We can’t stop looking at this great map (full map below) of NFL fandom by county that Facebook published yesterday.It’s based on which team has the most Facebook likes in each county. It’s not perfect, but it still gives you a feel for where the territorial lines of each NFL team are.
In a way, this map also serves as a crude outline for the boundaries of America’s dozens of cultural regions.
Geography is a hugely important factor in determining team allegiance. But that’s a little misleading. There’s nothing magical about being born in a specific place that makes you a fan of one team or another, it’s more about culture than place.
Fandom comes out of cultural pressure — you become a fan of Team X because your friends and family are fans of Team X and Team X is a prominent fixture in the lives of the community in which you live.
That’s culture, and in a way, you can view this as a cultural map — a map of like-minded clusters of people.
There are some pretty interesting things you can learn from it:
- Most of Pennsylvania identified with Pittsburgh, whereas Philadelphia only influences the extreme eastern portion of the state
- Arkansas is more influenced by Texas than Louisiana
- The upper Midwest is divided almost exactly along state lines
- West Virginia is a lot like West Pennsylvania
- The divide between eastern New York and New England is stark
Again, this isn’t perfect. We doubt there’s some cultural factor that makes northern California profoundly more pro-49ers than pro-Raiders.
But it’s interesting anyway:
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