The Marketing Bowl: Packers vs. Steelers

Two storied franchises will collide in this year’s Super Bowl, the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sports fans from both markets are huge supporters of their football teams, but a look into their behavior and attitudes reveals passions beyond a one-dimensional Cheesehead or Towel Twirler. Considering the vast preferences, marketers recognize the need to define characteristics that truly distinguish their target audience.

To provide those insights, we conducted a detailed market analysis using a wide variety of data sources including research information from Experian Simmons, Hitwise, and the Mosaic Consumer Lifestyle segmentation solution, which defines the predominant household types for each area (as featured in yesterday’s post: Cheeseheads vs. Terrible Towels). Today, we delve further into the hearts and houses of Green Bay and Pittsburgh area residents.

Green Bay area residents are more passionate about tailgating compared to their rivals in Pittsburgh. Among those who identify themselves as NFL football fans, Green Bay fans are 1.45 times more likely than Pittsburgh fans to have participated in a tailgate party within the past 12 months. They are also better equipped to tailgate due to a higher ownership rate for midsize SUVs, and both light duty and full size pickups (Road & Track magazine top-rated picks for tailgating), compared to Pittsburgh fans.


With every tailgate comes a beverage of choice, and in today’s analysis we’ve found that Bud Light and Budweiser are the light/low calorie and regular domestic brands of beer favored the most by both Green Bay and Pittsburgh fans. However, Pittsburgh fans are 1.56 times more likely than Green Bay fans to down a few of premium brand, Stella Artois. Notably, along with its best selling brands, Anheuser-Busch plans to devote a portion of its multi-million dollar ad spend to this Belgian import.


While all that tailgating is going on, Green Bay fans might also be boasting about their latest fantasy sports selections. They are 1.34 times more likely to say that they participate in a fantasy sports league compared to Pittsburgh fans. That’s not to say that Pittsburgh fans don’t enjoy their fantasy sports, indexing above the national average for visiting fantasy sports and football websites.


Packers and Steelers fans enjoy being out in the elements, so chances are you’ll probably never see a dome over either Lambeau or Heinz Field. The most popular Green Bay football fan activities, with a higher participation rate compared to Pittsburgh fans, are: golfing, camping, state fairs, hunting, power boating and motorcycling. In the Pittsburgh area, with its impressive network of recreational trails, residents are 1.23 times more likely to in-line/roller skate and are 1.36 times more likely to play hockey, compared to Green Bay. Off land analysis shows that despite Green Bay residents’ close proximity to Lake Michigan and a multitude of water sport opportunities, Pittsburgh fans are more likely to spend time on the water, namely: canoeing, kayaking, sailing, and fly fishing.


Each year Super Bowl advertisers try to reach their audiences across broadly defined demographics with little ability to measure the direct impact of their super-sized investments. It’s the equivalent of throwing a “Hail Mary” and hoping the receiver will leap above the clutter of defenders and catch the ball. Direct marketers, however, are using the behavioral and attitudinal data we’ve shared here to deliver their messages to a precisely targeted sub-audience. For marketers who want to be relevant and target accurately, this capability is the playmaker that scores a game winning touchdown every time.

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Blog post author: Bill Schneider, VP, Experian Marketing Services.

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