America’s Favorite Sports

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America’s Favorite Sports

Ever caught yourself wondering which sports are most popular in each of the different states? Sure, you might have a vague idea – but how can you be certain? Luckily, by analyzing fan behavior, can reveal the definitive list of America’s favorite sports.

A third of Americans chose the NFL as their favored league to watch, according to our methodology. Across all sports and disciplines, it’s little shock that football dominates across the nation, reigning supreme in 37 states as well as Washington DC. This long list, unsurprisingly, includes the home states of Super Bowl-winning dynasties such as the New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, and San Francisco 49ers.

Basketball was quite some way behind, but it took top spot in Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, North Dakota and Rhode Island as the second-most popular sport by state. Arizona joins the East Coast’s Connecticut, Maine, Pennsylvania and Vermont in ranking golf above all else.

Rounding off the 50 states, soccer is the leading sport in both Delaware and New Jersey, with the two neighboring East Coast states very much standing out from the crowd.


To determine each state’s favorite sports, it was first important to establish a consistent index scoring system.

To achieve this, we collected Google search data and social media sentiment data for each of football, baseball, basketball, boxing, golf, ice hockey, NASCAR, soccer, tennis and WWE across all 50 states (as well as Washington DC).

For each of the two data sets, we ranked each sport by their respective value and assigned each a score between 0-1, relative to their ranked position. We then combined both index scores to total a value between 0-2. A state’s favorite sport is that which has the highest index score.

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