FanPost

Some Clarification is in Order: East Coast Bias

As I continue this series, I'm always looking for terms and concepts to learn about and this week the concept of East Coast Bias has arisen. Now as a guy who spends way to much time away from my home and patient fiancee, I have found it not to be true from an individual level, i.e. people in bars, they all think their team isn't getting enough attention, but since this series is mostly for me and then I share my findings, I set out to find out if there was an East Coast Bias.

Now just an warning, this isn't going to cover anything outside the NFL, not MLB, NCAA or NBA. So while there may or may not be East Coast Bias in those sports, this will just be a research project into the East Coast Bias of the NFL. As someone who studied society in college, this interests me, but since I didn't study marketing, I was forced to do some research.

Background and Data:

The idea of a media bias being based around the East Coast arises for many reasons, more sports teams, great television coverage, and greater media attention. There is also the trend of west coast teams losing often when they travel to the east coast and Denver. This bias is largely felt by teams west of the Mississippi, even more so on the west coast, but also in the mid-west. So to break this down a bit before we delve into actual media coverage and such. The first thing I wanted to look at was city size for each NFL team.

Population of NFL Team Cities and Year Founded:

This chart takes a look at the population of the host city for the team as well as the year that city first got a team. Not this doesn't include the tumultuous times of the 1940's, but it is pretty accurate. Also for cities that have teams come, go and then come back, Cleveland, Houston, Baltimore, and Oakland, the original founding date is listed till the team left and then the new founding date is listed. Baltimore for example had the Colts from 1953 to 1983, they left, but Baltimore got the Ravens in 1996, so their data reads "1953-1983/1996."

Now this obviously doesn't cover the population of suburbs and surrounding areas because that data changes depending on your definition of media market, so I just stuck with the actual city size. This data is also from 2000 since the 2010 census data hasn't been published yet.

City

Team

Population

Year Founded

New York

Giants

8,391,881

1925

New York

Jets

8,391,881

1960

Chicago

Bears

2,851,268

1920

Houston

Texans

2,257,926

1960-1996/2002

Phoenix

Cardinals

1,593,659

1988

Philadelphia

Eagles

1,547,297

1933

San Diego

Chargers

1,306,300

1960

Dallas

Cowboys

1,299,542

1960

Detroit

Lions

910,921

1930

San Francisco

49ers

815,358

1946

Jacksonville

Jaguars

813,518

1995

Indianapolis

Colts

807,584

1984

Charlotte

Panthers

704,422

1995

Boston

Patriots

645,169

1960

Baltimore

Ravens

637,418

1953-1983/1996

Seattle

Seahawks

616,627

1976

Denver

Broncos

610,345

1960

Nashville

Titans

605,473

1997

Washington

Redskins

599,657

1932

Atlanta

Falcons

540,922

1966

Kansas City

Chiefs

482,299

1960

Miami

Dolphins

433,136

1966

Cleveland

Browns

431,369

1946-1995/1999

Oakland

Raiders

409,189

1960-1981/1995

Minneapolis

Vikings

385,378

1961

St. Louis

Rams

356,587

1995

New Orleans

Saints

354,850

1967

Tampa

Buccaneers

343,890

1976

Cincinnati

Bengals

333,012

1968

Pittsburgh

Steelers

311,647

1933

Buffalo

Bills

270,240

1960

Green Bay

Packers

101,412

1921

 

Links:

- Forbes Sports Money

- Pro-Football-Reference.com

- 2000 U.S. Census

NFL Teams Popularity Rankings:

Another important factor is the popularity of the team with its fans, no matter how big the fan base. Now this was done by Nielsen Co, a very respected media-research firm. Now they developed a way to measure this, here's how:

This system for ranking the popularity of every NFL team is based on four categories during the 2009 regular season: local team ratings, gross national TV audience, online buzz volume, and monthly unique audiences to official team websites.

