chapter  3
28 Pages

The Psychology of Fandom: Understanding the Etiology, Motives, and Implications of Fanship

ByEdward R. Hirt, Joshua J. Clarkson

Time and again, we hear stories of and even witness firsthand the phenomenon of fandom. We know of those whose emotions rise and fall with the performance of their team. We know of those who forgo clothing in cold weather, withstand monsoon rains, and simmer in the summertime heat for their teams. We know of those competing in multiple fantasy leagues; in cyberspace, they follow every move of their team with faithful devotion. We also know of those who live their lives uninformed and unaware of the world of sports around them and yet still find their way into stadiums worldwide. These examples illustrate only a sample of the diverse yet complex range of behaviors exhibited by those we choose to label fans. For the most part, these complexities represent mere peculiarities that add intrigue to the experience of sports. For others, such as ourselves, these complexities spark fundamental questions about the psychological motives underlying fandom-and the market strategies intended to satisfy them.