San Francisco, Frisco or San Fran? Americans are changing, new Bospar research finds

by | Jan 23, 2023

Bospar, the “politely pushy” PR firm that puts tech companies on the map, announced the latest results of the Bospar San Francisco Naming Day Survey, which found that a stubborn 39% of Americans still refer to San Francisco as “San Fran” (16.5%), “the city by the Bay” (15.5%) or the particularly annoying “Frisco” (7%).

This comes ahead of the January 30, 1847,  anniversary, when Mayor Washington Allon Bartlett issued a proclamation renaming Yerba Buena “San Francisco,” believing it would be good for business to take on the name of the well-known San Francisco Bay.

However, the numbers are trending in the right direction:


2018 2022
“San Fran” 28% 16.5%
“Frisco” 13% 7%
“City by the Bay” 15% 15%


“It’s encouraging to report that more Americans are now referring to San Francisco by the proper name,” said Tom Carpenter, Bospar principal. “This is important for city residents as a matter of worldwide branding.”

Despite this, online mentions of “San Fran” are beginning to spike ahead of Super Bowl LVII by sports reporters and fans alike. A sampling shows the most common errors:

  • “San Fran is poised to make another deep playoff run,” declares Forbes
  • “Purdy’s TDs send San Fran soaring,” said the Arkansas Democrat Gazette
  • “Brock Purdy has been great, but San Fran’s defense is winning games,” Deadspin noted

We even created a PSA to highlight the issue!

For holdouts like these, the study found a variety of insights and reasons why:

  • 45% say they change the city’s name to shorten it
  • 58% would stop calling San Francisco either “San Fran” or “Frisco” if they knew residents hated the term
  • For those who objected to changing their mind, fully 84% said they would not because they simply do not care what others think
  • Republicans are more likely to refer to it as San Francisco than Democrats (65% vs. 56%)

Bospar began championing the cause of properly respecting San Francisco and the Bay Area at large in 2018, when the agency began its “Say San Francisco” campaign, along with the San Francisco Museum & Historical Society.

The Bospar “Say San Francisco” campaign has been recognized with a Gold Medal from the Muse Creative Awards and has been covered by local and national media.

“Our objective is to showcase the city of San Francisco properly around the world by recognizing the wishes of the vast majority of residents. We plan to continue tackling the naming misunderstanding,” said Carpenter. “We will keep up the fight!”


These findings were part of a broader demographic survey Bospar commissioned from Propeller Insights to find out how Americans are responding to the newest COVID variant, as well as their perceptions and attitudes about the current U.S. political divide. Propeller Insights surveyed  1,008 general consumers between December 7 and December 13, 2022.


About Propeller Insights

Propeller Insights is a full-service market research firm based in Los Angeles. Using quantitative and qualitative methodologies to measure and analyze marketplace and consumer opinions, they work extensively across industries such as travel, brand intelligence, entertainment/media, retail, and consumer packaged goods.

About Bospar

Bospar is the award-winning “politely pushy” tech public relations agency. The firm provides clients with national support thanks to its distributed agency model, which it launched in 2015. Bospar’s staff includes marketing and PR experts and veteran journalists from top-tier tech and business media. The agency’s strategic and creative thinkers excel in earned and social media, analyst and investor relations, and public affairs. Leaders from brands including Marqeta, Snowflake and Unisys trust Bospar to drive category leadership for disruptive technologies and solutions. Visit www.bospar.com, Twitter and LinkedIn.


Bulldog Reporter
Bulldog Reporter is a leader in media intelligence supplying news, analysis and high-level training content to public relations and corporate communications professionals with the mission of helping these practitioners achieve superior competitive performance.


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