Sports is something that can bring people together from across cultures and nationalities. Regardless of what sport you’re a fan of, it has the potential to make people forget about differences. At least, that’s the case with good sports fans. For any marketer, this consumer is a dream which is why many large brands flock to sponsor mainstream high profile events such Rugby, Soccer, Tennis, Basketball, Baseball and Surfing to name a few. Fans arrive with interest in such events but without a psychological connection to others. Emotions are considered powerful in sporting events, but previous studies have not considered their role in depth like that of T. Bettina Cornwell, head of the Department of Marketing and academic director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center in the Lundquist College of Business. She found that sports fans who engage with other fans they’ve never met at a multiday sporting event tend to remember the sponsors and want to attend again, according to a University of Oregon study.
While there are bad apples in any group that give the mob a bad wrap with studies that have found links between team losses and the increased consumption of fat and sugar, and increased probability of alcohol consumption for example, the majority are always great. In these cases, it can be obvious that the fans have multiple qualities in common. These aren’t something that many people tend to think about, although it does tend to be true.
What are the qualities of a good sports fan? There are multiple to choose from, although some in specific stand out.
Passion For The Sport & Team
Passion is the most essential quality of a good sports fan, which we see manifest in multiple ways, such as trying to create your own NRL jersey, among others.
Knowledge Of Your Team & The Sport
“Knowing something about the personal lives and personalities of [sporting team] athletes gives the casual fan a reason to root for or against someone,” Colleen Bee, an assistant professor of marketing at Oregon State University. “The stories matter here. It magnifies the experience of watching the game, and gives people a reason to watch.”
Keeping a knowledge of your team specifically and the sport overall can be a great way to be a true fan. It could also be beneficial to know more about other teams, especially if your team is likely to be up against them a lot. Die hard fans have a strong emotional investment in the teams they support developing an intricate knowledge of their players and score card history.
“Casual sport fans often enjoy the experience of a highly competitive event even when the outcome is not desirable, due to the entertaining and exciting nature of suspense,” Bee said, pointing to her last study which found that winning or losing games did not matter so much as whether or not the game was close.
Commitment To Turning Up
There are quite a few sports fans who only support their team through the television. Others obsess over sporting merchandise, watch their players train prior to matches as well as turning up to games both home and away on the road. Coupled with that is that the games are much more enjoyable in person. That makes it beneficial for everybody involved.
“People new to a city don’t just adopt their new hometown’s team as a way to acclimate themselves in a new community,” says Scott Tainsky co-professor of recreation, sport and tourism with Monika Stodolska at the University of Illinois, “For new residents, sports is not that tool to stand around the water cooler and start the assimilation process — at least not right away, and possibly never for some. They see it more as a way to assert their loyalty to their old hometown team, or the city they identify with. That leads us to conclude that the team or city someone identifies with is a relationship that endures.”
There can be multiple other qualities of a good sports fan. The above are some of the more obvious and essential. There’s also the likes of treating people with respect and dignity, regardless of background. That’ll be true of fans of anything, however, as everyone’s there to enjoy the same thing.
After all, everyone turns up to a sports event for the love of the game. Why not be friendly and enjoy the experience?