Posted by Ronda Billings Morra
The apex event of American spectator sports is upon us this Sunday. The Patriots and the Falcons square off at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas in front of what will be the largest TV audience of the year. Being Boston-based, the bulk of Skyhook employees are New England Patriots fans - save for one or two dissenters in our midst - and we decided to investigate the cultural identities of the two teams’ regions to see if similar loyalties showed up elsewhere. We asked, “what makes area locals unique? Where do native fan interests overlap and what does the density of their shopping habits and store visits say about their local lifestyles?”
At Skyhook, our location network gives us access to massive amounts of highly precise mobile device data. This provides insights into anonymized behaviors of mobile users as they move throughout their day.
Since no team’s fan bases map naturally to geographical boundaries such as cities or states, we began by defining the areas that best represented Patriots and Falcons loyalty territories. Homing devices to team-attributed counties or areas where fans have opted into team updates allowed us to create complex geographic polygons defining these “fanscapes.”
We can then gather all of the device IDs belonging to Falcons and Patriots-assigned fanscapes and run these respective groups through our Skyhook Personas. Skyhook Personas are built by calculating how millions of mobile phones and other devices interact with millions of commercial places of business every day. This process calculates fan brand affinities based on where the devices have visited stores and other commercial businesses.
Here’s what we found:
We saw that when fans filled up their tanks, regional accessibility played a part: Falcons territory dwellers favored BP and Shell while Patriots area devices were more likely to visit ExxonMobil.
Both teams’ showed interesting car-buying trends: Falcons area were much more likely to purchase US cars while Patriots tend to prefer foreign-made cars.
Falcons territory had much more casual diners that dine at Arby’s (5X more likely than Patriots fans), Longhorn Steakhouse, Pizza Hut, Chick-fil-A (2X) and IHOP. Patriots area fans were more likely to be seen at Chipotle, Panera or Sbarro and were (unsurprisingly) 4X as likely to get coffee from Dunkin Donuts.
Falcons territory dwellers prefer to shop at Sam’s Club and Costco for their bulk shopping needs while Patriots like BJ’s best. Local pharmacies that won out: CVS for Patriots territory and Walgreens for Falcons.
Those in Patriots area indicated significantly higher household incomes, even factoring cost of living differentials between the respective fan territories. An interesting observation was that neither territory residents exhibited significant high-income-like spending behaviors like visiting luxury auto dealerships or luxury retailers.
Across both groups, fans were not likely to have children - in fact, Patriots fans were 2x as likely not to have kids.
When it comes to travel, Patriots fans are nearly twice as likely to be regular Leisure or Business Travelers staying at Marriott hotels, while Falcons fans were far more likely to stay at Comfort Suites, Hampton and Quality Inns.
One thing’s for sure, both fan territories were shown to be Live Sports Fanatics, meaning they’re more likely to attend multiple stadium games.
Both teams and fans will be at their best (or worst) on Sunday. Stay tuned for our follow-up blogs that will report what brands won fans over before and after the game! Subscribe to our blog in order to be among the first to receive follow-up insights on our Super Bowl findings and follow us on Twitter @Skyhook during the game to get live insights on fan brand preferences based on ads shown.
If you’re interested in other data pieces, checkout some of our past analyses of mobile devices across the US here.
Skyhook helps brands, agencies and event organizers target their most relevant audiences and reach them with messages that speaks to their unique preferences. Our analysis above can be applied to any number of geographically defined events or regions. This method is also used to measure the impact of campaign messaging on in-store foot traffic for retailers or any brick & mortar brand.