Connecticut’s Yankees-Red Sox divide is legendary. Now, thanks to technology, it’s also hyper-local - down to the ZIP code. Fan interest in various Major League Baseball teams, based on Google searches, was recently released, highlighting the dominance of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. They are searched for 3.8 and 3.7 times, respectively, more often than the league average, and more than 10 times as often as the least popular teams. The New York Mets placed sixth in the number of searches for the team worldwide.
The Yankees and Red Sox each generate about 30 percent more Google searches worldwide than the most popular NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys, and almost 40 percent more than the most popular NBA team, the Los Angeles Lakers. The Montreal Canadiens, the most popular NHL team, aren’t particularly close to the most-searched teams in other leagues. The New York Times “The Upshot” took the data one step further, creating interactive maps using the data to develop estimates of team support based on how many Facebook users “liked” each team in a ZIP code.
A sampling of the results:
- Manchester (06040) - Red Sox 44%, Yankees 41%
- Bloomfield (06002) -Yankees 41%, Red Sox 40%
- Avon (06001) - Red Sox 41%, Yankees 39%
- South Windsor (06074) - Red Sox 44%, Yankees 40%
- Clinton (06413) - Yankees 41%, Red Sox 41%
- Windsor (06095) - Yankees 42%, Red Sox 42%
For his blog FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver investigated how each team does in Google search popularity compared to the size of its television market. “The Yankees rank third even by this standard. But the Red Sox are a clear No. 1 and are about three times as popular as you’d guess from the size of the Boston media market. The Cardinals, Cubs, Giants, Pirates and Reds also over-perform relative to their market size,” Silver observed.
Of course, the Red Sox primary market is much bigger than Boston alone, as the data highlight. They are also the “local” team in the rest of New England, except for western Connecticut. Steve Rushin of Sports Illustrated has called the line running through Connecticut that separates Yankee fans and Red Sox fans the Munson-Nixon line. The name, which he coined a decade ago, is in honor of the late Yankee catcher Thurman Munson and the retired Red Sox right fielder Trot Nixon.
The line may have varied slightly through the years, but as the new data indicates, hasn’t changed all that much. The close divisions within each town give some added texture to the divide.
Just in case Mets fans are wondering, they don’t fare well in the zip code search comparison. In the New York metropolitan area, they do not prevail in a single zip code. Even near CitiField, the Mets have a 28 percent to 48 percent deficit, with the zip code the stadium is actually listed in coming in at 53 percent to 25 percent. In New York, the Yankees win. In Connecticut, division reigns.