Despite Ravens success, local fandom still belongs to Washington originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
In the past decade, the Baltimore Ravens have enjoyed six trips to the postseason, which includes a Super Bowl. Entering 2020 the team is a major contender for another title and is led by the always-exciting Lamar Jackson.
As for their local counterpart -- the Washington Football Team -- it's been a lot bleaker. Two playoff appearances, that didn't go past the Wild Card round, seven losing seasons and plenty of drama on and off the field have marred the franchise. This season, there is hope for the future, but plenty of growing pains.
Based on how recent years have played out, it's clear that there has been a lot more to root for in Baltimore's corner. With that, is there a chance that the support for the AFC team in the region has grown roots and taken over areas that once loved Washington? Not really.
With the teams set to face off in Week 4, NBC Sports Washington worked with Vivid Seats to see which zip codes in the DMV belong to each team. With the data acquired through 2019 ticket purchases, one thing quickly became clear: the DMV still belongs to the Washington Football Team.
As the map shows, most of Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. is repping the Burgundy and Gold. It's understandable that the purple comes in the top right. That's the city of Baltimore and its immediate suburbs.
There are, however, some interesting points of contention on the map where the fan bases collide. The zip code 20868 belongs to Spencerville, Md. It is surrounded by Washington supporters to be sure. But it is also a little splotch of purple that has spread into Montgomery County, which itself borders the District. You don't get much closer than that.
The same can be said for Sandy Spring, another unincorporated Montgomery County community that supports Baltimore on the map. In the same general area, zip code 20759 is Fulton, Md. That Howard County community is less than 30 miles from RFK Stadium. It may not be everywhere, but the Ravens do have some roots extending very close to D.C.
At the same time, there's no denying which team dominates the DMV, so to speak. Howard County trends purple, but places like Laurel are heavier on Washington Football. And Prince George's County belongs to Washington. Little purple there. For more clarity on where rooting interests lie in specific zip codes, check out the full map here.
Maybe Washington still dominating the map shouldn't be a huge surprise. Loyalty for NFL teams runs deep. The team makes its daily home in Virginia and has a long history marketing itself in the southern mid-Atlantic states well into North Carolina and points beyond. You can see that any time Washington plays a game in Charlotte against the Panthers - or even further south for road games in Atlanta and Tampa.
Burgundy and gold are everywhere in the stands for those games. And memories of the glory days at RFK Stadium in the District still linger for fans age 35 and older.
So while Baltimore has had more success the past two decades, established fans won't switch easily. But it will be interesting to monitor any future changes. Maybe fans in Virginia and the District don't switch. But kids growing up in the border region between the two cities certainly could.
The Ravens have the look of a team that will compete for years to come, and Lamar Jackson is the type of athlete that young supporters hook onto. Their national appeal also helps. Washington had that briefly with Robert Griffin III in 2012. We know how that turned out. Now he's even with the Ravens.
It wouldn't be surprising to see people new to the sport gravitate to Baltimore. It's had to shake the team you grew up rooting for. Time will tell in that case, but in 2020 at least the DMV still belongs to Washington.