FOX Soccer, Facebook combine to map out MLS fans in USA and Canada

In the buildup to the start of the MLS season, FOX Soccer and Facebook combined to map out the distribution of supporters across the United States and Canada.

Facebook assessed the data for the most-liked teams in every American state and Canadian province to determine the most popular team in each location. It also used county-by-county data to drill down in two particular states of interest — California and Texas — to obtain a detailed look at the breakdown among the teams competing for favor.

Here are the graphical representations of those findings, based on data collected in October 2014:

UNITED STATES AND CANADA

Sixteen of the 19 available teams feature on this map of the two countries comprising the league. The data includes the now departed Chivas USA and excludes expansion teams New York City FC and Orlando City.

As expected, there is a strong regional flavor to the distribution with teams performing well in their local areas. There are two teams, however, with significant backing over an expansive amount of territory in the U.S.

MLS Cup holders LA Galaxy are the favorite team in 15 states, more than any other team. In addition to their expected superiority in the Southwest, the Galaxy also performed well in the Southeast (a clean sweep from North Carolina through Louisiana) and the Upper Midwest (Michigan and Minnesota). The extent of their support largely stems from the inroads made during the David Beckham era.

Seattle finishes second in the rankings among American teams by placing first in seven states. Sounders FC earns top spot in Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota in addition to their home state of Washington. Alaska and Hawaii both fell into the Rave Green column, too.

Canada is split along regional lines. Toronto FC dominates in the eastern half of the country and maintains support all the way through Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Vancouver picks up its support in Alberta and sustains its backing in its home province of British Columbia. Montréal — oddly enough — does not claim superiority in Quebec based on the available data.

CALIFORNIA

The first of the two state-specific maps includes not only three MLS teams, but a Liga MX club seeking to make inroads in Southern California and a USL team striving to join MLS.

Sacramento Republic continues to cultivate a fanbase capable of pressing for inclusion in MLS somewhere down the line. Its base of support starts in the state capital and spreads through a large portion of Northern California. San Jose’s county-by-county support essentially surrounds the Republic along the coast and toward the border with Oregon.

The border war in Southern California revolves around the pitched battle between the Galaxy and Club Tijuana. For the moment, the Galaxy holds the edge. The MLS side maintains its advantage through most of the area, particularly in the inland areas. Tijuana is restricted in its support to the two counties along the Mexican border, though it is worth noting the Xolos have made considerable strides in the overall depth of their support in recent years.

Chivas USA manages to carve out just two countries in the middle of the state as its home base. It is little wonder then why the club folded at the end of last season. Los Angeles Football Club faces a difficult task to make incursions into Galaxy territory and carve out a slice of territory to call its own.

TEXAS

Three teams vie for supremacy in the Lone Star State: FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo and NASL side San Antonio Scorpions.

FCD benefits from its longevity to occupy the most area in the state. The expected stronghold in the Dallas area extends through much of northern Texas, though there are several counties without the necessary amount of data to register a preference.

Houston generates considerable support in the metropolitan Houston area and reaches all the way down into the southern tip of the state. San Antonio musters an advantage in its own market, but its room for growth is constrained by the proximity of Dallas to the north and Houston to the east.