Penn State Dominates the State, Literally
College football is filled with passionate rivalries, heated debates, and allegiance to territory. Thanks to a new interactive map from the New York Times, it’s made clear that Penn State has Pennsylvania’s rooting interests dominated, while some neighbors are struggling to keep up.
“The Upshot” — the statistical arm of The New York Times — recently published the map, which displays 84 different college football fan bases from all around the country based on the number of Facebook likes in each zip code. The user can zoom in on different areas of the country to get more details on who roots for whom in them. A quick glance at the state of Pennsylvania and its 2,182 zip codes shows that Penn State is having no problems with its in-state influence.
In the area surrounding Philadelphia, Penn State owns despite Temple calling the city home, with percentages ranging from about 28-32 percent. In more northern Pennsylvania cities, the foothold is stronger — in Erie, Penn State owns 42 percent of the rooting, and in Allentown, the Lions own 49 percent.
The vast majority of the state consists of swatches of blue, but there’s a small blemish in the southwest corner that is noticeably yellow. In Allegheny County, it seems that hometown Pitt has dominated the fans’ interests. A closer look into the demographics reveals that the influence Pitt might have on the region is not as strong as one might think. For example, in Oakland, the heart and soul of Pitt’s student life, only 44 percent of the area supports Pitt football. In Happy Valley, by comparison, 80 percent support Penn State football. Furthermore, in Oakland, Penn State is still well-represented with 15 percent support; in Happy Valley, the second-best team is Notre Dame at 2 percent.
Luckily for Penn State, whatever territory we may lose to the University of Pittsburgh, we gain back by annexing all of South Jersey.