I began working at Athlete Ally a few weeks ago as an intern. I’ve worked on various projects ranging from creating a local sports events calendar to extensive work on the Athlete Ally Action Awards benefit in October. One of the projects I was assigned was to identify the most popular states that our allies are coming from and to target specific states to locate new allies.
I created a document organized by state to figure out where our athletes grew up, where they went to college, and where they currently reside. Unsurprisingly, California far outperformed every other state and country in all three categories. 20 of the 132 ambassadors (15%) grew up in California, while 20 ambassadors also attended college in California, and 14 of the 132 ambassadors (11%) currently live in the sunny state of California. These numbers are hardly surprising as, according to a Business Insider article, California has produced the most active professional athletes by a wide margin. Because athletes can play their sports outside all year round and athletic powerhouses UCLA and USC, along with Stanford and Berkeley, all call California their home, California has always been an extremely desirable location for athletes trying to hone their craft.
Other than California, our allies appeared to be relatively spread out across the United States and across the world. New York was a relatively popular location for our ambassadors to grow up (6%) and to live after their careers (5%), but Ashley Walsh was the only ally to actually attend college in New York because of the lack of athletic powerhouses located in the state. Texas was another popular state for our ambassadors to grow up (6%) and to live during/after their careers (4.5%), but only Lindsey Carmichael, Kevin Friedland, and Erin McLeod decided to attend college in Texas despite the strong focus of collegiate athletics in the state. In addition to these states, many allies also hail from Australia (7%) and Wales (10%) and still play their sports in those countries.
Other than California, the states that the most allies attended college were Maryland (8%) and North Carolina (6%). The University of Maryland was a popular college for allies because of Hudson Taylor’s (Class of 2010) connection with the university, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was popular among athletes because of its athletic achievements over the years. Colorado and New Jersey (both 5%) were relatively common for hometowns of ambassadors, but neither state was able to successfully retain the allies through their college and professional careers. Finally, Minnesota was highly surprisingly the most popular state for athletes to inhabit during and after their professional careers, as 15 of the 132 allies (11%) currently live in the cold state of Minnesota. I’ve learned a lot from my internship and hope to continue working on projects for Athlete Ally.
-Daniel Bunson, Intern