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2017 Year in Review: A deeper dive into our international readership!

British Prime Minister Attends Informal Summit Of EU Leaders
People from all over the world including European heads of government can’t wait to get their fix of Bullets Forever each and every day!
Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

As part of our 2017 year in review, we wanted to share some our best pieces from a variety of different angles.

Today, we will take a look at our international traffic from outside the United States. Which countries have the largest readership bases? And what were their favorite pieces? Let’s find out!

Bullets Forever’s Top 10 Countries based on site traffic

Place Country
Place Country
1 Philippines
2 Poland
3 Canada
4 Australia
5 United Kingdom
6 Germany
7 Czech Republic
8 Italy
9 France
10 Spain

We already shared what the Top 5 was previously, but I went ahead and expanded it to 10. It isn’t any surprise to see Poland among the Top 5 on this list. After all, Marcin Gortat has played here for several years and is from Poland. Tomas Satoransky is from the Czech Republic while Ian Mahinmi comes from France. I would be shocked if these countries weren’t in our Top 10 to be honest.

There’s also something else that I noticed with the Top 10. Four of the Top 5 countries on this list had English as an official or de facto national language. Even the Philippines, the top nation lists English as an official language. Our content is in English of course, so I wasn’t surprised to see the top nations skewed in that way.

So, let’s take a look at the Top 10 countries that do not have English as an official or de facto national language.

Bullets Forever's Top 10 Countries where English is not an official or de facto national language

Place Country What do they call their country? Official or National Language
Place Country What do they call their country? Official or National Language
1 Poland Polska Polish
2 Germany Deutschland (Doych-lahnt) German
3 Czech Republic Česká republika (Cheskah) Czech
4 Italy Italia Italian
5 France France French
6 Spain España Spanish
7 South Korea 한국 (Hahn-kook) Korean
8 Croatia Hrvatska Croatian
9 Japan 日本 (Nihon) Japanese
10 Netherlands Nederland (Nay-dur-lahnt) Dutch

I think these rankings make Gortat, Satoransky, and Mahinmi happy campers! They are definitely pleased to see that people from their neck of the woods regularly go to our site to read the Wizards.

Of the countries on this list, I am not surprised that it skews toward Western European Union countries. Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany all ranked in the Top 10. Furthermore, a significant percentage (or even the majority) of Spanish, French, Dutch, and German people can read, write, and speak English fairly well. Also, there may be many Americans who study abroad or recently moved to these countries, though we can’t prove this of course:

Now that you know the countries that have the largest readership outside of the USA, we decided to look at six countries in more detail. We focused toward countries where there is a Wizards or Mystics player, but added a couple other countries as well. They are the Philippines, Poland, the Czech Republic, France, Belgium, and South Korea. We hope you enjoy.

The Philippines

Manny Pacquiao Training Session
During a training session in 2016, Filipino boxing star Manny Pacquiao played basketball in uniforms that looked a lot like those of the Golden State Warriors.
Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images

I was quite surprised to see that the Philippines has our largest readership group outside of the United States. After all, they don’t have a Wizards player. Coincidentally, former long-time Wizards player Andray Blatche naturalized for the Philippines and played for several Asia Cups and the 2014 World Cup for Gilas Pilipinas, the nickname of the Filipino men’s team. But Blatche joined Gilas AFTER he left the NBA.

Basketball is also the most popular sport in the Philippines. The NBA also has a major following there, and English is an official language in this country of over 100 million people. Once you combine all of these factors together, it’s not surprising to see that the Philippines has a larger readership than China or India where English is not an official language (China) or the sport is not that popular (India).

So Maraming salamat! Here are some stats that we found on the Philippines and our Filipino readers:

Most read piece: John Wall made shots in Kyrie Irving’s face, took photos with LeBron James in Miami last week - the piece was published on August 13.

Most read recap: Wizards losing 139-115 to the Warriors on April 2.

Top 3 cities: They were:

  1. Quezon City
  2. Makati
  3. Manila

The skinny: I already talked briefly about basketball being the most popular sport in the Philippines. Since there aren’t any Filipino NBA players, they tend to read stories that focus around national NBA storylines and go here when the Wizards are tied along with them.

I had the chance to talk to Anton Tioseco, a Wizards fan from Manila in 2016. Click here to read it!


UFC 205: Open Workouts
Joanna Jedrzejczyk is one of Poland’s most accomplished athletes, where she’s won 14 straight UFC fights in the strawweight division. If you don’t think Marcin Gortat is a good player, she may send you home with two black eyes!
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Poland is the sixth largest country in the EU with over 38 million people in 2016. As Marcin Gortat’s homeland, we’ve seen a spike in Polish traffic since he arrived in 2014 with no signs of slowing down.

