: 520,026
Jacksonville Jaguars: 300,961
St. Louis Rams: 407,808
Kansas City Chiefs: 655,042

Well, at least Buffalo’s above Jacksonville and St. Louis. That has to count for something.

TAGGED: buffalo bills, deadspin, facebook data science team, facebook likes nfl, new york giants, new york jets, nfl fans, pittsburgh steelers

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