America's pastime remains a cherished tradition in all pockets of the U.S.
People continue to come together through the shared experience of catching an MLB game.
Baseball has changed a good deal since its first-ever game in 1846, but this much remains true: Spending a warm summer night or a crisp fall evening at the ballpark, cheering for one's favorite team, is a sports ritual that remains strong.
Vivid Seats explores America's rooting interests by identifying the most popular MLB team in each county. Our map is shaded in with the color corresponding with that county's most popular team. The map is based on Vivid Seats' ticket data from 2018-present, and excludes spring training and postseason ticket sales.
The Braves have a unique history cultivating a fan base: Their regular broadcasts on TBS helped introduce them to baseball fans across the country throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Their television history—coupled with a relative lack of competition in other main Southern cities—leaves the Braves as the most popular team in the region and the team claiming the title of "most popular" in the most counties.
In total, 459 counties favor the Braves. The Cardinals—with a stranglehold on Missouri, southern Illinois and Arkansas—are second with 307 counties.
The cities of Seattle, Denver and Minneapolis form a massive triangle of land with an eclectic MLB rooting interest (and no MLB team of its own).
The further away from any of those cities that one looks—toward southeastern Idaho, Montana and the western Dakotas—the more tangled rooting interests become.
Take Lemhi County in Idaho, located 625 miles from Seattle, 800 miles from Denver and 1200 miles from Minneapolis. The top team there? The defending NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers. To its immediate west, Valley County favors the Red Sox. These are sparsely populated counties, located far away from major league stadiums. No team has a particularly strong foundation of support.
The Oakland Athletics are the only team without at least one county on the map. They face stiff competition across the bay from the San Francisco Giants, who have won the World Series three times this decade.
It’s also possible that Giants fans are moving to the East Bay to enjoy a less expensive cost of living. The Dodgers vs. Padres fan bases square off in SoCal among National League team, with the Angels also claiming a stronghold.
Perhaps you can call it the Fenway Effect. Or maybe it's the presence of former Massachusetts residents who've escaped to the Sunshine State for a warmer climate. Or perhaps it's a testament to the team's popularity as defending World Series champions.
It's not entirely clear why, but the Red Sox are the top team in two Florida counties: Levy and Bradford, located along Florida’s Gulf Coast.
The Angels enjoy a spattering of counties across seven states. They dominate their home turf of Orange County, Calif., and claim territory in Texas, Idaho, Utah, Mississippi, Minnesota and Nevada.
This could be a testament to the fact that the team has two of the most interesting stars in the game: outfielder Mike Trout and two-way player Shohei Ohtani.
Trout, just 27 and already a two-time MVP winner, has drawn comparisons to legendary Yankees outfield Mickey Mantle, while Ohtani’s ability to both pitch and hit at a major league level has attracted international attention.
The warm weather of Southern California could make Anaheim an attractive vacation destination for MLB fans in other states. Angels Stadium being four miles from Disneyland further adds to its appeal.