SEATTLE -- Here in Seattle, people love the Seahawks. Everywhere you look there are 12th Man flags, Hawks T-shirts and blue-and-green decorations. The team's playoff tickets sold out in less than 30 minutes. Fans love Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch and the whole Seahawks squad.
Outside of Seattle, it's a different story. In fact, the Seahawks have become one of those NFL teams people love to hate.
We've seen plenty of anecdotal evidence of such a regional difference in sentiment toward the Hawks. But a recent analysis by two professors in Emory University's sports-marketing program has found that, at least on Twitter, the out-of-market Seahawks hatred is very real.
"The Seattle Seahawks have the biggest difference between how positively they are perceived in their home market versus outside their home market," wrote Emory's Mike Lewis and Manish Tripathi.
And it's not just something that's been going on since the Seahawks became one of the top NFL teams this season - it's according to millions of tweets that mention NFL teams from June 2009 through Jan. 1, 2014.
"A deeper look at tweets mentioning the Seahawks seems to indicate that in the Seattle area, the Seahawks are beloved on Twitter due to the fact that they have been winning over the past few years, and because of outspoken personalities like Richard Sherman," Lewis and Tripathi wrote. "These same factors seem to be driving much of the hate for the Seahawks on Twitter outside of Seattle."
U mad, bro?
According to the Emory data (see chart), the Seahawks are hated outside of their market barely more than the Kansas City Chiefs and - gasp! - the Dallas Cowboys. Next are the Green Bay Packers, who are so loved in Wisconsin that their abundant out-of-market fanhood is overshadowed by crazy local Cheeseheads.
On the other end of the spectrum, the San Diego Chargers are seen the most positively by out-of-market football fans compared to fans in their own backyard. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos also scored low in local sentiment, with more criticism on Twitter coming from home rather than away.
To read about the methodology of the analysis, check out the report on Emory's Sports Marketing Analytics blog.