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How Many Fans Does OSU Have?



On Monday Nate Silver of the New York Times put together a fascinating study of how college football fans are dispersed throughout the United States.

Many of you have undoubtedly already perused his work, but I wanted to re-post a few things on here and talk about what this means for OSU and conference realignment.

First, I’m not wild about his method of data collection,

One way to estimate the regional variances is to look at Google search traffic. For instance, according to Google Insights for Search, the term “college football” is searched for about 5 times as often in Birmingham, Alabama as it is in New York City, relative to overall search traffic.

…mostly because I have literally never googled “college football” in my entire life and neither have any of my friends who actually follow and/or watch college football. I’m not going to rip his study apart because there’s a wealth of incredible info in there and like he said, there’s absolutely no way to do this correctly, I’m just not crazy about the premise.

One of the more fascinating things to me was this,

Nebraska has about two-thirds as many football fans in Omaha as Rutgers does in New York, even though the market is about 18 times smaller.

He seemed surprised (or mildly amused) that Nebraska had anywhere near the same amount of fans in Omaha as Rutgers has in NYC and yet I would have thought it to be the other way around. We lose sight of the enormity of some of these markets sometimes because we only exist within the parameters in which we choose to exist.

Here are the Big 12 figures:

I’m not surprised Texas Tech has more fans than Oklahoma State (that would also explain this), but I am a little surprised they have a Baylor’s worth more. Again, we live in this Tulsa/OKC/Stillwater world and the Dallas/Houston/San Antonio markets eat markets like ours for breakfast. It’s another reason the Oklahoma schools should get out (if they really want to) while they still can.

It is interesting how these numbers conflict with this survey done by Williams Perkins Allen Opinion Research that said 8 in 10 (or almost 3 million) Oklahomans are OU fans, and you’re not even stepping foot outside the state at that point. Granted, 100% of humans in the state even like football as that research implies.

Obviously the New York Times article an incomplete study (and the author admits as much), but it’s an interesting look behind the curtain at what some conference commissioners and school presidents are probably taking into account.

The bottom line for OSU is that they would not be in the position they’re in without Boone’s money and the recent success of the football squad.

In fact, what’s the big difference between OSU five years ago and Kansas State right now? Kinda scary, huh?

This is part of our series on OSU possibly heading out west to the Pac-12. You can read the rest of those posts here.

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