Alabama fans love MMA, Auburn fans prefer golf. But the differences don’t stop there

What do Alabama and Auburn fans watch when there is no game day?

Both fanbases love college football, of course. They also like the NFL, and sports in general. But it turns out there are some very big differences between the two groups.

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When it comes to sports other than football, one fanbase seems to unwind while watching more relaxing sports, such as golf and baseball, while the other prefers to get amped up while watching far more violent sports, like mixed martial arts and ice hockey.

AL.com and the Center for Sports Analytics at Samford University looked at data from millions of social media accounts gathered by the digital marketing company Zoomph. According to that data, these are some of the biggest differences between Alabama and Auburn fans when it comes to sports interests outside of college football.

What sports do Alabama fans like more than Auburn fans?

Alabama fans are more likely to enjoy combat sports, including MMA, UFC and even hockey, according to the analysis from the Center for Sports Analytics.

[Can’t see the list? Click here.]

According to the Center’s analysis, there were 11 sports Alabama fans like significantly more than Auburn fans. The two most significant gaps were found among general combat sports, including a combined category for MMA and UFC, and a separate category just for MMA.

Alabama fans were also more likely to interact with content related to American football online, and they were bigger fans of hockey, Major League Soccer and the National Basketball Association. Although, Auburn fans liked college basketball more. It is a basketball school, after all.

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Some of the overall number of fans are relatively small. For instance, Zoomph’s data reveals just 7% of Alabama fans are MMA fans. But for that group of Alabama fans, MMA is a big part of their online persona. And while that 7% number may seem small, based on the Center’s findings, it’s significantly larger than the percentage of Auburn fans who show interest in MMA, and much larger than the percentage of the general public – just 1%.

What sports do Auburn fans like more?

Auburn fans seem to have more varied interests than Alabama fans, showing significantly stronger interests in 14 sports and several other categories.

But one thing is immediately clear – Auburn fans love golf.

[Can’t see the list? Click here.]

The top four sports categories – and five of the top eight – where Auburn saw the most notable difference from Alabama fans were all related to golf, including specific tournaments like the Masters and the British Open.

Auburn fans were also more likely to enjoy Fantasy sports, college basketball and Major League Baseball.

Zoomph’s data goes beyond just Sporting interests, though – the data shows things like general interests, political leaning and brand preferences. For instance, Auburn fans are overall more interested in the arts, travel and technology than Alabama fans.

In general, the two fan bases – as you might expect from two groups following teams from the same state – have a lot in common. Among the interests included in the Center for Sports Analytics’ analysis, nine of the top 10 interests among Alabama fans are also among Auburn’s top 10, and seven of those 10 were not significantly different between the two fanbases.

The Center for Sports Analytics determined which fanbase had a notably higher preference for a given sport by comparing the percentage of a given fanbase that showed an Affinity for that sport to the average percentage between the two fanbases – a Mathematical process call the symmetrical percentage difference. Any gap that was greater than 5% was considered statistically significant. This controls for variation coming from large numbers, such as with fans who also like the NFL or NBA.

There’s lots more data on the differences between Alabama and Auburn fans, including what brands of soda, beer and other consumer items each group prefers; the political leanings of each fanbase; and where those fans live across the globe. What data do you want to see next? Drop a line to Ramsey Archibald at [email protected]and follow him on Twitter @RamseyArchibald. Read more Alabama data stories here.

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