There are a number of reasons why non-Wisconsinites would follow the Green Bay Packers. They are a fan-owned team. They own the most championships in NFL history (including pre-Super Bowl titles). Fans get to wear cheese on their heads! Logically, there would be a large Packers fanbase away from the Badger state.
There are a few states with a decent-size contingent of Cheeseheads. The Packers have the most wins in NFL history, so why wouldn’t teams in NFL deserts want to jump onto the bandwagon? There are 32 teams in the NFL but only 23 states (and D.C.) are home to a franchise. That leaves plenty of room for national brands to take over. Of late, the Kansas City Chiefs have probably started to encroach in the no-man’s-land of NFL fandom, but the Packers (and Cowboys) still own plenty of land.
Largest Packers Fanbase Areas Outside of Wisconsin
There is going to be a trend, let’s see if you can pick it up. Michigan is home to one NFL team. Albeit, the Lions have, historically, been as NFL-adjacent as an XFL franchise. There is a Packers fanbase in the backyard of one of its NFC North rivals for a number of reasons but the largest of which is the fact that Green Bay is historically successful and the Lions are not.
In addition to NFL fans trying to be contrarian, there is still that piece of land on the north side of Michigan that use to be (and should still be) part of Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula. The UP is one of the most intriguing and confusing pieces of land in the continental United States. Despite being connected to Wisconsin, it’s still Michigan thanks to the Wolverine state throwing a fit over the Toledo Strip, inciting “The Toledo War.” UP NFL fans tend to gravitate toward the Pack.
If the NFL operated as MLB does, perhaps there would be very few NFL fans in Iowa because they’d be subject to Blackouts. Alas, the NFL cares about its fans (a little) and Iowans can partake in the festivities.
The Hawkeye state is without an NFL franchise, so why not go for the Packers? Green Bay has to battle with the Chiefs, Vikings, and Bears for Iowan hearts but, historically, the Packers own it. The Chiefs, despite their recent success, do not exactly stand up to the level of the Packers and Bears. Now, the Packers must fend off the two other NFC North rivals.
The Vikings are still among the franchises without a Super Bowl, so that’s an uphill battle for Minnesota. The Bears are a quality foe, of course. But, as is the case with any major rivalry, there will always be fans of the rival of the majority fanbase (SEE: Michigan fans in Ohio, Duke basketball fans in Chapel Hill, NC, etc).
How is it that a state with TWO NFL franchises could have a larger Packers fanbase? Those two teams have stunk, historically. The Browns have never been to a Super Bowl and are the proud owners of one of the three winless seasons in history. Cleveland was so bad that Paul Brown left and went south and founded his own team. The Bengals, like the Vikings, have never won a Super Bowl despite three chances.
During the periods that both the Browns and Bengals stunk, the Packers were good. It was either Green Bay or Pittsburgh and no self-respecting NFL fan from Ohio is going to root for the Steelers. Online gambling has finally become legal in the Buckeye state and a large group of Packers fans have placed their bets for their team up north. Those bets, of course, may pale in comparison to the Bengals right now. However, there are enough bets that it is relevant.
Speaking of betting (and by extension, online betting), CasinoCanada has shown that there is a large contingent of the Packers fanbase in the Great White North.
Realistically, Canada is a tough market to get into. Canadians are quite different than Americans and their brand of football is almost a completely different game. However, Canadians can and have rested their hats on another northern franchise in the Green Bay Packers. Of course, if you go way out west, the Seahawks may dominate, but the Packers still have a large collection of Cheeseheads.
Finally, contrarians abound. What better way to get back at the stepdad you hate than to root for the team he hates?
Illinois is primarily Bears country. However, as mentioned above, NFL fans with no real allegiance have been known to jump on the bandwagon of the rival of the primary fans to be different. Are these the worst types of fans? Absolutely! But the Packers fanbase has grown behind enemy lines by utilizing the hate. Aaron Rodgers may “own” the Bears and he has had plenty of support from Packers fans in the Prairie State.
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