The demographics of D.C. sports fans
In recent months, I've publicly speculated that the Wizards have D.C.'s most racially diverse fan base, that the Redskins have a (comparatively) aging fan base, and that the Caps have the whitest fan base in the area. Some of this is just good idle conversation to pester other reporters with while waiting for a game to start, and some of this has actual implications. If the Caps fan base remains overwhelmingly white, for example, that could explain why the television ratings aren't even higher in this racially diverse market.
Well, luckily, there's a group called Scarborough Research that actually tracks such things. They were kind enough to send me reams of numbers from Scarborough Sports Marketing's 2009 survey of D.C. Around 6,000 adult residents of the Nielsen-defined Washington DMA were quizzed on a whole bunch of demographic information, and were also asked whether they had watched, attended or listened to a game featuring various teams within the past 12 months.
The questions were asked from September 2008 - August 2009, which means the responses cover an even more distant period. There are way too many numbers to include them all, but I'll provide some highlights. I have numbers covering the Nats, the Caps, the Wizards, the Redskins and United.
* The Redskins and Nats fanbases seemed to trend oldest. Here were the percentages of followers who were less than 35 years old: United (40 percent), Caps (34 percent), Wizards (32 percent), Nats (29 percent), Redskins (28 percent). And here were the percentages of followers who were older than 55: Redskins (32 percent), Nats (30 percent), Wizards (27 percent), Caps (22 percent) and United (19 percent).
* The Caps had the whitest fan base of the five pro teams; 77 percent of their fans identified themselves as white, above the region-wide average of 70 percent. The Wizards have easily the least-white fan base; just 49 percent, with 44 percent of their followers identifying themselves as black. The followers of the other three teams pretty closely mirrored the percentages for the region as a whole.
* United had by far the heaviest Hispanic following, with 23 percent of its fans identifying as Hispanic. Not a huge shock there. None of the other teams had a Hispanic percentage above the region-wide number.
* United (68 percent) and the Caps (67 percent) had the highest percentages of male fans. The Redskins (56 percent) and Wizards (61 percent) had the lowest percentages of male fans, and thus the highest percentage of female fans. That's how it works.
* The Caps had the highest proportion of married followers, at 65 percent. The Wizards had the lowest, at 52 percent.
* The Caps (50 percent) and Nats (48 percent) had the highest proportion of fans who were college grads or had some post-secondary work.
* The Caps had easily the highest proportion of fans who lived in households with incomes of more than $100,000, at 59 percent. Region-wide, that number is just 41 percent, which means Caps fans are way richer than normal. The Nats were second, at 51 percent.
Now obviously, this lumps the most casual fans in with the die-hards, and it would be interesting to see how the numbers change if you just isolate people who regularly watch games. Still, here's to making some more idle chatter.
March 11, 2010; 1:31 PM ET
Categories: Caps , D.C. United , Nats , Redskins , Wizards
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