Polonia, or the Polish diaspora is one of the world’s most widely dispersed. After all, website data can track location, not a user’s heritage. Anyway, up to 20 million people of Polish descent live outside Poland, according to Wikipedia. About 10 million live here in the United States.

Elsewhere in the EU, over 2 million people of Polish descent live in Germany, its western neighbor. There are also up to 1 million Polish French people. And in the Netherlands, there are now more Polish Dutch people than any other European group after Germans and Native Dutch people. You can find people of Polish descent anywhere, making their positive impact on the world.

We’ll talk more about Polonia when Polish Heritage Night comes upon us on January 12. But for now, let’s see how Polish readers living in Poland fared:

Most read piece: Kris Jenkins, Przemek Karnowski among players invited to Wizards’ Tuesday predraft workout

Most read recap: Marcin Gortat getting a double-double in the Blazers game when Markieff Morris made the game winner.

Top 3 Cities:

  1. Warsaw
  2. Krakow
  3. Wroclaw

The skinny: Most of the reading behavior of our Polish audience isn’t different from our general readership. In fact, most of our top pieces that Polish readers read didn’t talk much about Gortat’s performance at all. I’d like to say that they’re just Wizards fans.

That said, the Polish Heritage Night 2017 preview was the 7th most read piece by Polish readers while the recap of the event was 17th.

By the way, I had the chance to talk to two fans based in Poland last year. One is Truth About It’s Bartosz Bielecki, and the other is Kenneth Rabin, who you all know better as community member WarsawKen!

Czech Republic

BNP Paribas WTA Finals: Singapore 2016 - Day Seven
Before tennis legend Martina Navratilova naturalized as an American, she was born near Prague and represented Czechslovakia, the Czech Republic’s predecessor state.
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Tomas Satoransky comes from the Czech Republic, which is a major reason why the Czechs made up one of our Top 10 largest fanbases outside the United States. However, the Wizards also had Jan Vesely from 2011-2014, which was when our Czech audience started growing in earnest.

Over 10 million people live in the Czech Republic today, a nation that is known for its porcelain and its place as the beer consumption capital of the world.

Most read piece: Roundtable: Are the Wizards managing Tomas Satoransky’s development properly?

Most read recap: Satoransky’s 17 point night against the Pistons on December 1.

Top 3 Cities:

  1. Prague
  2. Trutnov
  3. Brno

The skinny: Our Czech readership read our content the most during Satoransky’s EuroBasket 2017 stint. Unfortunately, the Czechs fizzled in the group stage.

Regardless, they read our Satoransky-centric pieces more than the average. That’s not surprising because he is the country’s best player.


Ajax v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Final
When he’s not playing in European soccer matches, Manchester United star Paul Pogba (R) checks into BF to cheer for the Wizards like the rest of us. That said, Pogba’s visits would probably count as British traffic most of the time.
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

France is the second largest state in the European Union with over 66 million people. It’s also one of the most basketball-friendly countries in Western Europe. The men’s national team is ranked fourth in the world, and has a very NBA heavy roster that won EuroBasket 2013 and bronze in EuroBasket 2015. In fact, France has more NBA players than any European country, making Ian Mahinmi one of 10 players to make an opening day roster in the 2017-18 season.

America’s relationship with France runs way back in time as well. Though the Dutch and Moroccans dispute this for different reasons, Americans consider France our first official ally.

How did the French fare besides being one of the top 10 countries to read our content? Were they dying to find out how Ian Mahinmi was doing game to game? Let’s find out. Allez!

Most read piece: Otto Porter’s Instagram Game (or lack thereof)

Most read recap: The Wizards beating the Cavaliers, 127-115 on March 25.

Top 3 cities:

  1. Paris
  2. Orleans
  3. Strasbourg

The skinny: Our French readership wasn’t particularly keeping an eye on Mahinmi’s performance. Unlike most of the other countries on the list, Mahinmi isn’t put on the same pedestal as some other French stars. Overall, our French readers didn’t differ too much from our American audience.

I wasn’t surprised to see Paris be the top city, nor was I surprised to see nearby city Orleans rank second.

Merci beaucoup, France!

P.S. Okay, since I showed Paul Pogba’s picture, I will fess up. I couldn’t find any direct connection between Mahinmi and the Manchester United midfielder.

