Legendary Yankees closer Mariano Rivera may be known for sauntering to the mound to Metallica's foreboding "Enter Sandman," but it's the fans of the National League club to the south in Queens who dig metal bands. That's one of the tidbits gleaned by ad-intelligence outfit Exponential Interactive, which tracked 1.3 million baseball fans gearing up for the season last month online.
People who root for the New York Mets are also more likely to work in construction than fans of other teams, according to the Exponential data. It's a portrait not unlike the stereotype of the blue-collar Mets fan.
People who checked out Yankees-related content online also appear to fit some stereotypes associated with fans of the team with the highest payroll. They are more likely to earn $250,000 or more annually -- more than fans of any other Major League ball club. And, as superstar second baseman Robbie Cano signs with novice agent Jay Z -- whose hip-hop tune "Empire State of Mind" has become somewhat of a Yankees anthem -- it comes as no surprise they are more likely to appreciate rap music. They're also 24 times more likely to seek information on tax preparation, according to the tax- and spring-training-season study.
"We're basically looking at correlation, and looking to see what traits are different between those groups -- how can we tell them apart?" said Bryan Melmed, director of insights services at Exponential. "Our system identifies the most characteristic trait, not the preponderant one," he said.
Fans of the Atlanta Braves are 67 times more likely than the rest of the population to show interest in teeth whitening, and 112 times as likely to be interested in sunscreen, say the Exponential numbers. (When this reporter visited Atlanta's Turner Field last season it poured rain that wreaked havoc on RA Dickey's knuckleball.)
In addition to its own tracking data, Exponential incorporated outside data sets such as aggregated online purchase information from Datalogix.
Up the Atlantic coastline, fans of another NL East club, The Washington Nationals, stand out as intelligent, young and single -- a combo almost as winning as Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. Exponential figures the fact that they're 39 times as interested in telescopes and eight times more likely to be involved in online dating puts them in the youthful, brainy and unattached categories.
Exponential did not simply peg people as fans of a team if they visited its official site or player stats -- not an uncommon activity in March, when baseball fantasy leaguers diligently research draft-pick candidates. Instead, the firm removed random, mass users looking at content about many teams. It also stripped out people who checked out team info only once. (Celeb gossip hounds who read about Orel Hershiser "rocking his 1988 World Series ring" on TMZ probably didn't make the cut.) Instead, Mr. Melmed and his team tracked only people who visited information about a certain team repeatedly, or bought team merch.
They also limited the study pool to people living in the team's city or state. (Sorry, Cardinals fans and transplants.)
The analysts also avoided observing commonalities among baseball fans; the majority are white males, for instance. Of course, Exponential analyzes marketing data to help its clients understand and target key groups of consumers, so a takeaway would be for a dating site to target Nats fans or Beltway staffers. And, it may be easier now to target baseball fans online. MLB Advanced Media is building more refined audience segments for ad targeting using third-party data and data collected on its 30 ballclub sites using BlueKai's data management platform.
More from the Exponential research: Chicago White Sox followers are nine times more likely to check out home security systems online which could be related to the city's notoriously high murder rate.
Out west, Seattle Mariners fans are 31 times more interested in pet insurance and 44 times more into zombie flicks.