The bad boy of disc golf.
February 9, 2023 by Jesse Weisz and Douglas Tyas in Analysis with comments
This article is part of a series intended to provide insights into disc golf fandom. These insights will come through analyzing a rich data set produced by the first-ever Ultiworld/StatMando fandom survey. Here are the other articles in this series:
The Survey Itself And Who Took It
Which Pros Do We Root For and Against
How Fans See Disc Golf Part 1
How Fans See Disc Golf Part 2
How Gender Affects Who We Root For
How Height, Introversion/Extroversion, and Age Correlate With Who Fans Root For
Paul McBeth vs. Ricky Wysocki
Those who read the first article we released in our series were probably not shocked to see that Nikko Locastro had the lowest fandom score of all of the players included in our survey, averaging 3.26 among all respondents. Here is a breakdown of the scores each respondent gave him:
629 respondents gave Locastro a fandom score of 1, which means they are undoubtedly rooting against him. But not everyone dislikes Locastro. 149 respondents (10% of those surveyed) gave Locastro at least an 8, with 7 respondents saying he is their favorite player. So we wanted to know what makes those respondents root for the “bad boy” of disc golf. Is there a pattern to Locastro fandom?
Locastro is well known for his occasional outbursts, but he also gives passionate speeches in interviews about his love for disc golf, competition, and belief in himself. 85% of Locastro fans said that they are fans of players because of their personalities. Locastro fans love his passion. Locastro is also a player who has been a successful touring pro for a long time; between 2009 and 2011, Locastro won 2 Majors and 4 National Tour events.
We wanted to take a closer look at what Locastro fans might have in common. Here we define “Locastro fans” as anyone who gave him a fandom score between 8 and 10 (n = 149 respondents). In the graph below, we are taking the average of the answers given by all 1503 respondents and subtracting them from the average of all the answers given by Locastro Fans. This can result in positive and negative numbers.
- While younger fans of disc golf may not know about Locastro’s early success, many of the older fans do. For respondents born before 1980, 14% are Locastro fans. Younger generations see Locastro less favorably with only 9% born after 1980 and 6% born after 1990 identifying as Locastro fans. Locastro fans are old enough to remember his best seasons.
- While Locastro fans don’t like the PDGA as much as the average respondent, they do not do so dramatically, which seemed possible given his suspension following his altercation with a PDGA official at the European Open.
- Locastro fans are more religious and spiritual than the average respondent. Spirituality especially seems to stand out.
- Locastro fans are less likely to buy merchandise related to their favorite player.
This next graph focuses on the political alignment of Locastro fans that responded to the survey:
- The sample size of our respondents skewed heavily toward the left wing, which means that there were many more chances for left-wing respondents to give 8-10 fandom scores to Locastro than right-wing respondents.
- Locastro fans lean less left than the average respondent.
- When we looked at segmented fandom scores, Locastro averaged a fandom score of 0.69 points higher for right-wing respondents compared to left-wing respondents. There were 7 players (Freeman, Smith, Robinson, McBeth, Gibson, Harris, Aderhold) who had an even larger right-wing preference gap among respondents.
- It is important to note that not all respondents gave an answer for their political alignment, and of those that did, some gave answers that did not fit cleanly within Left Wing, Centrist, Right Wing, or Apolitical.
We were also interested in finding out how Locastro fans felt about other players. If a player below has a positive number, that means Locastro fans are cheering for them more than our average respondent.
- 40 players received higher fandom scores from Locastro fans than the average respondent, while 12 players received lower scores from Locastro fans than the average respondent. Locastro fans gave an average fandom score of 7.0 to the players included in the survey. The average fandom score given out by all our respondents was 6.6. It seems that Locastro fans, in general, give out more positive fandom scores than our average respondent, which means they are more likely to cheer for players than cheer against them.
- Joel Freeman had the second-lowest fandom score after Locastro among all the survey respondents. Interestingly, this graph shows that Freeman received the biggest boost from Locastro fans compared to average fans. Does this mean that Locastro and Freeman have similar fans? 40% of Locastro fans root against Freeman, while 64% of all respondents root against Freeman. Although not shown in this graph, 42% of respondents gave Locastro a fandom score of 1, while only 28% of fans gave Freeman a 1.
- The player with the second highest boost from Locastro fans was Kat Mertsch, who was dating Locastro at the time our survey was conducted. Veterans Wysocki and Jen Allen were the two other players that received average fandom scores from Locastro Fans that were at least 1 point higher than our average respondent.
- Koling, followed by Ryan, Aderhold, Lizotte, and Pierce are the players that received significantly lower fandom scores from Locastro fans. There does not seem to be much of a pattern there.
In the survey, we asked respondents who their favorite player was and why. We will end this article with a few quotes from respondents that listed Locastro as their favorite player:
- “Nikko Locastro and Avery Jenkins were the first pros I ever watched and followed so they get my ‘favorite’ title.”
- “Nikko was my favorite when I first started following the pro scene.”
- “Nikko, he is crazy but so fun to root for. The soul surfer of disc golf.”
- “Nikko expresses how passionate he is about the sport and puts his heart and soul into in more than other players.”
- “Nikko is a good role model.”
Our thanks to Karl Lamothe and Steve Andrews for their assistance in editing this piece. If you would like to join the team that will be analyzing and writing articles about the 2023 version of this survey, or have feedback or suggestions, please email email@example.com. Keep an eye out for more articles to come in this series.