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Twitter empowers Premier League with fan map

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MUMBAI: The social media platform Twitter has been more helpful than just generating social conversations. It has been useful in understanding drivers of various sports properties in areas like cricket and football. Now with the Twitter fan map, the 20 Premier League clubs can view their fans’ locations by a detailed global breakdown of their followers.

As each country divides municipalities differently (counties, states, territories, etc.), Twitter has employed a technique called hexagonal binning, which divides the map into equally-sized hexagons, like a honeycomb, so you can see fandom by region instead of treating each country as one big region. 

Below are a few Asia, UK and global trends that have been collated:

The Asian split:

The outlook is different in Asia, where Manchester United takes a strong grip on India and Pakistan, while battling with @ChelseaFC for control of football-mad Malaysia and Indonesia. @LFC fare slightly less well in those countries but bounce back with a big lead in Thailand. Meanwhile, @Arsenal taste success in Japan, South Korea and The Philippines.

UK: Old order remains

A glance at the UK map shows that Liverpool (@LFC) dominates. There are pockets of red (Manchester United, @ManUtd) and yellow (Arsenal – @Arsenal), but green is most prevalent, spreading from Merseyside north to Scotland, south towards London and into Wales and Ireland.

@LFC@ManUtd and @Arsenal have 51 top-division titles between them, and that historic success shines through.

Gunners take London: There are six Premier League teams in London, but one stands apart from the rest in terms of Twitter followers: @Arsenal. Not only do the Gunners have more followers in their own locale of Highbury and Islington, but they also edge out arch-rivals Tottenham (@SpursOfficial) and @ChelseaFC in their backyards. Crystal Palace (@CPFC) also see their home turned Arsenal yellow, while West Ham (@WHUFC_official) and Queens Park Rangers (@QPRFC) are shaded out by Liverpool green.

Manchester City (@MCFC), meanwhile, win one valuable territory in the centre of Manchester, amid a sea of @ManUtd red.

Derby day: Football centres around traditional rivalries and four of the biggest in the Premier League end with home wins. North London is very much red with @Arsenal getting the better of @SpursOfficial; The Merseyside derby sees @LFC overcome @Everton on this occasion; The battle in Manchester sees the red of @ManUtd sink the blue of @MCFC; In the Midlands it is @AVFCofficial that take ownership of Birmingham at the expense of West Brom (@wbafcofficial); And it’s @NUFC that claim the northeast with more territory than bitter rivals @SunderlandAFC.

Player power: In many countries, Premier League allegiance appears to be related to, at least in part, the presence of local players. That’s evident for Suarez and Sanchez in Uruguay and Chile, and also for Edin Dzeko (@EdDzeko) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Manchester City takes a rare first place.

Off the pitch: What other factors, beyond the more obvious ones such as player affiliation and geographical impact, could influence a team’s fan base?

A few other interesting connections from the report are as follows:

· @Arsenal break @ChelseaFC’s dominance in the Middle East by edging ahead in United Arab Emirates, which is home to their stadium and kit sponsors, Emirates Airline (@emirates).

· @QPRFC hugely outperforms their average Twitter follower ranking in Malaysia, where they are seventh. Malaysian entrepreneur and the club chairman Tony Fernandes may have something to do with this.

· Last word goes - as it often does in the football world - to Roman Abramovich. The Russian businessman owns @ChelseaFC, which leads with fans across Russia and the former Soviet countries.

Each view of the interactive map can be Tweeted or embedded by clicking either the ‘Tweet this view’ or ‘Embed this view’ buttons at the top of the screen.

The interactive map has been built by Twitter’s visualisation scientist Krist Wongsuphasawat, to discover which teams dominate each country, and where loyalties lie at a district-level in the United Kingdom.

The map was created by looking at the official Twitter accounts for each team, using their followers as an indicator of allegiance (as opposed to, say, instances in which people mention a team while watching an interesting matchup or talking about a team’s rival).

The primary view shows at a glance, which teams dominate each country around the world:

Finding ones club: Discover how a club fares in each country. Use the ‘Zoom to’ function in the right-hand corner of the map to instantly explore your club’s presence in any given country.

Compare clubs: Pick any two teams and compare where they have their biggest density of followers. Compare local rivals such as Arsenal and Chelsea FC who face each other in a London derby this Sunday.

Most popular clubs: Use the dropdown menu to determine who the most popular clubs are in an area of your choice.

UK: This is the only view where you can zoom right in, region-by-region, to discover a breakdown of where loyalties lie at a local UK level.

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