Outkick the Coverage’s 25 Most Popular Cities for 2012

As we continue to roll out the data from Outkick the Coverage’s first year in business, here’s a roster of our 25 largest cities for both desktop and mobile. I haven’t broken these cities down on a per capita basis so these are just raw visit numbers that all come from Google Analytics. The Google Analytics data isn’t flawless, but I think it’s accurate enough to give a strong indication of where y’all are reading the site from. 

It’s not a suprise that Nashville is our top market since it’s my hometown and our 3HL show airs on 104.5 the Zone, which is the nation’s highest rated sports talk station. (By the way, I just Tweeted out this link, but if you ever listen to sports talk radio you have to read an oral history from Grantland of the nation’s first all sports station — WFAN. It’s truly amazing.)  So Nashville at the top was no surprise, but if you’ve ever wondered what kind of punch Texas A&M and Missouri will bring to the SEC, just scan the list of OKTC’s top markets.

Three of our top ten markets are in Texas and St. Louis and Kansas City are both in our top 17 markets.

Now is that a perfect approximation of fan interest? Of course not, but it does suggest that there’s an awful lot of fervent fans that can’t wait for SEC football to get rolling. It’s also pretty good evidence that the SEC has added a huge number of fans for the foreseeable future. After all, there are 31 million people living in Texas and Missouri, the entire SEC population before expansion was just 50 million.

So OKTC would like to humbly thank the SEC for expanding. Our site traffic eagerly looks forward to your teams in Virginia and North Carolina. Also, to forestall the, “That’s just because of expansion emails,” the traffic has been pretty consistent from those locations, not just spiking for expansion news alone.   

So let’s dive in to the top 25 data here. 

It’s worth noting that I didn’t include smaller suburban areas that register as different towns. For instance Franklin and Murfreesboro, I considered to be Nashville, just like I did Mountain Brook in Birmingham. The same was true of the “North Metro” region that encapsulates suburban Atlanta. 

With that in mind, I do want to give a nod to Huntsville, Alabama which on a per capita basis might be the top OKTC market in the country. It’s a small city, but our traffic there is amazing. 

Now let’s hit the top 25.

Here are OKTC’s 25 most popular markets:

1. Nashville

2. Atlanta

3. Birmingham

4. Houston

5. Knoxville

6. New York City

7. Dallas

8. Charlotte

9. Chicago

10. Austin

These top ten markets represent about 25% of our overall traffic. So there’s no one city that is dwarfing the others. We’re pretty well spread out. When I launched OKTC I thought that five cities would form our base: Nashville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Knoxville, and Memphis and that those cities would represent a large percentage of our overall traffic. The resulting traffic has actually been much broader than that.  

11. Washington, D.C.

12. Memphis

13. Baton Rouge

14. St. Louis

15. New Orleans

16. Lexington, Kentucky

17. Kansas City

18. Columbia, South Carolina

19. Little Rock, Arkansas

20. Raleigh, North Carolina

21. San Franciso

22. San Antonio

23. Chattanooga, Tennessee

24. Los Angeles

25. Columbus, Ohio

In late February I launched the OKTC mobile site which is becoming increasingly popular each month. Even if, as I told y’all yesterday, we’re actually not making any ad dollars off that site yet. Indeed, I think we’ll hit 50% mobile site traffic this year. If I regularly wrote on weekends we might already be there.

So what are those top 25 mobile markets and how do they compare to the non-mobile visitors?

Here were OKTC’s top 25 mobile markets:

1. Charlotte

2. Nashville

3. Atlanta

4. Chicago

5. Dallas

6. New York City

7. Houston

8. Miami

9. Lexington, Kentucky

10. San Antonio

11. Washington, D.C.

12. Austin

13. St. Louis

14. Birmingham

15. Knoxville

16. Baton Rouge

17. Orlando

18. New Orleans

19. Omaha, Nebraska

20. Philadelphia

21. San Franciso

22. Los Angeles

23. Memphis

24. Louisville

25. Little Rock

… 

Many of these cities are close to the same on mobile and non-mobile, but I bolded the markets that appear on the mobile site and don’t appear on the non-mobile lists. The biggest drop-off? Birmingham, which is our third largest desk-top market but plummets to number 14 on the mobile. (Insert Alabama smartphone joke here). Knoxville also plummets from five to 15 on the smartphone. 

Charlotte, on the other hand, just our ninth top desktop market absolutely kills on OKTC mobile traffic, surging to number one. In fact, I can track mobile and desktop traffic instantaneously on Google analytics and Charlotte is always number one on mobile. Always. 

The easy read on the mobile lists is that the percentage of young, highly educated professionals skews higher in cities like Charlotte, Chicago, and Miami — all much higher on the mobile lists — and lower in places like Birmingham. But this isn’t completely true because why would Austin, for example, rank lower in mobile than it does in desktop?

Anyway, the most amazing thing about Charlotte is that the per capita numbers shouldn’t skew that much in its favor. If, for instance, New York City had been number one in mobile that would have made sense.

But Charlotte isn’t much bigger than Nashville and it’s much smaller than Atlanta. 

Yet as soon as I hit publish on this article, Charlotte will flood OKTC from mobile devices.  

I wrote about the difficulties of mobile advertising yesterday, but after receiving emails and talking with others in the industry who are much smarter than me about the business of ad sales I think the difficulty of mobile ad sales is, if anything, underrated.

This is a potential cataclysm, particularly for newspapers which are just getting used to the tremendous drop off in digital advertising for banner ads. Now they’re about to drive off another cliff in mobile ads. I’m going to write more about this in the future, but the difficulty of monetizing mobile site traffic is a tremendous threat to online writers, sports and otherwise. It’s not getting much attention yet because I suspect most sites still aren’t seeing high enough mobile readership yet, but within the next few years the majority of online readers will be accessing articles through mobile devices. 

Anyway, thanks to readers from these top 25 markets and beyond. 

OKTC’s geographic reach is much more expansive than I thought it would be. Thanks to y’all for making that true. And to Lauren Tannehill for being Lauren Tannehill.  

Now, back to vacation in Michigan — which is glaringly absent from all visitor lists. 

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