What Your Team Says About You

As an American male living in Los Angeles, I am legally obligated to feign enthusiasm when baseball is discussed.  Unfortunately, the limited extent of my knowledge on the matter can be easily summed up with my go-to baseball talking points:

  • Go Dodgers! (or another local team in the event that I move)
  • How about them Yankees? (I’m not sure exactly what this means but generally is received with thoughtful nods)
  • The Giants suck. (I have no idea if this is true, but they are the Dodgers’ rivals and so are subject to some level of local derision).

Based on the success of these points in faking my way through repeated baseball exchanges, rivalries seem to be core to understanding baseball and the motivations of its many devotees.  So let’s take a look at a couple of the biggest rivalries in the game: Red Sox versus Yankees, and Dodgers versus Giants.

For this study, interest in a specific baseball team was used to define a set of users across the Gravity personalization network. A total of 2.25 million Dodgers fans, 1.25 million Giants fans, 3.75 million Red Sox fans, and 3.5 million Yankees fans met our selection criteria. Their individual Interest Graphs had previously been created for the purposes of personalization of content; every click on content or advertising within the network is analyzed semantically and augments the nodes and edge weights for the engaged user.

When analyzing audiences, the individual graphs are coalesced into a single graph reflecting the aggregated interests and attachment levels for the entire set. This allows for a holistic view of the audience which can then be compared against another audience or the general population of hundreds of millions of users. In this way, we are able to establish what defines an audience and what makes them special.  For our baseball analysis, we’ve created Interest Graphs for each fan base, and have compared some of their more compelling attributes against each other and the global set.  Let’s check out some of the highlights.

  • Dodgers fans….
    • Tend to be the most focused on health and beauty of the four groups.
    • They are interested in technology generally, but less focused on specific websites or gadgets.
    • They are obsessed with the Giants, but also are more focused on the Yankees than the Red Sox are.
    • Dodgers fans are 80% more likely to love the sparkly Twilight vampires than an average Internet user.
  • Giants fans…
    • They love technology, and are quite specific about the brands and properties that are important to them.  There is a surprising level of interest in Yahoo comparable to that of Google, but Facebook reigns supreme.
    • Far outstrip the other teams and the general public in their love of ESPN.
    • Are primarily interested in hobbies that require participation rather than spectating.
    • Put the other teams to shame with their staggering love of Booze, Cannabis, and Cocaine.
    • They are 50% more likely to get all screamy about Justin Bieber than an average Internet user.
  • Red Sox fans…
    • Are the most socially minded of the four fan bases.
    • They have the greatest focus on local and cultural traditions (hurray for St. Paddy’s Day).
    • Edge out the competition in their love of beef and video gaming (a very different Saturday night than Giants fans apparently are having).
    • Are more than 5 times more likely to put on their Bronie gear and watch My Little Pony than an average Internet user.
  • Yankees fans…
    • Have an unusual Interest Graph composition.  While they have a relatively low number of topics in which they are highly interested, the volume of topics they cover is well above normal levels for a cohort of this size.  This is likely a function of the general appeal of the Yankees to fans that are more geographically and demographically diverse.
    • They lead the pack in their interest in exotic dancers and nude recreation.

Gooooooo, local sports franchise!