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What’s the difference between Alabama and Auburn fans? Income, education and more

The rabid fanbases for the state of Alabama’s two largest universities – the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers – sometimes seem like they have nothing in common. That’s not entirely true – they both root for football teams in the Yellowhammer State, and neither one misses playing the Iron Bowl at Legion Field.

But the two rival fan bases are actually quite different, according to data from the Center for Sports Analytics at Samford University. The Center analyzed data from marketing research firm SBRnet, which surveyed thousands of college football fans following the end of the 2021 season.

The findings revealed several key differences between the Alabama and Auburn fanbases, including income, demographic characteristics and more.

Gender divide

One of the biggest differences, according to the SBRnet data, was in the gender makeup of each fanbase.

[Can’t see the chart? Click here.]

Roughly 63% of Alabama fans were men, according to the data. Meanwhile, about 60% of Auburn fans were women, making Auburn one of just a small handful of SEC teams with a female-majority fanbase.

Alabama’s overall fanbase is much larger than Auburn’s – according to the data, Alabama sported roughly 4.1 million fans in 2021, compared to Auburn’s 2 million. But Auburn has 1.2 million female fans, which is almost equal to Alabama’s 1.5 million.

Age difference

Darin White, head of the Center for Sports Analytics at Samford, said Auburn fans also tend to be older than Alabama fans, with an average age of 49.2, or slightly older than the average for all college football fans, at 48.6. Meanwhile, Alabama fans had a younger average age of 46.1 years, driven by a large number of Gen Z fans.

Alabama had more than 700,000 Gen Z fans in 2021, making it the single most popular team among college football fans in that generation.

Household income

Auburn fans make more money than Alabama fans. Or, at least, a lot of them do. Nearly 50% of Auburn fans enjoyed a household income of at least $100,000 per year, compared to just 35% of Alabama fans.

[Can’t see the chart? Click here.]

Alabama fans were more likely to see household income between $50,000 and $99,000, with 36% of Crimson Tide fan households falling within that range, compared to 27% of Tigers fans. The gaps between the two fanbases got smaller at lower income levels.

Education level

Auburn fans are much more likely to have attended college.

Alabama fans who did go to college are a little more likely to go to grad school. Roughly 20% of Crimson Tide fans listed some post graduate work or degree as their highest level of educational attainment, compared to just 17% of Auburn fans.

But 85% of Auburn fans had at least some college, compared to just 71% of Alabama fans.

[Can’t see the chart? Click here.]

Fantasy Football?

Perhaps a surprising difference between the two fanbases is that one was far more likely to participate in fantasy football.

Neither fanbase saw overwhelming participation in fantasy sports, but Auburn fans were much more likely to play, especially in daily and short-term fantasy contests. Around 14% of Auburn fans played fantasy sports, compared to just 6% of Alabama fans.

And there are more differences between Alabama and Auburn fans. Stay tuned for more data detailing the difference between the bitter rivals soon.

AL.com in partnership with the Center for Sports Analytics at Samford University conducted an analysis of college football fans. All analysis is based on a nationwide survey of 6,426 sports fans in the US conducted in January, 2022 by marketing research firm SBRnet.

Do you have an idea for a data story about Alabama? Email Ramsey Archibald at [email protected]and follow him on Twitter @RamseyArchibald. Read more Alabama data stories here.

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