Thursday, March 02, 2006


ESPN SPORTSNATION ANALYSIS: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PROFESSIONAL SPORT?

A closer look at what SportsNation has to say about various poll questions on ESPN.com

Q: What is your favorite professional sport?
NASCAR 3%
NBA 10%
NFL 53%
NHL 7%
MLB 27%

The SportsNation polls on ESPN are interesting but ephemeral. They disappear without warning. But if one looks at the map of how different states vote there are some interesting revelations. Here is our first indepth look at a "SportsNation poll".

CONCLUSION
The NFL is popular in every state, only outpolled by baseball in Vermont. Even in baseball-mad New England and New York, the NFL still comes out on top.

I. BASEBALL'S STRENGTH
42%: VERMONT (NFL 38%)
42%: CONNECTICUT (NFL 44%)
41%: RHODE ISLAND (NFL 45%)
40%: NEW HAMPSHIRE (NFL 45%)
39%: MASSACHUSETTS (NFL 46%)
37%: MAINE (NFL 43%)
37%: ILLINOIS (NFL 47%)
36%: NEW YORK (NFL 45%)
36%: MISSOURI (NFL 50%)
31%: IOWA (NFL 56%)
29%: CALIFORNIA (NFL 46%)

The Northeast, California (barely) and portions of the Midwest are MLB's strength. But, in places like New York and New England, the NFL is surprisingly stronger. California is an interesting study. Los Angeles is home to the Dodgers and Angels who consistently have a higher combined attendance than the Yankees and Mets. LA does not have a NFL team. Yet, the NFL has a 17 pt lead in MLB's 11th best state in terms of support.

II. NFL'S WIDE POPULARITY
In a landslide reminiscient of Ronald Reagan's 1984 victory, the NFL carries 49 states. Predictably, the Deep South is a base of support but there are states in the Rust Belt and Big Sky parts of the West that are even bigger NFL proponents.

66% MARYLAND
66% SOUTH DAKOTA
66% MONTANA
65% KANSAS
64% WISCONSIN

64% LOUISIANA
63% NORTH DAKOTA
62% PENNSYLVANIA
61% NORTH CAROLINA
60% VIRGINIA

60% OHIO
60% COLORADO
59% FLORIDA
58% MINNESOTA
58% INDIANA

58% NEBRASKA
58% KENTUCKY
58% DELAWARE
57% TENNESSEE
57% MISSISSIPPI

57% GEORGIA
57% SOUTH CAROLINA
56% ARKANSAS

As you can see the Deep South states are not rabid NFL fans. Every region is represented on this list except the Northeast (as noted above) and the far West.

III. NHL
13% MICHIGAN
11% COLORADO
11% VERMONT
10% NEW YORK
10% NEW JERSEY
10% PENNSYLVANIA
10% DELAWARE
09% MINNESOTA
09% MAINE
08% ALASKA

V. OUTLIERS
ALABAMA
This Deep South state only has 54% for the NFL. That's because of the popularity of the NBA (10%) and NASCAR (8%) is highest in its region.

OHIO
Despite its rich tradition of baseball teams, the NFL (60%) is huge.

KANSAS
They love their NFL Chiefs (65%)

MICHIGAN
They love their NHL Red Wings (13%)

COLORADO
The NHL Avalanche (11%) enjoy relatively strong support
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