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Where the football fanatics live

San Diego is near the top (and other surprises)

Where are the wildest, craziest football fans in the United States? If you guessed Green Bay, Wisconsin, you would be correct. But you wouldn't guess the least football-crazed city. It's Las Vegas, Nevada, where the citizenry and tourists apparently prefer other games, like blackjack.

These are findings by WalletHub, the organization that keeps statistics on cities, metropolitan areas, and states. It used these criteria to judge how football-obsessed various cities are: number of National Football League and college teams; performance of those teams; average ticket prices for games; city population divided by stadium capacity; number of championships and division championships; number of sports bars per capita; number of fans following football on Twitter and Facebook; the value of pro franchises; average attendance;and TV game viewership.

Following Green Bay are East Lansing, Michigan (home of Michigan State University); Pittsburgh; Denver; and Tuscaloosa (University of Alabama). In the bottom four with Vegas are Tulsa; Mobile, Alabama; and Akron, Ohio — although Oklahoma, Alabama, and Ohio are considered football-crazed states.

San Diego comes in 18th out of 142 metro areas. This is a bit of a surprise, because many sports economists blame the Chargers' often-weak attendance on all the other activities people can engage in out of doors. San Diego even tops Kansas City; Auburn, Alabama; Chicago; and Gainesville, Florida, home of the University of Florida.

Generally, Texas is considered the most football-mad state. But of the top 50 cities, there are only three from Texas: Dallas 7th, College Station (home of Texas A&M) 49th, and Houston 50th.

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Where are the wildest, craziest football fans in the United States? If you guessed Green Bay, Wisconsin, you would be correct. But you wouldn't guess the least football-crazed city. It's Las Vegas, Nevada, where the citizenry and tourists apparently prefer other games, like blackjack.

These are findings by WalletHub, the organization that keeps statistics on cities, metropolitan areas, and states. It used these criteria to judge how football-obsessed various cities are: number of National Football League and college teams; performance of those teams; average ticket prices for games; city population divided by stadium capacity; number of championships and division championships; number of sports bars per capita; number of fans following football on Twitter and Facebook; the value of pro franchises; average attendance;and TV game viewership.

Following Green Bay are East Lansing, Michigan (home of Michigan State University); Pittsburgh; Denver; and Tuscaloosa (University of Alabama). In the bottom four with Vegas are Tulsa; Mobile, Alabama; and Akron, Ohio — although Oklahoma, Alabama, and Ohio are considered football-crazed states.

San Diego comes in 18th out of 142 metro areas. This is a bit of a surprise, because many sports economists blame the Chargers' often-weak attendance on all the other activities people can engage in out of doors. San Diego even tops Kansas City; Auburn, Alabama; Chicago; and Gainesville, Florida, home of the University of Florida.

Generally, Texas is considered the most football-mad state. But of the top 50 cities, there are only three from Texas: Dallas 7th, College Station (home of Texas A&M) 49th, and Houston 50th.

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Comments
17

I see that San Diego comes in the bottom five for "friendly and engaged (NFL) fans". What do you make of that Don?

Jan. 28, 2015

MichaelValentine: It would seem that Chargers fans do less tweeting and Facebook posting about their team. I don't know what that means. San Diego is generally ahead of many cities in electronic sophistication, but I don't know that that applies to tweeting and Facebook posting. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 28, 2015

How do the cities stack up with respect to the "American Sniper" movie?

Ain't statistics grand?

Jan. 28, 2015

Twister: I would think San Diego, one of the largest military centers, would probably have an inordinately high percentage of people who love the American Sniper movie. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 28, 2015

I would bet (pun intended) that the good people of Las Vegas would rather bet on football in a sportsbook rather than go to a game in person.

Jan. 28, 2015

aardvark: It may well be true that those in Las Vegas would rather sit in a casino and bet on a game than actually attend it. On the other hand, there is nothing like watching a horse race when you have money on a pony. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 29, 2015

I'd have to say that Pittsburgh and its Steelers are the hardest-core NFL fans. I've encountered some of those fans here in SD, many years removed from living in that "most liveable" of spots, and they would not go back there to live on a bet. But when it comes to pro football, they sport Steelers bumper stickers, caps, jackets, and can talk of little else. We also have the wretched "Raider Nation" fans that revel in that sort of Darth Vader-looking merchandise, and seem to care how the team fares.

Jan. 28, 2015

Visduh: A decade ago, Oakland fans would have been right up there near the top. But the team has been awful for a long time. I agree that Pittsburgh might have been numero uno back in the days when it was tearing up the league. It is still in third place.

I can remember the days (1950s) when Green Bay couldn't fill its stadium for the Packers and played part of its home games in Milwaukee. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 29, 2015

Me thinks that the weak attendance may be caused by two things: 1. Most hourly working folks can not afford the price, and 2. There are many places you can watch the games even when they are blocked.

Jan. 29, 2015

AlexClarke: There is no question that the high cost of Chargers games deters attendance and may be a cause of blackouts. San Diego has an extremely high cost of living and only moderately high median household incomes. San Diegans are squeezed. That's one reason the Chargers are not planning to try to sell personal seat licenses. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 29, 2015

Rich Gibson: It sounds like your cheer is, "Go Chargers! Far away!" Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 29, 2015

The fanatics are still a small percentage of the tax payers, but seem to want the tax payers to foot the bill for their contrived entertainment.

Jan. 29, 2015

Murphyjunk: The fanatics are just numerous enough to constitute a voting bloc that politicians can't ignore. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 29, 2015

Having grown up watching the Padres play badly on a field with wooden bleachers, seeing the only winning local teams of the time (the Gulls and the Rockets) sold off, and the Chargers lose consistently, I thank them for influencing me to pursue other interests. Sports has become the opiate of the masses. It is better to let the addicts pay for it rather than the taxpayers.

Jan. 29, 2015

CaptainObvious: Sports are definitely the opiate of the masses, but not just in the U.S. Have you seen soccer fans go berserk in European and South American countries? Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 29, 2015

It ain't for nutthin' that "fan" is short for fanatic! And it ain't for nuttin' that fanatic rhymes with pathetic . . .

Fans are so short on self respect and other content that they fill the void with fantasies that "greatness" will rub off on them.

Feb. 1, 2015

Twister: I think yours is a good psychological explanation. There could be others. Best, Don Bauder

Feb. 1, 2015

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