The college football season has finally arrived, and while not every team across the DMV region will be participating in the campaign, it won't change the strong rooting interests many have for their programs.
Working with Vivid Seats, NBC Sports Washington was able to explore the most popular college football program in each zip code of the DMV based on the purchasing of game tickets the previous season.
The full interactive map can be viewed here, but upon examining the results, there are some interesting takeaways about DMV fandom.
Local teams lead the way
This one isn't much of a surprise, but it does show that the DMV is committed to supporting its local programs, something you don't always see across the United States. Maryland and Virginia Tech's colors take up a majority of the map, showing where the states' allegiances lie. Even though the Terps have struggled in recent years, the supporters aren't shying away.
As for Virginia, there are splotches of fandom that put it as part of the core three, but it lacks in size compared to the other two. As the Cavaliers continue to build their program on the football field, there's a chance that could change.
Lastly, while West Virginia is not technically part of the DMV -- and locals will make sure to remind you of that -- the Mountaineers still have plenty of supporters in the area. Maryland and West Virginia were scheduled to play in 2020 prior to the coronavirus pandemic changing plans, and it's clear that the matchup would have drawn plenty of interest.
Fans in enemy territory
They may not even realize it, but Virginia, Virginia Tech and Maryland supporters could be neighbors with their rivals. The map showed small sections of the DMV that belong to fans of North Carolina, Clemson and Michigan State.
The ACC rivals make sense given their proximity to the area and national popularity, but the Michigan State one is slightly peculiar. Given that the D.C. region is a melting pot for fans of all schools, the Spartan faction does make some sense.
It is also plausible that the majority in that area could be due to a small number of fans purchasing tickets in the zip code. With no raw numbers, just a few Spartan tickets in a low purchasing area could have been enough to turn the section green.
Unfortunately for fans of the local teams, Clemson and Michigan State supporters do hold most of the bragging rights over their rivals at this point.
How did you get there?
Seeing those teams above is a little eye-opening, but there were other programs that appeared on the map that truly came out of the blue.
Did you expect to see Kansas, Oregon, Arizona and Tennessee appear on the map? Well, they did.
The small sample size could play a role again, but let's just chalk it up to the magic of college football. No matter where you live or who you are around, the loyalty for your school never wavers.