by Michael Lowrey
Facebook has put out a map showing the most “liked” NFL team for each county in the U.S based upon the “likes” for pages on its website. I knew that are were a lot of Dallas Cowboy and Pittsburgh Steeler fans out there, but didn’t realize that one or the other is the most liked team in such large portions of the U.S. — and that includes big chunks of the Carolinas.
Bonus observation: That the Panthers aren’t even the most popular team in about half of their home state won’t help their effort to extract money from the General Assembly for Bank of America Stadium improvements.
Update: Seems that the Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective have worked through the Facebook data. Deadspin reports about their findings, including a critical one about the Panthers: Only 37 percent of NFL fans within 50 miles of Charlotte “like” the Panthers. And that’s a low percentage indeed:
Many teams with small fanbases are actually performing quite well within their small markets. The numbers above are a result of a mix between fan loyalty and team geography.
• The Bills, who although have the third fewest fans of any NFL team, actually do quite well with the home crowd by earning the loyalty of 73 percent of fans (in the United States) within 50 miles of Buffalo.
• Although three teams rank below them, the Carolina Panthers appear to have the least loyal fanbase. The Redskins, Raiders, and Jets all have other teams within 50 miles of their stadium and therefore share a fanbase. The Panthers’ closest competitors are the Atlanta Falcons who play over 240 miles away from Charlotte. As we’ll see later, the Panthers lose most of the Carolinas to the Cowboys.