Over the last decade and a half, the New England Patriots have proven to be a dynasty that cannot be beat. Four Super Bowl wins have been added to the team’s credit since 2001, when – following a 0-2 start and a late season start due to 9/11 – reserve quarterback Tom Brady rallied his team following starter Drew Bledsoe’s injury to a 11-5 record and an unexpected Super Bowl win. The Patriots have come to define American football in the new millennium.
The team is known for being one of the perennial powerhouses for the league. Since 2001, the Patriots have won the AFC East 12 times and the AFC six times and have made the playoffs every year since 2001 except for 2002 and 2008. On top of this, Brady and head coach Bill Belichick are assured to be voted into the NFL Hall of Fame, and Brady regularly tops the list of America’s favorite quarterback.
Love them or hate them, the Patriots are the current face of the NFL and the team to beat.
In New England, more than anywhere else, the Patriots rule. According to the Facebook Data Science team’s 2014 NFL American fandom map, the Patriots are “liked” the most of any NFL team by Facebook users in the six New England states (Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island) – with the notable exception of the Stamford and New Haven areas, which favor the New York Giants. This brand allegiance translates to an average of 68,756 fans attending the home games at Gillette Stadium for 2014 – which gives the Patriots one of the best attendance levels per capita and the best merchandising market in the league.
For New Englanders, the NFL is the Patriots.
Understanding Patriots Country
Although the team was once the Boston Patriots, the most devout New England Patriots fans are not necessarily from Boston. Interpreting the merchandise purchasing patterns of Patriots fans in New England by zip code reveals that the highest concentration of purchasers per capita occurs within the Boston Metropolitan Area, with suburban zip codes 02110, 02210, and 02109 having the highest rates.
In the truest sense, New England is Patriots Country, with pockets of financially committed Patriots fans located in areas other than Boston. According to real estate blog Estately, which analyzed Facebook data to determine where the most enthusiastic Patriots fans lived, Warwick, Rhode Island, topped the list with 29.73%, followed by Fall River, Massachusetts; Haverhill, Plymouth, and Brockton, Massachusetts; and Cranston, Rhode Island. Boston came 21st on the list with a 16.17% enthusiasm rating.
The Patriots play in Foxborough, Massachusetts – which, while technically a part of the Greater Boston area, is actually closer to Providence, Rhode Island, than it is to Boston. It may be for this reason that the most devout Patriots fans live closer to Gillette Stadium.
Despite this, the zip codes with the highest concentration of Patriots’ purchasing power are affluent areas within Boston’s city limits or along the I-95 stretch between Providence and Boston.
Pinpointing Where Patriots Merchandise Buyers Live
A look at the areas that have the most merchandise sales per capita can cast light on what the average Patriots fan looks like. Zip code 02110 – which has the most Patriots merchandise buyers at 4.15 units per every 100 residents – is Boston’s Financial District and Waterfront, home to Long Wharf, Boston Harbor, and the New England Aquarium. The wealthiest zip code in the state, 02110 is second only to Connecticut’s 06831 for the highest average income in New England reported to the IRS, according to Experian.
The high level of fandom in this area is largely credited to many fans having fan gear orders delivered to their work address. As most deliveries occur during work hours and many apartment dwellers cannot easily accept residential package deliveries, at-work deliveries is a growing trend. According to Mitie – which runs mailrooms for corporate clients – the delivery of personal mail to work addresses has grown 20 percent over the last year to make up 30 to 40 percent of a typical business’s mail flow.
Another high concentration of business workers is in zip code 02210, which has the second-highest presence of Patriots merchandise buyers at 2.82 per 100 residents. This area is Boston’s Seaport District. While it doesn’t rank on Experian’s richest zip code list, the area is known for its affluent residents, with the average family making approximately $85,481 a year here. The third-highest presence, 02109, which consists of Boston’s North End, is – like 02210 – highly affluent with home prices reflecting the fact that most of Boston’s revolutionary past happened in this neighborhood.
This helps to explain why quarterback Tom Brady’s jersey was the best-selling for 2015. Support for Tom Brady from Patriots Country over his suspension fight helped to make Brady merchandise – including game jerseys, T-shirts, OYO Sports minifigures, Forever Collectibles bobbleheads, and Fatheads – the top-seller for fiscal year 2016.
Shop now for New England Patriots fan gear on Fanatics.
We looked at Fanatics merchandise sales data for every zip code in New England, and using the latest U.S. Census population numbers, we determined the number of units shipped to each zip code per 100 residents. We filtered this by looking only at zip codes that had at least 1,000 residents in the 2010 Census.