In the sports industry, a fan’s personal background has a large impact on the type of fan they will become. There are many reasons why individuals become sports fans: including a fan’s level of interest in a sport, a fan’s favorite sport, and a fan’s interest in participating in a sport.
Family + Friend Influencers
A fan’s surroundings play a key role in influencing the type of fan he or she is. For example, family and friends often inspire others to become more interested in sports, hosting watch parties and tailgating together. A study from a national survey report, called Voice of the American Fan, analyzed these factors to gain knowledge about the status of sports fans. Specifically, this study was used to determine the specific effects family and friends’ involvement in sports has on a sports fan, as well as individual factors that play into one’s level of interest in sports.
Fans with parents who have a passion for sports are the most likely group to be die-hard sports fans. Fans who became involved in participating in a sport themselves are next likely to be die-hard-sports-fans. Furthermore, those were who were inspired to follow sports because of their family or friends’ participation in sports or because they began playing a sport themselves are the most likely to currently play a sport.
Football + Family Tradition
Those who were inspired to follow sports due to family traditions were the most likely to indicate that their favorite sport is football. It is reasonable to assume that a key element that plays into this statistic is that football is the most popular sport in the world. It is common for families to gather together on the weekends to cook out and watch a game of football. The Super Bowl is a particularly popular event for family and friends to hold parties and gatherings.
Team + Player Loyalty
One of the most striking results that was found during the research involved one’s loyalty to a specific player or team. Those who were inspired to follow sports due to family or friends’ interest, passion, participation, or tradition were more likely to associate with one team or player per sport than those who were inspired due to individual reasons, such as seeing the sport live. In fact, an average of 44 percent of respondents began following sports because of family or friends associate with only one team or player per sport, compared to an average of 29 percent of individuals who began following sports due to individual reasons associate.
Inspiration vs. Age
It is also interesting to follow the trend between inspiration for following sports and age at which he or she began following sports. Sixty-eight percent of respondents who were inspired to follow sports because of their parents’ passion for a sport began following sports at age ten, while 54 percent of those who began following because they started playing a sport started following at age ten—53 percent of those who began following because it was always part of a family tradition began following sports at age ten or younger. Other reasons for following a sport generated a less-than-majority consensus.
It is crucial to remain updated and informed about sports fans’ beliefs and desires regarding their favorite sport. Recently there have been changes in the sports industry that have led to fans’ interest evolving. For this reason, it is helpful to understand fans’ current values and also other, less obvious details about a sports fan, such as the inspiration behind one’s interest in sports. This investigative mindset can lead to discoveries that would have otherwise been unknown and undervalued and can ensure that fans’ true interests are not overshadowed.