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Week 11 : Which Team Do You Cheer For? An N.B.A. Fan Map
11-06-2014, 08:58 PM
Post: #1
Week 11 : Which Team Do You Cheer For? An N.B.A. Fan Map
Here is a map that indicates an NBA Fan Map.
“Which Team Do You Cheer For? An N.B.A. Fan Map”

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/...0002&abg=0

The map shows various Basketball teams like the Lakers, Knicks, Celtics, etc. and the regions where they have their fans. The map of USA and Canada is first divided into various states. Over that, a number of visual encodings have been applied to indicate the concentration of fans for each team.

The teams are represented by a color. Different levels of transparencies have been applied for each color as the fan strength radiates out of the core. Take for example the “Thunder” team represented in blue. They have a high concentration of fans in Oklahoma. At the center in Blaine County, they have the maximum percentage of fans (71%). As we move away from the center of fan concentration, we see the change in the shade of the color indicating the decrease in the fans for that team. The areas in white represent water bodies. If two teams have the same percentage of supporters, the color of the home team (or the team closest) is used as seen in Jackson County, Tennessee (has the same percentage of Heat and Lakers fans- 17%).

Things that work for me:
1. The mouse rollover is pretty good in this visualization, giving details of the fan percentage for not just the leading team in that area, but the two teams that follow as well. It also gives the name of the district and state over which the mouse hovers.
2. The color codes used for the map are pleasant and not too disturbing. I like the use of hues and transparencies to indicate the different levels of high fan percentages.
3. The zooming feature helps with the minute areas. This effect helps to better view the western parts of USA.
4. Having colors to represent teams helps with understanding the overall fan percentage for some of the big teams. Example, it is evident from the graph that the Lakers (represented in shades of lavender) have the largest fan base.

Thing that doesn't work for me:
1. The main concern for me is that there is no color legend to indicate the team each color represents.

Barring this one problem, I find this visualization quite effective, meeting its objective of representing the N.B.A fan percentage.
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11-06-2014, 09:17 PM
Post: #2
RE: Week 11 : Which Team Do You Cheer For? An N.B.A. Fan Map
I'd agree that overall the visualization is good at showing the geographic distribution of basketball fans. The biggest issue I can see is with regions of color that are separated from their 'source' team label, either by distance or by other regions. For instance, it's not entirely clear what's going on in northern Wisconsin/Michigan. Some counties have multiple colors in them where you can't zoom in any further, which is a little odd.

Colorblindness might be an issue, though the use of green is limited.

I think some indication of total population, and % of fans in that population might be interesting, but it's not vital to determine what the popular team is (if any).
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11-09-2014, 06:56 PM
Post: #3
RE: Week 11 : Which Team Do You Cheer For? An N.B.A. Fan Map
I agree with both of the previous comments. The visualization is very good at showing the distribution of basketball fans around the United States.

The mouse rollover worked very well showing the regional specifics. One critique I have of the visualization is the blank area's in Montana and the surrounding region. At first I thought no one in Montana liked basketball, but upon further inspection I realized they were Lakers fans.

I think a color legend would have been a major improvement, giving some insight without requiring the user to hover over a particular area.
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11-09-2014, 08:35 PM
Post: #4
RE: Week 11 : Which Team Do You Cheer For? An N.B.A. Fan Map
(11-06-2014 08:58 PM)varsha Wrote:  Thing that doesn't work for me:
1. The main concern for me is that there is no color legend to indicate the team each color represents.


I definitely understand this. My biggest complaint other than that has to do with the color saturation. We also have no idea what this means. We would venture that the more saturated the higher percentage of fans. What we do not know is what that percentage is. Since this was done using Facebook likes per zip code. One team could potentially only populate one small area of the map but because of population density could have more fans than any of the other teams. This is important and the visualization does not tell us this.
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11-09-2014, 09:53 PM (This post was last modified: 11-09-2014 09:55 PM by mathewa.)
Post: #5
RE: Week 11 : Which Team Do You Cheer For? An N.B.A. Fan Map
Overall, this visualization uses color well. Maybe this is by design, but it's more likely by luck.

If you didn't realize, the colors that are used for the visualization are one of the team's jersey colors. Of course, there are usually two jersey colors to select from. And in that sense, the designer choose colors that show distinct teams clearly. It just so happens that the colors contrast well. A lot of that may be because there are only two teams that are geographically widely popular: the LA Lakers, Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat.

One limitation of this vis is a better encoding of second most popular (or third most popular) team. The rollover is okay and will tell you which team is second most popular for that specific point. But how do I know how that spreads across the region. One idea might be a simple switch that shows 2nd and 3rd popularity. This would be especially useful in areas dominated by one team like the Celtics, Lakers or Heat.

The most glaring omission on this chart, which could be confusing to a non-fan, is the absence of a certain team. Currently there are 30 NBA teams, but only 29 teams are listed on the chart. Unless I am a fan, how would I know this missing team? The assumption would be that if a team exists it must be most popular in SOME area of the country. And that's true for 29 of the teams. But not for the LA Clippers. The Lakers dominate in the Los Angeles area. And so, one of the most vital pieces of information -- a team that is completely overshadowed -- is missing. Off the top of my head, I'm not sure how to encode this other than to put a label without any color. But then that goes back to the non-legend issue.

By the way, did you notice the zoom in feature? That's a nice touch because I can see the effect in counties and cities.
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11-09-2014, 10:17 PM
Post: #6
RE: Week 11 : Which Team Do You Cheer For? An N.B.A. Fan Map
I totally agree with the above comments. The visualization is quite effective in depicting the fan following of each teams geographically. I like the mouse roll over thing as it is quite informative. I also like the zooming thing.
The drawbacks :
1) The graph is too confusing without a color legend. I m was totally confused between the teams and their respective colors. The problem arises when we move away from the center of each teams.
2) Also there is no information about the color transparencies.
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