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Tampa Bay is a baseball town

And here's the data to prove it.

Brian Blanco

While attendance is, as always, a topic of conversation for the Rays this season (21,869 per game, according to Tampa Bay Baseball Market), I don't think there's anyone here who would contend that the Ray aren't popular within the Tampa Bay area. Andrew Powell-Morse just published on some interesting and nicely-visualized data that helps back that up. Powell-Morse looked at Google search statistics, and categorized athletes by the number of times they were searched for each month globally, their team, their league, their position, and their state of residence.

You won't find much on the Rays in his article, but he shared his data as a downloadable excel file, and invited everyone to slice it for themselves. Here's what I've come up so far.

The top of the Florida list is dominated by Miami Heat players. Also up high, is Teddy Bridgewater (a presumed top NFL draft pick, for those who really do live under a baseball rock) who currently lives in Miami, Victor Oladipo, the Orlando Magic's budding star, and Mike Wallace, the MIami receiver. Next in Florida? David Price.

Rank in Florida Player
10 David Price
16 Wil Myers
18 Evan Longoria
29 Grant Balfour
38 David DeJesus
51 Yunel Escobar
52 Ben Zobrist
61 Desmond Jennings
63 Matt Joyce
92 Jake McGee

Clearly some of this has to do with whether or not there is news about the player, and not just with their popularity, so take it how you will.

Next, I compared the number of google searches for players on each team in the AL East to the searches for teams from other sports in the same area. For cities with multiple teams, I combined them, so the total here for New York baseball is the Yankees and the Mets combined.


Be aware that I have apples and oranges here. Some cities have four sports, some only have three, so don't compare cities directly to each other. Rather, compare the relationship between two sports.

  • In every area with a football team, football had the most searches. But in Tampa Bay, the margin between the two was closest. Baseball town.
  • In New York and Boston, there were more basketball searches than baseball searches, but in Toronoto, baseball is king. Baseball town.
  • The Red Sox are far overshadowed by the search frequency of their nearby football, basketball, and hockey teams. I guess Boston just isn't a baseball town.
  • The Yankees were actually the most searched team from New York City, but the Mets are so far behind them that football and basketball, which are also two-team spots, pass baseball in the rankings.
This is just the tip of what you could do with this data. Thanks a bunch for Powell-Morse for collecting and organizing it into a very usable format. Take a gander at it yourself, and drop it either in the comments or in a fanpost if you do something interesting.