The 2012 Olympic Games are just now entering its second week in London. Medals have been earned and awarded in many sports – with many yet to come. Those of us back home have often dreamed of being an Olympic athlete – even just to compete. What is the likelihood of an Olympic athlete coming from your neighborhood? Where are some of the Olympic sports most popular in the US? Who lives there?
This the second in a 2-part series looking various sports in the London Olympic Games and who in the US participates in them.
Basketball is a very popular sport in the US. The NBA draws in millions of fans around the country. It has been an Olympic sport since 1936 and continues to bring in millions of fans from around the world. The US has dominated the medals. US men have won gold 16 of the 18 times they have competed. US Women have won gold six of the eight times they competed.
Many Americans not only want to watch basketball, but they also like to play. 7.1% of adults participate in basketball. Although this isn’t quite Olympic or pro level, many of these athletes have dreamed of bringing in gold like many of the dream teams the US has put together.
There are a few hot spots around the country where there are some avid basketball players. This includes Arizona, southern Texas, and some other areas in the west. Some of the zip codes with the highest index are 37916 (Knoxville, TN), 55455 (Minneapolis, MN), 74078 (Stillwater, OK), and 90089 (Los Angeles, CA). Each of these have an index of 422 meaning residents in those zip codes are 4.22 times more likely than the average American to participate in basketball.
What type of person is typically most likely to participate in basketball? What type is least likely? We can use Tapestry Segmentation to classify consumers. Esri, a geographic information systems company which also does data analysis, developed the Tapestry Segmentation system that classifies US residential neighborhoods into 65 unique market segments based on socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. The segment whose neighborhoods have an index of 200 or higher for basketball participation, meaning they are at least 2 times more likely than the average American to participate in basketball, is Dorms to Diploma. Residents of this tapestry group are college students with a median age of 21.9 years. Forty-two percent share housing with one or more roommates.
Residents of Enterprising Professionals, Family Foundations, High Rise Renters, and Military Proximity are also likely basketball players. The index for residents in these neighborhoods to play basketball is 150 meaning they are 1.5 times more likely than the average American to play basketball.
Not everyone plays basketball. Residents of Silver and Gold have an index of 50 or less for playing basketball. This means they are ½ as likely (or less) than the average American to play. This isn’t surprising given that this is an older segment with a median age of 60.5.
Many of us have imagined winning gold at the Olympics with the theme of Chariots of Fire playing in the background. Although I am not one of the 8.1% of Americans who participate in running or jogging I would certainly admit to having that dream a few times in my life. The Olympics, of course, consists of many different running events from short races of just 100 meters to the 26.2 mile marathon. Who in the US continues to use running to keep in shape? Where do they live?
Americans along the eastern seaboard, around the Great Lakes, and in the west have the most of the runners. People in the middle of the country, in general, are not big runners. The zip codes 07310 (Jersey City, NJ), 60661 (Chicago, IL), and 80203 (Denver, CO), among others, have an index of 213. This means residents of those zip codes are 2.13 times more likely than the average American to be a runner or jogger. I’m sure they are in great shape!
What type of people are the most likely run or jog? There are three tapestry groups where the index for the likelihood to go horseback riding is 200 or higher: Dorms to Diplomas, Laptops and Lattes, and Metro Renters. Metro Renters residents, for example, are young, educated singles at the beginning of their careers in some of the largest US cities. They are likely looking for inexpensive ways to workout.
Of course, not everyone running or jogging. There are several tapestry groups whose neighborhoods have an index of 50 or less for the likelihood of running/jogging. That means they are 50% (or more) less likely to go running or jogging than the average American. These segments are Home Town, Modest Income Homes, Prairie living, Rooted Rural, Rural Bypasses, Senior Sun Seekers, Southern Satellites, and Urban Rows.
Several of these tapestry segments are part of the LifeMode group Factories and Farms. LifeMode Groups are characterized by lifestyle and lifestage and share an experience such as being born in the same time period or a trait such as affluence. 73% of all Factories and Farms neighborhoods have an index of 50 or less for running or jogging. These neighborhoods consist of small town, villages, and farms. Many residents are employed in manufacturing and agricultural industries.
Urbanization Groups are an alternative way of combining the tapestry segments based on their geographic and physical features. Several of the tapestry groups with an index of 50 or less for running and jogging are part of the Rural II urbanization group. These neighborhoods have low population density with affordable single-family homes with land.
Soccer is a big part of many kids childhoods in the US. Known as Football by pretty much every other nation in the world, soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world. Approximately 3.3% of US adults participate in soccer. This could be everything from playing with their kids to participating in a club team.
The US women have won the gold at the Olympics 3 times in soccer. The US men have won silver and gold. Where do the next US champions likely come from?
Soccer is popular along the eastern seaboard, California, and southern Texas – and even parts of Alaska. Some of the zip codes with the highest index for playing soccer are 27710 (Durham, NC), 48109 (Ann Arbor Charter Township, MI), and 70893 (Baton Rouge, LA). Each of these have an index of 356 meaning residents of the zip codes are 3.56 times more likely to play soccer than the average American.
The tapestry segments most likely to participate in soccer are Dorms to Diplomas and Las Casas. The index for the majority of these neighborhoods is 200 or higher. Nearly half of Las Casas residents were born outside the United States and 84 percent are Hispanic.
Residents of some segments are just not that into playing soccer. There are several segments where all of the neighborhoods in those segments have an index of 50 or less. These are: Midland Crowd, Midlife Junction, Prairie Living, Rural Resort Dwellers, and Southern Satellites.
Many of these segments are part of the American Quilt LifeMode group, which are primarily located in small towns or rural areas. Similarly, many of these segments are part of the Rural II Urbanization group, which is made up of small towns and farm.
Volleyball is one of the newer sports in the Olympics. Indoor volleyball was first contested in 1964 with beach volleyball starting in 1996. Russia has the most indoor volleyball medals with 12, but the US is not too far behind with 7. The US does dominate (along with Brazil) in beach volleyball. The US has won a gold in either men’s or women’s beach volleyball since 1996.
Many Americans like to play volleyball as well. Approximately 2.7% of adults participate in the sport. Though this number doesn’t differentiate between indoor and beach volleyball, it’s likely that more people in places like Los Angeles participate in beach volleyball than in a city in the middle of the country.
There are pockets around the US where volleyball is most popular. Like many sports, volleyball is popular along the eastern seaboard as well as around Chicago. Other places its popular is southern Texas and areas of California and Nevada. For example, zip code 47405 (Bloomington, IN) has an index of 231 for volleyball meaning residents there are 2.31 times more likely than the average American to play volleyball.
The tapestry segments most likely to participate in Volleyball are Crossroads, Dorms to Diplomas, and Metro Renters. These neighborhoods have an index of 150 or higher for playing volleyball. This means that residents in these neighborhoods are at least 1.5 times more likely than the average American to participate in volleyball. Crossroads neighborhoods are growing communities in small towns in the South, Midwest, and west. They have a median age of 33.6 years and a median household income is $37,185.
Interestingly no tapestry segment has an index below 50. Although there are certainly communities where people are less likely to play volleyball than others, there seems to be some interest in many communities in the sport – at least at some level.
Why Does This Matter?
Understanding the activities that consumers participate in locally can help businesses target potential customers. Consumers who like volleyball or basketball may be interested in a certain product or service or movie. This information can aid in advertising or marketing or determining where to open a new retail store or restaurant that targets a particular type of customer.