Southern Loyalty in Football

Football season is finally here. With that comes fall weather, tailgating and friendly, or not-so-friendly, competition. And college football tends to bring out those competitive sides and fierce loyalty even more. Whether it be by location, alumni ties, family connections or more, that fan loyalty can dominate entire states, especially in the South.

So we put it to the test. Does fan loyalty in these regions go beyond football to brands, interests or more? We analyzed Twitter followers of @SEC and @Big12Conference, the two largest college football conferences in the southeast region, to see how they compared.

What we found is that they’re pretty similar. Which isn’t too surprising considering these followers are sports fans living in the same region of the country. Within each of their top ten interests we see a lot of overlap. ESPN, CNN, Cloyd Rivers, Nissan, Dr. Pepper, Starbucks and Nike are represented in both analyses.

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Where things get interesting lies in the order in which they are ranked. For both the similar and different accounts, brands appear higher on the list within the conference where their headquarters are based.

Dr. Pepper’s headquarters is in Plano, TX, and appears third on the Big 12 list and fifth on the SEC. Nissan comes in fourth in the SEC ranks but seventh on the Big 12 while their North American headquarters is based in Franklin, TN.

Other brands in the Big 12’s top ten includes Whataburger and Southwest Airlines. Whataburger’s home base is in San Antonio, TX, and Southwest’s in Dallas. In the SEC’s, we see Chick-fil-A and The Weather Channel, both located in Atlanta.

While these are all huge nationally-known corporations, the data proves that local loyalty still plays a factor. Big 12 followers and SEC followers aren’t all that different, but it’s the little details like this that can make a major difference. Our recommendation is that these brands capitalize on the stats and increase local advertising in association with the area football teams. There’s major potential in this data.