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Study: Brooklyn Nets' fanbase (slightly) more diverse than any other in major league sports; Islanders (and hockey), not so much

"[T]he Brooklyn Nets have the most racially diverse fan base of any major U.S. sports team" and the NBA overall has the most diverse fan base, the data analysis company Morning Consult reported 9/10/20, in Demographic Data Shows Which Major Sports Fan Bases Are Most Likely to Support or Reject Social Justice Advocacy (h/t NetsDaily)

The study focused on those with a “very favorable” view of a team:
The NBA has by far the most racially diverse and left-leaning U.S. fan base of the four top team sports, according to the Brand Intelligence data: 54 percent of fans of the average NBA team are nonwhite and 42 percent identify as Democratic. The league is also widely regarded as a leader in leadership-backed athlete advocacy, and has leaned further into the fight against racial inequality than the other three leagues — actions that are largely supported by its fan base.
Interestingly, while "NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum said fan demographics are not a factor in the league’s willingness to weave advocacy into sports," surely that's part of it, given that the National Football League also has a large Black player base but fewer Black fans. Also, the NBA has more superstars, who have created their own fan and social media bases.

The Brooklyn Nets

According to the study, the Nets have slightly more diversity than some rival teams, with 40% white, 31% Black, 25% Hispanic, and 4% "other." The Houston Rockets, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers all had 41% white, with slightly smaller percentages of Black fans and, in all but one case, slightly more Hispanic fans.

We should take that ranking as more of a cluster than definitive, given that the footnote suggests a margin of error of up to 3%. Note that the New York Knicks have 45% white fans and 25% Black fans, likely a legacy of the team's deeper demographic reach into the suburbs.

Regarding politics

According to the study:
Among NBA teams, fans of the Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Washington Wizards and Brooklyn Nets are most likely to identify as Democrats. While none of the 30 NBA teams have a larger share of Republican fans than Democratic fans, the Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz are the closest to the center.
In this case, the Knicks are slightly "ahead" of the Nets, though the margin of error makes it hard to see a distinction. Both have 46% Democrats; the Knicks have 30% Independents, while the Nets have 29%, and the Nets have 25% Republicans, while the Knicks have 24%.

What about hockey?

According to the study:
The average NHL team’s fan base is both whiter and more Republican than that of the average team in the other three major team sports...
Three NHL teams have a larger share of Republican fans than Democratic fans — the Nashville Predators, Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars — while another five teams’ fans are evenly split between the two parties. Fans of the Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, San Jose Sharks and New York Islanders are the most likely in the NHL to identify as Democrats.
That of course reflects local demography and a history of hockey, a predominantly white sport that has not diversified much and which is not played much in southern states. 

NHL fans, on average, are 61% white and 14% Black, as noted in the top graphic. Both the New York Rangers and New York Islanders have a 58% white fan base, as noted in the graphic above right, with the Rangers having a 16% Black fans and the Islanders 15%. Interestingly, both have larger Hispanic fan bases, with the Rangers at 23% and the Islanders 24%.

Those are small but not neglible numbers for Black fans, leaving room for growth. Given that the Rangers, with a broader geographic base, have not had trouble selling out Madison Square Garden, they probably haven't pushed too much.

Hindsight suggests it might have been possible for the New York Islanders, marketed for a while by the Barclays Center operators, to increase their local fan base in diverse Brooklyn, even as the commute from Long Island deterred some of the suburban families that made up the team's historic fan base. They just didn't make it work.

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