Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research on team loyalty yields new insight into 'die-hard' fandom

Date:
September 9, 2010
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
There's a reason why some sports fans are referred to as "die-hards" -- even after they move away, their loyalty to their hometown team endures, according to new research.

There's a reason why some sports fans are referred to as "die-hards" -- even after they move away, their loyalty to their hometown team endures, according to research by two University of Illinois professors.

Related Articles


Scott Tainsky and Monika Stodolska, professors of recreation, sport and tourism, say new residents of a community maintain an attachment to their old team or former city as a way of asserting their identity after they move.

"People new to a city don't just adopt their new hometown's team as a way to acclimate themselves in a new community," Tainsky said. "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."

The study, published in Social Science Quarterly, looks at the stability of fan identification among individuals who relocate, and whether that identification represents an actual bond between fan, team or city. The researchers found that new population inflow, regardless of whether it's domestic transplants moving to a new city or international immigrants moving to the U.S., was not associated with an increase in television ratings for NFL broadcasts in the new city.

"I think we tend to think of groups of fans as static groups," Tainsky said.

"But one thing we know is that the number of times the average U.S. citizen moves in their lifetime is close to 12 times. Most of the time, those moves are within the same metropolitan area, or within the same state. But between 2.2 and 2.7 percent of the population moved from state-to-state annually. So we have to understand not just the people who've lived somewhere for a while, but also the motivations of this large group of new people."

Tainsky and Stodolska also discovered that individuals who previously resided in a market were more likely to tune into a telecast featuring a team representing their former city, but only when the game was being held in their former city of residence.

Tainsky says this accounts for why some sports teams have large fan diasporas spread across the country -- why there are, for example, Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Cubs fans nationwide. It's also consistent with existing research that teams that have been in the marketplace longer have an extremely loyal fan base.

"Since it takes a long time to establish a bond between fan and team, a team's stability in the marketplace only adds to its popularity," Tainsky said. "So if you're watching a game in your new city, you have no relationship with your new city, and are going be less likely to have any interest in the team."

Unless, Tainsky said, the new team is playing an away game against the old beloved home team, and only then when the game is played in the previous hometown. That's something that a network executive would probably like to take into account, knowing that so many people have left a city, and only broadcasting those games if the contest was held in a certain city.

"Our study shows that the action on the field alone may not be sufficient to get recent migrants to tune in," Tainsky said. "Nostalgia for their old hometown does seem to play a role in people's consumption choices, so those sorts of things do add value to the experience."

For international immigrants, sports may serve as one of the cultural markers linking them to their place of origin. Mexican immigrants in Chicago, for example, would be very keen to watch games of their national team played abroad and when Mexican soccer teams come to the U.S.

"International migrants watch the games broadcast from their home country not only for the experience of watching the game but also because of very strong nostalgic feelings to their home city and country," Stodolska said.

Interest in following the teams of one's home country wanes somewhat among the second-generation immigrants, who are more likely to adopt mainstream American sports teams such as baseball, American football and basketball, Stodolska said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Research on team loyalty yields new insight into 'die-hard' fandom." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100908094930.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2010, September 9). Research on team loyalty yields new insight into 'die-hard' fandom. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100908094930.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Research on team loyalty yields new insight into 'die-hard' fandom." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100908094930.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins