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Denver vs. Seattle: The Super (Data) Bowl


data_bowl_newThis Sunday, the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks will compete in Super Bowl XLVIII.  But first, they face off in the Super Data Bowl, hosted by Social Explorer.

For this demographic challenge, we will assess the fandom, snackdom, and related measures of the teams' hometowns by using Census and American Community Survey (ACS) data.


The two cities are nearly tied in population size, making fan base strength a very competitive measure.  According to the 2012 ACS, Denver had 634,265 people while Seattle City had 634,541.  Will those extra 276 Seahawk fans make a difference on gameday?

Looking at the entire state populations, Washington has the advantage—with 6,897,012 residents it is 33 percent larger than Colorado (population 5,187,582).



With higher median incomes, Seahawk fans can afford more decadent Super Bowl snacks.  In 2012, the median household income in Seattle was $64,473, which is 28 percent higher than in Denver ($50,488—slightly less than the national median of $51,371).  If a household spent its entire income on Super Bowl tickets, Seattle residents could afford 5.2 more premium seats than Denver residents (premium ticket face value = $2,600).  

Historical Change:

Denver last appeared in the Super Bowl in 1997 and 1998, winning both years.  Since then, the population—and number of fans—has grown by 14.4 percent (76,629 people), according to the 2000 Census.  Meanwhile, median income has decreased by 7.6 percent ($4,134 inflation adjusted dollars).

Meanwhile, Seattle last appeared in the Super Bowl in 2006.  Since then, the population has also grown—12.8 percent (72,435 people)according to the 2006 Census.  Seattle also experienced a decline in median income, though milder3.2 percent ($2,162 inflation adjusted dollars).

Looking at the two cities compared to how the US population and income changed reveals more about how the two cities are doing relative to the rest of the nation.


New Jersey:

When the 82,000 football fans fill Metlife Stadium on Sunday, they will outnumber East Rutherford, NJ residents more than 9 to 1 in population.  By Monday, the town will be back to 8,909 residents, according to the 2008-12 ACS.   

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