Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Chicago Fire’s Popularity in North Dakota: MLS Fan View

Yahoo Contributor Network
Chicago Fire’s Popularity in North Dakota: MLS Fan View

View photo

Chicago Fire.

A map image from ESPN about "FIFA 13" continues to be circulated among MLS fans because of the odd data that it reveals. Based on the number of "FIFA 12" players who used the "Support Your Club" video game feature, the Chicago Fire are extremely popular in North Dakota. EA Sports has not provided an explanation for this strange phenomenon.

The Popularity of Teams

The Chicago Fire team, founded and based in Illinois, does not seem to have a logical connection to North Dakota. There are no known supporters' groups in that state or a large number of displaced fans. North Dakota does not have a Major League Soccer team or a history with the organization. However, based on the number of "FIFA 12" players who selected the club, the Chicago Fire are the most popular team in North Dakota.

The map from ESPN reveals that the Chicago Fire are part of a limited number of Major League Soccer teams preferred by "FIFA 12" players in the United States. North Dakota is shown as the state with the greatest number of Fire supporters while Illinois is in green to indicate FC Barcelona. The majority of the U.S. map is green because most players selected FC Barcelona, and Manchester United is the second most popular choice. The Columbus Crew, Philadelphia Union, Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders, Sporting Kansas City and Portland Timbers are also included.

MLS Expansion and North Dakota

Does North Dakota have a hidden group of dedicated MLS fans that no one has ever seen? EA Sports has not provided any insight into its data, and MLS officials are rumored to have no interest in pursuing this issue. Maybe this is something worth investigating as Major League Soccer continues to pursue its dream of league expansion.

Most fans are opposed to adding another team in New York despite commissioner Don Garber's dreams. Could North Dakota support a future MLS team? The oil boom in this state has allowed it to remain prosperous while the economy has suffered around the country. It does offer a combination of low unemployment, high local incomes and limited entertainment options that would compete with the league.

More from this contributor:

MLS Plans to Search for Referees in the Premier League: Fan View

Why MLS Will Continue to Compete for Players with China: Fan View

MLS Expansion Possibilities in 2012: Fan View

Lana follows MLS, UEFA and FIFA. She has been a faithful fan of the Chicago Fire since 1998. Follow @Lana_Bandoim on Twitter.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (4)