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US Soccer Fandom vs. European Football Fandom (Mapped)

European Favorite NFL Teams vs. American Favorite European Soccer Teams

To celebrate the kickoff of the NFL’s 100th anniversary September 5th, we took a glimpse behind the curtain to help discover what European countries love NFL teams. Yet to be totally fair, culture swapping is by no means a one-way street! Countless Americans proudly wave a flag for European soccer teams, as well. To paint a fuller picture from the wide world of sports swapping, we couldn’t help but map America’s favorite European soccer teams, as well.

Naturally, we used Google Trends (the “explain-the-world-to-me” tool), to dig up these views. In the past, we’ve used this tool to decode America’s favorite out of state football teams. Venturing a little further this time, our journey around the world returned some pretty interesting gifts from the zeitgeist of search.

Europe’s Favorite American Football Teams by Nation

Like the rest of us, Europeans have 32 NFL football teams to choose from. Unlike people living in the United States, European football fandom is clearly not driven by proximity. Below you will find each nation’s team with the highest interest score from across the pond, according to Google Trends’ five-year window.

European Favorite NFL Football Teams Map

Why Five Years?

We’ll get into the methods in more detail below, but in case you can’t wait, here are a few key details. Data was pulled for five years in each case to help flatten out what one might call the “championship effect”. (In short, just knowing championship wins drive search interest, we didn’t want to over-index on passive search interest too close to any given championship.) 

We also always qualified our search by the designation “American football team” rather than “search term” for each; to help narrow down to the cleanest view.

Europe’s Top 10 Favorite NFL Teams: Continental View

While each country will inevitably favor one team, we also wanted to know the grand total across all of Europe. It looks as though even across five years, big championship winners still rise to the top. This helps remind us that championships do win authentic and sustaining favor with fans. Unsurprisingly, Tom Brady’s New England Patriots rise to the top:

  1. New England Patriots 
  2. Los Angeles Rams
  3. New York Giants
  4. Seattle Seahawks
  5. Oakland Raiders
  6. Atlanta Falcons
  7. Green Bay Packers
  8. Denver Broncos
  9. Philadelphia Eagles
  10. Baltimore Ravens

America’s Favorite European Soccer Teams

To measure American UEFA soccer fandom, we focussed primarily on the top leagues for each country for the 2019-2020 season. Before you call us lazy, wait until you hear the scale. From across 28 European Union nations, the top leagues in each country account for over 425 teams. For the teams on this map to rise to the top, they had to overcome a lot of competition! (Especially in the case of the UK in particular, some downgraded tier-two teams were included based on their overwhelming popularity in the States.)

American Favorite UEFA Football Teams Map

For this group, we also always pulled data from the search designation “Football club” to hone in on data pertaining specifically to the soccer teams themselves, based on whatever Google puts in its secret sauce on the backend of their amazing data engine.

America’s Top Ten Favorite European Soccer Teams: National View

It’s pretty clear in the map that some teams carry more weight than others across the entirety of the United States. Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, for instance, won Georgia, South Dakota, Virginia, Nebraska, North Carolina, Indiana, and North Dakota. This played no small part in elevating its overall popularity score to the top spot in the States across five years.

  1. Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga League, Germany)
  2. West Ham United F.C. (English Premier League, UK)
  3. Newcastle United F.C. (English Premier League, UK)
  4. Leicester City F.C. (English Premier League, UK)
  5. Nottingham Forest F.C. (English Premier League, UK)
  6. A.S. Roma (Serie A, Italy)
  7. Huddersfield Town A.F.C. (English Premier League, UK)
  8. Olympique Lyonnais (Ligue 1 Conforama, France)
  9. A.F.C. Bournemouth (English Premier League, UK)
  10. Sunderland A.F.C. (English Premier League, UK)

Boring Stuff… More on Our Method

If you’re curious how we pulled this data, you should know a few more things (some reiterated) that we took under advisement to try and get the cleanest, purest picture possible. 

We set the view to five years instead of just one. We already said this earlier, but it’s really worth driving home. Again, the wider window was meant to help flatten passive interest that inevitably arises with a championship win. Just because people are searching for a team, doesn’t mean they are fans, per se. The wider the window, the closer we can get to a flattened and prolonged view of fandom in each case. 

We primarily focussed on Europe’s top leagues for each individual country. Again, this was still a mind-bending 426 teams! In the case of England in particular, we did include some once top-tier teams that have since moved to tier-two, simply for their popularity in the US. 

Search isn’t necessarily popularity. Sure, sure, one can always make the argument that search doesn’t necessarily equate to popularity. People search for things they despise, don’t they? It’s not always a love affair! With that concession always on deck, we also believe Google Trends is aptly named in the sense that search at least reflects relative interest, for better or worse. At the very least, it’s a great tool for comparing behaviors.

Search is always changing. If you’re reading this post even a week after publication, data may change. Such are the whims of the people! Even as the data was pulled, we tightened up the window so it wasn’t changing right under our feet. Just as the will of fair-weather fans may bend and change with time, so will our search behaviors. 

Some countries and states never reach 100. Interest score is on a scale of 1-100 with 100 being peak interest. Some states and countries never reached 100, so in those instances, their declared winner achieved the highest score under 100.

Fans Run the World

It’s the fans that make the teams at the end of the day. We know this all too well at Custom Ink! So the question on everyone’s mind here is from where do you hail? And to whom do you owe your allegiance?

Marlon believes in the awesome power of storytelling and hopes to unify people with content that enriches lives. Even if it's a simple laugh, that's enough!

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