Sports fans in the US are abuzz as the country's most popular sport, American football, is in the thick of its short yet intense season. In the US, university-level football enjoys a level of fame and fan fervour that rivals and in some ways even surpasses that of professional football. Many of the larger and more historic college football programmes such as the universities of Alabama and Michigan house 100,000-seat stadiums that dwarf those of the professional National Football League teams.

After a reform last year in how the national champion is determined, college football operates on a four-team playoff system with the top four teams being decided by a committee after the regional conference championships conclude in early December. Semi-final games take place on New Year's Eve and the winners of those games square off in mid-January, at which time the national champion is crowned.

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fDi Magazine thought it would be sporting to model an FDI Championship on this system and see how the various states match up when it comes to attracting inward investment.

The playoffs

Of the four regional playoffs, North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana and California have proven successful. These four states will now go head to head, battling it out for the title of fDi National Champion. California shows great ability to attract Software and IT services investment, with 23.6% of its inward FDI between September 2014 and August 2015 in this sector. Its next two biggest sectors were Business Services and Financial Services, with 20.7% and 12.3%, respectively.

North Carolina, South Carolina and Indiana have a more industrial focus: 27.8% of all North Carolina’s projects are in Manufacturing, 43.2% of Indiana’s and 44.9% of South Carolina’s.

California commands attention on the world stage, with major investors based there. Google, Uber Technologies, Oracle, Apple and Salesforce are the top five investing source companies from California, the majority based in the Silicon Valley area. San Francisco is the source city of 21.1% of all California’s outward FDI, Los Angeles is second with 8.2% and San Jose third with 5.9%.

The majority of Indiana’s outward FDI is destined for other North American locations (63.4%), with 15.8% going to Asia-Pacific and 14.9% going to western Europe. In 2014-15, most of South Carolina’s outward FDI was focused on North American locations (88.2%) while 5.9% went to Latin America and 5.9% went to Asia-Pacific. North Carolina’s outward FDI is quite service-oriented; 15.8% of all outward FDI was in the Business Services sector, 13.9% in the Financial Services sector and 13.9% in Software and IT services.

Who will be crowned fDi National Champion? The winner will be unveiled in fDi Magazine in February/March 2016. Stay tuned, sports fans.

Click here for a PDF version of the fDi National Championship – semi finalists