Green Bay, Pittsburgh are top online sports viewing markets

On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers are set to square off against the Washington Redskins at a time when the Packers offensive firepower is a open question. That said, one thing that few people question is Green Bay's passionate fanbase.

According to recent data, residents of Green Bay lead the way when it comes to online sports viewing. They are tied with another city with a dynasty team: Pittsburgh, which won an ugly Wild Card game on Saturday against its AFC North rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals.

Ad tech company Ooyala analyzed viewership in the top 15 major NFL markets that represent the biggest rivalries in the sport. The results: San Francisco tops Seattle. New England beats New York. Philadelphia also beats New York. Pittsburgh crushes Baltimore. Oakland beats Denver. (See more below.)

To be sure, there were more online viewers in New York than any other market, but as a share of overall viewing, New York fared low when it came to sports. Residents there had a broader set of interests.

Sports as % of all online viewing
Pittsburgh 69.4%
Green Bay 69.4%
Cleveland 68.3%
Cincinnati 66.9%
Boston 66.7%
Oakland 63.5%
San Francisco 60.4%
Seattle 60.2%
Philadelphia 58.7%
Denver 56.0%
Chicago 53.2%
Washington 52.5%
Dallas 52.3%
New York 38.5%
Baltimore 34.8%

On five Sundays analyzed earlier this season (Sept.13-Oct. 11), Green Bay and Pittsburgh residents spent almost 70 percent of their online video time watching sports. Two Midwest cities were very close behind: Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Some of Ooyala's customers have included ESPN, Fox Sports, Tennis Channel, Pac-12 Network, Univision and News Corp.

The online data allowed Ooyala to specify in detail the difference between Oakland residents and San Francisco residents. A lot of more traditional data measurements cannot differentiate the two, because both cities fall within the same television market.

Online viewing is clearly a bigger growth area now than traditional TV. Yahoo paid an estimated $20 million to live stream an NFL game. Verizon is spending $250 million per year to stream games on mobile phones. A lot of that money can be considered worthwhile spending, since advertising rates are often higher for online commercials than on traditional television.

This type of analysis is a snapshot into the future power of online advertising technology. It can help customers figure out exactly how online audiences behave. Higher advertising value means that content sellers (like the NFL) can charge more for their games. The specific levels of data allow for very specific customer targeting — getting the right message to the right viewer. It's much harder to do that on broadcast TV.

And if you're really interested, here is the exact data used to get those five-week averages: