Which state shows the most Basketball love?

by Michael on February 19, 2009

Have you ever had the argument with your friends about who has the best fans?  Well I can come close to answering that question, by showing you which states show the most “love” for the sport.

With Google’s “Insight for search” it allows you to compare search behaviour across Google.  With Google being such a dominant search engine it gives us an accurate picture of where the real “love” is online for your favorite, sport, team, player or league.

Lets start with the term “Basketball” and see which state shows the most online love for the sport.  Turns out that Kentucky takes the crown over Kansas, North Carolina and Indiana.  Now keep in mind this is calculated by the percentage of searches within that states population.  So North Carolina may be searched more overall, but North Carolina natives don’t show quite as much love in North Carolina, as Kentucky natives do to the sport.

kentucky loves basketball the most

To continue with the comparison I decided that it would be interesting to see which states love “college basketball” the most and which prefer the NBA.

 I ran the search for “ncaa basketball”(Blue)  and for “college basketball”(Red).  As you can see Kentucky once again takes the crown, followed closely by Kansas and North Carolina.  Being a west coast sports fan I am a little embarassed by our relative loyalty to college basketball.

Kentucky takes the college basketball crown also

Now for the NBA.  I was actually surprised to see that the first four on the list are west coast states.  I was also shocked to see California so high on the list given that it is such a massive state (population wise).  It’s interesting to see the discrepancy in the west by showing so much love for the NBA vs. college basketball.  In the end,  Utah takes the crown for the NBA, but my prediction is that Oregon will slowly move up this list as the Blazers improve.


This last chart just shows rising searches for “basketball” related terms.  This chart is based off of current search trends rather than four years of data like those above, but it can be interesting to see what the “US” as a whole is searching for. Take a look:

What's hot

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Cole February 19, 2009 at 8:04 pm

Behaviour? Canadian!


Cole February 19, 2009 at 8:17 pm

p.s. Very interesting. The Utah thing is not all that surprising. You can only google “where do I get beer?” so many times before moving on.


Conor February 19, 2009 at 10:22 pm

Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, and Indiana all make sense, although I thought Indiana would be #1 or #2. I am positive that 20-30 years ago it would have ben 1 or 2. Wonder why it is dropping.

After that, however, I am surprised by Wisconsin and Nebraska. I realize they are similar midwestern states, but in terms of college basketball performance, Wisconsin does not have the dynasty powerhouse (although they have been great recently). And growing up, I always thought of Nebraska as a football state. Can we compare basketball versus football next?


Michael February 20, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Yes I am going to expand on these if people find them interesting, and get into player popularity across different sports, etc.


Robert Schueler February 21, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Iowa is shooting for the top spot…along with the top spot in art love…forty-six more spots to go!!!!


Bart King February 23, 2009 at 10:33 am

One primary reason Oregon’s high NBA interest ranking comes from Spain:


Peggy February 24, 2009 at 11:41 am

It would be interesting to find out which basketball programs were searched the most, with key words indicating the programs. This would catch people searching outside the state. Kentucky basketball has fans everywhere. My guess is that it would be a similar outcome. If you look at polls on espn.com, if Kentucky is in it, they win it.


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