With the Super Bowl just around the corner, Facebook recently announced that 35 million (or 1 in 10) Americans have ‘liked’ one of the 32 NFL pages on the social network.
Accumulating fans is directly tied to winning; while nearly all teams gain fans during the season, those who are winning see their ‘likes’ rise at a much faster rate. Teams that make the playoffs experience a “huge boost” in fans.
Facebook also examined the physical location of NFL fans and constructed a map of the top team for every county in the US. According to the social network, the map “tells an interesting story about the ways that football rivalries and allegiances alternately divide and unite the country, and sometimes even individual states.” Some states were all for one team, some were divided, and some teams (the Steelers, Cowboys and Packers) “seem to transcend geography” with pockets of fans spread out over the country.
Facebook re-drew the map, first including only teams in the playoffs, then creating a new map after each round of playoffs. By the time the map included only the two Super Bowl teams, the country became divided “more or less by geography.”
Facebook also analyzed fan friendships, creating a table of the top 5 fan-friendships among NFL teams and noting that most Americans have a friend who is a Cowboys or Steelers fan.
According to Facebook, this data represents “one of the most comprehensive samples of sports fanship ever collected.”