Uber Data from Opening Day

Which sports are Uber-loved in our big cities?

 

At Uber, we’re busily building an efficient transportation network through our software platform to help move people all around the world. Today we examine how Uber is used to get to a popular destination for Uber riders – sports events. Let’s see a recent snapshot of what this looks like for Opening Day 2013. (Not all sports have had their 2014 Opener.)

 

Our #UberData

We looked at some of the biggest sports cities across our US markets to understand how to people use Uber to start their season.  Season openers are arguably the best single-game universal metric of Uber ridership. Not all teams make the playoffs, but every team has a home opener.

We plotted near-stadium drop-offs, pickups, and distance traveled to see the role of Uber for some of the most popular sports in some of the most populous cities in the US on both coasts and in between. (We plot a consistent time chunk before the opener; or else we would run out of room! And we anonymized the data to protect privacy.)

Sports: Baseball (MLB), basketball (NBA), football (NFL).

Markets: Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles (LA), New York City (NYC), San Francisco Bay (SF), Seattle and Washington DC (DC).

 

Our Uber Rankings

Now we can answer the following questions about Uber and sports, using the 2013 Opener data as our rubric:

 

  • For each sport and all sports, what city uses Uber the most?

The Uber Sports Index

Uber Sports Index

*tied, but tiebreaker goes to Chicago with 1 basketball team instead of 2 (like NYC has).

 

  • For each city, what sports are most popular to go to, using Uber?

What Sports Are Our Uber Cities?

Uber City Index

Note: Seattle does not currently have an NBA team; and Los Angeles an NFL team.

 

  • In two team towns, which crosstown rivalry wins, and is there a pattern?

The Uber Rivalry Index

Uber Rivalry Index

Biggest rivalry ranked by the trips sum across the two rival teams.

 

Conclusion

  • Basketball (43% of all rides) and baseball (36% of all rides) take gold and silver, with football settling for bronze (21%). Football has just 16 regular season games, so the home opener should be proportionately more important than the 82 game and 162 game seasons that basketball and baseball have. But, other factors such as geography and game ambience seem to dominate.
  • We calculate the Uber Sports Index using the number of rides from cities of wildly different size. You’d think this would skew results in favor of bigger cities with multiple-team sports, but this wasn’t the case. New York City is #1 in terms of  metropolitan area size  but only medaled once. Los Angeles is #2, and didn’t medal at all.  San Francisco and Seattle rank #11 and #15 in metropolitan area.
  • When it comes to Uber, cities genuinely prefer different Opening Day sports. For example, San Francisco prefers baseball, despite one of the NFL’s top teams (49ers) nearby in an urban area. And for rivalries, in a two-team town (LA, SF Bay, NYC, Chicago), the more visible franchise got more Uber rides across the board.

As the 2014 Openers season is already underway, these are exciting times for Uber, and very exciting for us mathletes – we’re dominating the sports statistics more than we ever could on the scoreboards when we were kids. With a little more practice, we’ll be Uber good!

In the interim, look for more updates and installments on our @uberdata Twitter stream.