The Most Popular Athlete By State … If This Was ‘Risk’, LeBron Would Be Winning

  • Rick Chandler

So who is the most popular athlete in your state? According to this data, based on average monthly Google search queries, my state’s most popular athlete is Kobe Bryant. Yes I live in California, and I suspect most of the Google searches were from people wondering if Bryant would be playing that night.

Peyton Manning rules the Rocky Mountian states, plus Indiana and Tennessee, natch; and Adrian Peterson has built himself a Winterfell in the north. But if this were a game of Risk, LeBron James would be winning. By my count he’s the most popular in 27 states, plus Irktusk. He’s the most popular athlete in Arizona, Utah and Idaho, for Pete’s sake: he sweeps most of the south (except Texas), the eastern seaboard and, yes, Ohio. Still.

Surprises on this map, compiled by Andrew Powell-Morse of the Best Tickets Blog:

* Tiger Woods is most popular in only one state: Vermont. Wait, Vermont?

* Tom Brady presides over four states, among them Maine.

* LeBron is most popular in Alaska.

* Hawaii? Manti T’eo. Yep.

Overall, LeBron is the most popular athlete in the nation, with 1,830,000 monthly searches. Kobe (1,500,000) is second and Floyd Mayweather third (1,220,000) … this despite the fact that the NFL is by far the most popular sport. And UFC is represented (Anderson Silva is tied for fourth at a million searches).

Most popular position in all of sports? Quarterback. Most popular team? One might think it would be the Seahawks, but no … the Denver Broncos. (America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys, finished a distant sixth).

Here’s a tough one: which is the nation’s most popular NHL team? Mull that one and hit one of the links above for the answer if you get brain freeze.

So what does this all mean? Probably that as a nation we’re more homogenized that we thought. The fact that LeBron is the most popular in both Georgia and Alaska is rather remarkable. And Peyton Manning should probably charge more for endorsements — he’s the most popular in every state he’s touched.

Also … no Tim Tebow. Anywhere. How quickly they forget.