Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sport Demographics

I found this map on It tells an interesting story about sports demographics.











The blue states considered Brazil's outser from the World Cup the bigger upset of the year while purple voted for Kentucky's quick defeat in the NCAA basketball tournament. (Ohio is green because it voted for Cleveland loss in the NBA playoffs and the D.C. metro states are red because of a similar loss in the NHL playoffs. Gray states had ties.)

So what separates the purple from the blue? Since the majority of states are purple I think it's easier to ask what sets the blue states apart?

Well, we'll start with a theory, based on the "ambiguity effect," that says people discard options where it's hard to assess the probability. That means I'm assuming basketball fans will vote for the NCAA upset while soccer fans will tend towards the World Cup upset, because it's easier to put in perspective.

Under this theory, blue states should be states with lots of soccer fans. And who likes soccer? Yuppies and Latin Americans. Indeed, it turns out that the Yuppie states (Northeast, but notably not Maine) and the states with large Hispanic populations (Florida, border states) voted for the World Cup upset.

But what's up with Georgia and Louisiana? They don't have large Hispanic populations. Perhaps they don't care much about NCAA basketball either.

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