chapter  17
Smart consumers and hopeless romantics
WithAlbrecht Sonntag
Pages 9

European soccer fans accept increasingly fluid loyalties and transnational standardization, while appreciating punctual nostalgic reassurance of national singularity. They are clearly both 'smart consumers,' shopping for hedonistic pleasure, and 'hopeless romantics' who long for authentic emotions. Soccer is compatible with both worlds, with postmodern hedonism and modern belonging, with the profane and the sacred. It serves at the same time the smart, individualist lifestyle consumers of the twenty-first century, and the helpless community romantics whose social needs of 'togetherness' makes them prisoners of the legacy of the nineteenth-century's 'nationalization of the masses'. The Football Research in an Enlarged Europe Project, which was carried out between 2012 and 2015 has, in some of its research streams, tried to study the oscillation of soccer fans' behavior between modern and postmodern values and attitudes. The focus in the soccer entertainment industry will be on market share, risk management and planning security rather than on the traditional principles of modern sport.