Which AFL team do Canberrans support in the Grand Final?
Canberra has traditionally been a place that people aren’t from. Rather, it is a place that people have traditionally moved to. When they move, they take their sporting loyalties with them. For that reason, there is a conflicting mess of sport loyalties in the city. If you went to see the Sydney Swans play the Western Bulldogs at Manuka Oval this year, you could clearly see these different loyalties on display as it pertains to the AFL. On the whole, I’ve generally found Canberrans to be pretty good with these loyalties: You can safely wear your team’s kit with out fear that some stranger is going to take the piss out of you.
The Grand Final is soon approaching. Given the different sporting loyalties, it is interesting to see which team people in Canberra are barracking for. Is one team more popular than another? Do Canberran loyalties mirror national loyalties?
One way of measuring loyalty and team identification is to count how many people follow a team on Twitter. All followers combined, Collingwood 7,381 followers, St. Kilda has 4,492 followers, Geelong has 2,153 and the Western Bulldogs have 1,554. When Twitter followers for each team are filtered by location using time zones and user listed location, you can get an idea as to how many Canberrans are followers of the various teams playing in the Grand Finals:
|Suburb||Collingwood Magpies||Geelong Cats||St Kilda Saints||Western Bulldogs|
|Canberra International Airport||0||1||0||0|
It isn’t that big of a surprise that Collingwood is number one. Roy Morgan Research had them as the most popular Melbourne based team in 2009. Beyond that, Canberrans on Twitter buck the popularity trend. Roy Morgan has Geelong at number 2. On Twitter, Canberrans are the least likely to follow Geelong. Roy Morgan had the Western Bulldogs last. Canberrans had them at third. Overall, when compared to total number of followers for a team, Canberrans don’t always follow the national patterns. Again, Geelong and the Western Bulldogs are the ones that don’t match: More people follow Geelong on Twitter but more Canberrans on Twitter follow the Western Bulldogs. It looks like Canberrans, who don’t have their own AFL team, follow a different drummer than the one that beats on a national level.
Another way to measure team loyalty and team identification in Canberra is to use Facebook. Facebook says that there are 198,500 users who live in the ACT and 175,900 people who live within 50 miles of Canberra. What Grand Finals teams do Canberrans like?
|Area||Collingwood Magpies||Geelong Cats||St Kilda Saints||Western Bulldogs|
|Canberra – Within 50 miles||4,540||760||1,100||280|
|Australian Capital Territory||5,080||1,040||1,240||300|
Well, not the Western Bulldogs, that’s for sure. Canberran fans on Facebook much more clearly follow the national patterns as established by Roy Morgan.
Other social networks exist and Canberran sport fans are present on them. One such network is LiveJournal (and its clones). There are a number of fans on it who list their teams as an interest on their profile: 4 for Collingwood, 22 for Geelong, 16 for St. Kilda and 23 for the Western Bulldogs. When broken down by city and state, there are two fans from the ACT who list Geelong as an interest and one fan who lists the Saints as an interest. This pattern for the ACT does not mirror the pattern for the whole of LiveJournal. It also doesn’t follow the pattern for team fandom size as identified by Roy Morgan Research.
Over on 43 things, there is one Canberran who has a goal related to an AFL team. It just isn’t a team in the finals. (The Canberran has a goal of buying a Sydney Swans jumper.) On bebo, there are 18 people identified as being from the ACT who list an AFL team as an interest, four of which list a Grand Finals team as an interest. Two support Collingwood, one supports Geelong and one supports St. Kilda. This pattern mirrors the national one as established by Roy Morgan Research. On Blogger, there are four people from the ACT who list an AFL team as an interest. Of these four, only one lists a finals bound team: Geelong.
What does tell us? Canberran AFL fans are most likely to be found on Facebook. Their support of their clubs is similar to the national club support though there are differences. Different social networks attract Canberrans fans of different teams. It shouldn’t be that hard to find a like minded fan who will support your team if you’re here for the game. The easiest time of doing that will probably be for Collingwood Supporters but Bulldog fans shouldn’t be that worried either. Just go on Twitter Doggies fans and reach out to your fellow Canberrans.
Most of the raw data referenced in this post can be found at http://csv.ozziesport.com/.