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How the Green Bay Population Base Compares to Others

Yesterday we ran part one of a four-part series analyzing NFL teams based on the sizes of their Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) – you might want to reference it. Green Bay was of course the anomaly. Of the 32 NFL cities, the bottom four were: Jacksonville (40th largest MSA), New Orleans (46th), Buffalo (50th), and our beloved Green Bay: 157th.

Looking just at MSA populations is of course a great oversimplification. Some teams, particularly those in the west, such as the Broncos and the Seahawks, claim the allegiance of multiple neighboring states that have no NFL teams.

Additionally, many teams, and particularly those in California and along the eastern seaboard, have nearby cities that also have NFL teams. For examples, Baltimore is only 39 driving miles from Washington D.C., San Diego is only 121 miles from Los Angeles, and Oakland is only 12 miles from San Francisco. This helps explain why Oakland and San Diego have just lost (or are about to lose) their teams.

Some teams have the allegiance of an entire state or region, such as the Packers, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans, and New England Patriots.

Several teams also have more than one MSA within about 150 miles of the team’s home city. The chart below gives some examples of teams with sizable neighboring MSAs (including MSA ranking, population in millions, and population percentage change from 2010 to 2016). Note: the driving distance from Milwaukee to Green Bay is 119 miles, and it’s 136 miles from Madison to Titletown.

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Some MSAs Bigger Than Green Bay

For comparison purposes, here are several MSAs that are bigger than Green Bay’s, which ranks 157th and contains 318,236 people according to the 2016 estimate.

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What the hell is happening in Des Moines? A million people in the Grand Rapids MSA? Kalamazoo, bigger than Green Bay?

Check back tomorrow for part three: Cities Most Likely to Gain or Lose an NFL Team

Rob Born

Someone else said it first but I popularized it: “Athleticism is important in athletic pursuits.” It took three years, but the Packers finally listened. My new mantra: “Trading down is fine, but never trade up.”