Foursquare Habits of NFL FansDid you know that less than 1% of NFL fans that attended games checked-in to Foursquare during the 2010-2011 NFL season? With the kick-off of the 2011-2012 season I wanted to take a look back at the Fousquare habits of NFL fans during game days.

Because of my interest in the use of location based services, and specifically Foursquare, I set out to track the check-in habits of fans across the four major sports leagues; the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL.

This infographic (high-res PDF) represents the data collected throughout the 2010-2011 NFL season, specifically tracking check-ins from two-hours before game time through the final whistle.

Because each NFL venue has different seating capacities I am also reporting on how many Foursquare check-ins happened per thousand fans at the games. Tracking this data point allowed me to normalize the data and rank the teams beyond total check-ins. This will also allow me to compare the use of Foursquare across all four sports leagues.


While my Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XLV, it was another team entirely that found itself at the top of the Foursquare check-in list. Here are some of my findings:

  • The majority of check-ins happened before halftime with a full 40% happening at the start of the 1st quarter.
  • While the Washington Redskins saw some falsified check-ins (see below) they had the most check-ins during the regular season, the highest weekly average and the most check-ins per thousand NFL fans in attendance.
  • Assuming the Redskins falsifications:
    • The New York Jets averaged the most Foursquare activity per week, at 280 check-ins.
    • The Atlanta Falcons had the highest Foursquare check-ins per thousand fans in attendance at 3.96.
  • Wisconsin knows how to tailgate and I had hoped Green Bay fans would represent the most active pre-game check-ins but the tailgating at Lambeau Field didn’t stack up against the New York Giants fans who averaged 177 check-ins two hours prior to kick-off.


At the start of the NFL season last September Foursquare had just marched past three million registered users and by the end of the season the service saw it’s registered users double to just over six million. Did Foursquare’s growth drive additional weekly check-ins by the end of the season? The data I collected doesn’t necessarily suggest a large jump in fan usage.

The data does suggest that partnerships with Foursquare will increase awareness. The data collected heavily favors the Washington Redskins. Because the Redskins were the first NFL team to launch a campaign with Foursquare the team consistently saw more Foursquare activity than the other 31 NFL teams.

It should be noted that there were many falsified check-ins to unlock the both from the USA and abroad to unlock the official Redskins badge. Specifically, it appears that there were a high level of check-ins from Indonesia.

In all, I attempted to accurately track Foursquare check-ins for all 256 home games during the season. Unfortunately due to downtime with the Foursquare API the data represents 251 of those games.

All of the data was collected using the Foursquare API and while tracking near-live data from the NFL. Average 2010 home attendance of each NFL team was acquired through data provided by ESPN and Wikipedia.

2011-2012 Update

Data collection from the first week of the 2011-2012 NFL season suggests a very large increase in Foursquare usage on game day. In fact, the Green Bay Packers who never saw more than 169 check-ins last year nearly saw 20% more Foursquare check-ins over last season’s highest activity during their Thursday kick-off.

The New York Jets saw an even greater increase. With 604 check-ins, their opening game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday evening saw a 44% increase in Foursquare check-ins over their highest activity from last season.

For a complete week one update, see my latest post.

So where does your favorite NFL team rank? Did you check-in to Foursquare at the stadium last year? Do you use Foursquare at any sporting events? Please leave any feedback in the comments below.

Disclaimer: All NFL logos, conference names and team names are copyrights and trademarks of the NFL and/or their respective entities and teams. All other site names, brand names and product names used within this graphic and accompanying posts should be assumed trademarks, registered trademarks or service marks of their respective holders.