Let's face it – winning is more fun than losing. No matter whether we're talking sports, games, races, or the lottery, heading to Instagram to post about winning is par for the course.

Plenty of folks use the hashtag #winning when ’gramming about victory, making it easy to get a feel for what sports and other activities are most popular – and victorious – worldwide.

The popularity of the catchphrase "winning" began in 2011 when actor Charlie Sheen gave several television interviews in which his bizarre behavior and use of the word catapulted him into collective pop-culture consciousness. Five years later, we're still #winning … on Instagram, anyway.

We checked out which areas of the country (and the world) were posting sports and activity-related Instagram posts with the #winning hashtag which has over 9 million posts on Instagram. Read on to see how it all played out in the global arena.

Each State’s Biggest Win

When we examined each state, the top “winning” posts on Instagram weren’t always obvious or expected. Kentucky most mentions the Derby, and Colorado (the home of the 2016 Super Bowl champs ) most mentions football. Hawaii “won” the most at yoga; Georgia liked to brag about its golf wins. Meanwhile, bingo was the most mentioned win in Minnesota.
Powerball became a huge news story in January 2016 with a record-breaking jackpot getting snatched up by three people. During that time, folks were stirred into a buying frenzy. Both Kansas and Vermont paid attention and earned the most mentions of Powerball on Instagram. Casino was, unsurprisingly, the top mention in the state of Nevada, while cards was popular in South Dakota.

Football Wins Around the World

Breaking down the Instagram data by country, we found that Canada posts the most about #winning hockey. A plethora of countries around the world peg soccer as their most talked about #winning sport on Instagram (although the sport is more commonly called "football" in those regions).
Rugby is the sport that the U.K. cheers for the most on Instagram, and golf takes the top spot in South Africa and New Zealand. Folks in India tend to post the most about cricket; in Japan, where the video game industry is enormous, gaming is the #winning topic of choice.

The U.S. Wins Most at Football

Football pretty much rules the U.S., with both the NFL and college football dominating our sports consciousness and remaining insanely popular throughout the year. Next on the list is soccer (youth soccer is particularly huge in the U.S.), followed by basketball, bodybuilding, and boxing.

The sport nicknamed America's Pastime – baseball – doesn't even appear in our rankings, which might surprise all the kids and young adults who play as well as the fans who faithfully head out to parks to take in the games.

Running, weightlifting, CrossFit, and cardio all make the top 10, revealing that, in America, there is tons of interest in fitness (and probably gym selfies).

The Most #Winning States

The most #winning states on Instagram are Nevada, California, Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey, Washington, Georgia, New York, Colorado, and Oregon. While Nevada is home to the casino-filled Las Vegas, states without large casino scenes, like California and Florida, are often #winning as well. Both of these states are home to many popular professional sports teams, which may increase their amount of “wins.”
Most of the Midwest is lacking in “wins” as well as West Virginia and Maine. Although Maine might not be home to any major league sports teams, its lobsters and beautiful lighthouses are certainly winning at something.

A Winning Conclusion

It turns out, you can discover a lot about a locale based on what its inhabitants are #winning at on Instagram. In our studies of Instagram posts around the world, we found that people love to publicize their experiences of victory. The world clearly loves to brag about its wins, whether they happen on the field, in the gym, or at the casino.


We scraped Instagram for #winning and analyzed over 9 million posts to see which sports, games, and activities were mentioned most.