Here's the chart:

Nfl_20popularity_medium

Link

Team Record:

Obviously teams that win often and regularly are going to get more attention while middle-of-the-road teams will receive less media attention, so we'll take a look at team records for the past decade (2000-2009) because success prior to that time matters little at this time. So in this table I've included each teams record and winning percentage for the last decade:

City

Team

Record (W-L)

Winning %

Indianapolis

Colts

115-45

71.9

Boston

Patriots

112-48

70.0

Philadelphia

Eagles

103-56-1

64.4

Pittsburgh

Steelers

103-56-1

64.4

Green Bay

Packers

95-65

59.4

Denver

Broncos

93-67

58.1

Baltimore

Ravens

92-68

57.5

Nashville

Titans

91-69

56.9

New York

Giants

88-72

55.0

San Diego

Chargers

85-75

53.1

Minneapolis

Vikings

84-76

52.5

New Orleans

Saints

83-77

51.9

Dallas

Cowboys

82-78

51.3

Seattle

Seahawks

82-78

51.3

New York

Jets

80-80

50.0

Chicago

Bears

79-81

49.4

Charlotte

Panthers

79-81

49.4

Miami

Dolphins

79-81

49.4

Tampa

Buccaneers

79-81

49.4

Jacksonville

Jaguars

76-84

47.5

Atlanta

Falcons

75-84-1

46.9

St. Louis

Rams

71-89

44.4

Washington

Redskins

70-90

43.8

Kansas City

Chiefs

70-90

43.8

San Francisco

49ers

68-92

42.5

Cincinnati

Bengals

68-91-1

42.5

Buffalo

Bills

66-94

41.3

Phoenix

Cardinals

62-98

38.8

Oakland

Raiders

62-98

38.8

Houston

Texans

49-79

38.3

Cleveland

Browns

57-103

35.6

Detroit

Lions

42-118

26.3

 

Map and Table of U.S. Markets:

Now I broke the U.S. into similar areas of marketing. You have the Western (silver), Texas (red), South/Central (light blue), heritage (blue), and East Coast (white). Just a note, because Texas is so different marketing-wise from anywhere around it, I made it it's own sector. Here is the break down in each sector:

Ussportsbreakupmap_medium


And here is the table, it breaks down how many teams are in each sector, the average win percentage of a team in that sector, how they ranked on average on the popularity index and average city size of the team:

Sector

# of Teams

Win % (avg)

Popularity Index (avg)

Market Pop. (avg)

East Coast

6

56.8

56.2

3,368,884

Heritage

9

49.2

55.4

711,426

South/Central

9

48.2

36.3

515,011

Texas

2

40.9

63.5

1,778,734

Western

6

47.1

39.5

891,913


NFL Networks Top 100 Players

Now this was seen a major sign of East Coast bias, so I wanted to look how the ratio was broken up of players per team on average. It should be noted newer teams obviously put fewer players on this list because they haven't been around as long, so here's the chart:

Sector

# of Teams

# of Players

Ratio (P/T)

East Coast

6

17

2.8

Heritage

9

43

4.8

South/Central

9

16

1.8

Texas

2

8

4.0

Western

6

16

2.7


Now because of how this chart turned out I decided not to do the Hall of Fame for two reasons, it favors older team, as seen here in this chart, and because I found most of the players listed in the Top 100 spent considerable time with another team, rendering the data useless as players move from market to market.

Observations:

After looking over all this data, it doesn't look like there is much of a bias. On average, an East Coast team will win more games, making it a better team, therefore garnering attention, but they are averagely liked by their fans. It should be noted that East Coast teams are the most successful and populous on average, thus creating a bigger market and bigger demand. Texas does very well as well, being exceptionally well liked, mostly Dallas, and taken residence in two very large cities. But sadly Houston pulls down an above average Dallas team. Heritage teams are very well liked, with average wins and despite being some of the smallest cities on average. Both the South/Central and Western teams are average in terms of wins, but aren't very popular and are either average sized or smaller. Many are expansion teams as well So if you feel a Western or South/Central team isn't getting enough attention it's likely because they are an average team who aren't exceptionally well liked by their small market.

Now I couldn't track how many negative comments a MSM analyst said or power rankings because those are subjective and change weekly. I felt this was a much more stable, viable way of testing media bias. After doing this research I feel that there may be more attention paid to east coast teams, but it's because they are more successful, well liked and have bigger fan bases then other teams. So the bias isn't based on "oh your west cost or an expansion team" it's based on actual marketing factors. You want to get noticed, win lots of games and have your fans like you, otherwise, the best way to do it is be one of the older teams, they are usually well liked.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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