In particular, the differences between older and younger fans are fascinating.
January 23, 2023 by Jesse Weisz in Analysis with 0 comments
This article is part of a series intended to provide insights into disc golf fandom. These insights will come through analyzing a rich data set produced by the first-ever Ultiworld/StatMando fandom survey. Here are the other articles in this series:
The Survey Itself And Who Took It
Which Pros Do We Root For and Against
How Fans See Disc Golf: Part 1
How Fans See Disc Golf: Part 2
How Gender Affects Who We Root For
This article will examine how our height, introversion/extroversion, and birth year affect who we root for. For the survey, we had the opportunity to ask some offbeat questions and did so because we were looking for possible strange connections. The height breakdown of respondents was as follows:
- The spike in respondents who are exactly 6 feet tall is likely due to how the question was structured (open form); many people likely rounded their height to 6 feet. Next time we offer the survey we will have participants choose their height from a drop-down menu.
- We received a few befuddled comments from respondents asking why we wanted to know their height. I thought that McBeth would be more popular with shorter people than taller people. At 5’8″ he is often on cards with much taller players who seem to benefit from longer levers. Would shorter players relate more to McBeth and be his biggest fans?
I created two groups: 1) Male respondents who were 5’8″ or shorter, and 2) fans who were 6′ 1″ or taller. I did not include female fans as they skew shorter which could influence the results. We had a reasonable sample size for both groups: 224 respondents in the short category and 328 in the tall category. I then looked at the difference between the fandom scores for these two segments for these seven MPO players:
- Nope! There does not seem to be a much, if any, fandom score boost that short players get from shorter fans.
- McBeth averaged 0.14 fandom score points higher from short respondents compared to the tall respondents. That is the biggest gap of these seven players, but it is not a meaningfully large enough gap to support my hypothesis.
- Wysocki and Lizotte are both over 6 feet tall and also had ever so slightly higher scores with shorter fans.
- McMahon received a 0.42 and Heimburg received a 0.23 fandom score preference gap with tall fans. These are somewhat substantial differences. Buhr, a skyscraper of a young man, had barely any difference in short vs. tall preference.
Another way I looked at the question was to take the average height of respondents who said McBeth was their favorite player and then compare that to the average height of respondents who said these selected pros were their favorite player.
- These five players all had over 50 people who chose them as their favorite player.
- There is less than an inch of difference between the average heights of each player’s biggest fans. This is not a meaningful difference.
- McBeth fans are not, on average, shorter than fans of Wysocki and Lizotte.
- The overall average height of all fans was just under 5’11,” which was barely shorter than the average height of McBeth fans.
We asked respondents what their Myers-Briggs (MB) type is. We know it is a very flawed (perhaps useless) test and it would be difficult to get any sort of meaningful sample size, but my thought was — why not give it a shot? The only meaningful analysis I took away from the data was the introverted/extroverted data. Just over 1/3 of the respondents knew, or were willing to share, their MB type. Of the respondents that listed their MB type, 178 had an extroverted type and 368 had an introverted type. So roughly two-thirds of respondents who answered the question were introverted, according to their MB test. To put that in context, according to a YouGov poll, “one-third of Americans (32%) consider themselves more on the extroverted side of the spectrum, with 9% of these saying they are “completely extroverted.” Around half of Americans (52%) say they’re more introverted, with 12% calling themselves “completely introverted.”
Below are the disc golfers who had at least a 0.3 point difference between Extroverts and Introverts:
- Smith had the largest extroverted preference by far. If you have been reading each article in the series, you will have noticed that Smith keeps coming up as an outlier when viewing the data with different lenses. I am starting to think that he is the most polarizing player in the sport, and I don’t mean for that to have any negative connotation.
- Freeman, Robinson, and McBeth also seem to come up frequently in our biggest differential lists.
- The biggest introverted preference is for Blomroos, followed closely by King and Handley.
Next, let’s look at how birth year affects fandom scores. The birth year breakdown of the survey respondents was as follows:
I cross-referenced generation groups with average fandom scores. Millennials were the most prevalent generation group, with three times the number of respondents of any other generation group. As such, we divided the millennials into three subgroups, which provided a bit more precise information within that generation. Here is the first batch of MPO players:
- Most of these players, including McBeth, Wysocki, Locastro, and McMahon, received their highest average fandom scores from the oldest generation. Wysocki’s average fandom score shows a continuous decline as the generational groups get younger. It is interesting that McMahon, young and in his mid-20s, doesn’t have his highest fandom scores from millennials or Gen Z.
- Orum scored the lowest with the oldest generation despite being a veteran of the sport; Orum connected best with Gen X and Millennials.
- Some players, such as Heimburg, Dickerson, Lizotte, and Jones, saw little difference in average fandom scorer between generations.
- Freeman was substantially more popular with the oldest generation than any other generation. This could be tied to the religion and politics of that generation.
- Barsby and Conrad have similar patterns – they were least popular among the youngest and oldest fans.
- Gibson and Aderhold are most popular with Gen Z, the only players for whom that was true.
- Our last MPO grouping shows several players with a similar, uniform fandom score across the generations – nevertheless, almost all of them (excluding Hammes) received relatively low fandom scores from older respondents.
- I find this oldest-generation dip surprising for a long-touring pro like Leiviska. Sexton and Koling have also been around a while, but I would expect that their media presence supersedes any effects of their veteran status.
- Average fandom scores for many of the top FPO athletes got progressively lower the younger the respondents were. Catrina Allen, in particular, had a large drop from the oldest respondents to Gen X — and kept decreasing from there.
- Tattar was incredibly popular with every generation. Her weakest average fandom score was with Gen Z, which was still significantly higher than any generation score for any other player in FPO.
- Ryan stands out as being particularly unpopular with the oldest group of respondents.
- Jen Allen’s popularity with the oldest cohort stands out.
Here are other questions we asked respondents, cross-referenced with generational segments:
- In general, the older a respondent was, the more likely they were to follow FPO and like the PDGA.
- While not shown on this graph, respondents that follow FPO a lot were an average of 3 years older than people who follow MPO a lot. They also started watching disc golf about half a year earlier, on average.
- In general, the younger a respondent was the more likely they were to follow MPO and want to buy merchandise related to their favorite players.
- The oldest generation and the youngest generation were the most religious.
My thanks to Karl Lamothe and Steve Andrews for their assistance in editing this piece as well as the rest of the StatMando team with data analysis and preparation. Please send your feedback and suggestions to email@example.com. Keep an eye out for more articles to come in this series.