However, Mahinmi did hang out with retired French soccer star Thierry Henry. Henry is now a soccer coach for De Rode Duivels / Les Diables Rouges / The Red Devils, or the men’s national soccer team in Belgium. Speaking of which, the Belgians are next on this list!


Belgium v Japan - International Friendly
Unlike his French teammate for Manchester United, Romelu Lukaku reads BF because he’s a Meesse-MANIAC. He approves of all non-Dutch content on Emma, as you can see.
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Belgium didn’t rank in any of our lists above (Top 10 overall or Top 10 non English), so why talk about this country, which is just a little bit larger than the Czech Republic?

The answer’s quite simple. First, they have Emma Meesseman, and that reason alone is good enough. But second, Meesseman’s twin brother from another mother, Romelu Lukaku will beat me up if I don’t. They also have no shortage of public Twitter exchanges. And third, Belgium finished right behind the Netherlands in the Top 10 list of countries where English isn’t an official language.

So let’s head up north from Rouen to Ieper. If you follow both Meesseman’s and Lukaku’s careers, you know they can speak French well. But French isn’t their first language. So, in their native Dutch: Laten we gaan!

Most read piece overall: How are the Mystics playing in the “easy” European leagues? (from 2016)

Most read piece from 2017: The Belgium women’s basketball team beating Greece in the EuroBasket Women 2017 bronze medal game.

Most read recap: The Mystics’ 85-80 win over the Mercury on August 6.

Top 3 Cities:

  1. Schaarbeek, Brussels Capital Region
  2. Ieper
  3. City of Brussels

The skinny: The Belgian audience is an outlier. Most of the traffic on Bullets Forever goes toward the Wizards. But for Belgians, most of the content they read is on the Mystics, because of Meesseman. In fact, Belgians don’t read our Wizards content that much. That said, it has been changing in recent months — so maybe they’re buying into the John Wall movement as well!

What’s also surprising is that Ieper, Meesseman’s hometown was second on the list. Ieper is the 55th largest municipality in Belgium with just 34,971 people. It’s a small city, so the Iepenaar readership may be the most engaged readership base on Bullets Forever outside of the DMV, even if they aren’t commenting.

You have to appreciate that kind of dedication! Bedankt voor het lezen over iedere artikel over Emma en de Mystics, Ieper!

South Korea

MLB: Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners
Shin-Soo Choo is one of Korea’s top baseball players in the MLB.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Based on fan requests, we’ll head to Seoul, the capital of Asian pop culture, and a lot of great food.

It’s kind of strange listing South Korea (I’ll just call it Korea for most of the rest of this section because ... there are hardly any North Koreans living outside of North Korea) on a basketball site at first glance.

Korea has no active NBA players. And the Koreans generally aren’t as good in basketball as the Chinese or the Filipinos on the Asian stage. But Korea is as America-friendly of a country as you’ll find in Asia. In addition, there’s a relatively large American community in Korea because of the demarcation line with North Korea and teaching opportunities throughout Seoul. Finally, we had more Korean-based readers than any other Asian country after the Philippines.

Time to trade our Brussels waffles and Neuhaus chocolates for shrimp crackers, Orion Choco Pies, and a lot of delicious street food. 가자! (Gah-jah! That’s “Let’s Go!” in Korean.)

Most read piece overall: The GameThread of Game 2 of the Wizards’ playoff series against the Celtics.

Most read piece that wasn’t a GameThread: Otto Porter’s Instagram piece which we linked already and it was the top piece in Korea. The most read non-game recap was our piece about rumors of Lou Williams and Bojan Bogdanovic coming to D.C. From hindsight, Bogey arrived, though Williams didn’t.

Most read recap: The Wizards’ Christmas Day 2017 win over the Celtics.

Top 3 Cities:

  1. Seoul
  2. Pyeongtaek-si
  3. Anseong

The skinny: As you might expect, Seoul had more readers than any other city. However, the other cities on this list are major cities themselves. They are also in Gyeongi Province, a northwest region of Korea that surrounds Seoul to the DMZ. It is also the largest province in the country.

I was surprised to see that GameThreads were among our most read pieces overall. It’s not like they happened for one or two games. They happened all year long. I haven’t seen too many of our users openly state that they live in Korea, so perhaps our readers in Korea are among our most engaged in the comments.

And by the way, I also talked to Noah Kim, a Maryland native who studied in Seoul in 2016. Read about what we talked about here.

So, that concludes our international content review. We’ll conclude the year on New Year’s Day as we wrap some loose ends and talk about the main story lines of the year, since we took a data-based approach these last few days.

Enjoy the rest of 2017. Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve tomorrow!