This past October the 14th our KIN 6300 class took a look at Sport Marketing, Focusing in the Invention of team tradition and the process to build Fan Nations. There has been ground breaking development in technology that has allowed teams to expand their horizons toward a much bigger source of supporters. Now teams do not need to just focus on local fans but could go out and attract fans world-wide.
1) Build a Fan Nation
1.1) Why are Fan Nations formed?
The first step here is to understand why these Nations are formed. Among the most common answers inside the literature is that members look for a sense of belonging. Since Life itself is growing distant, and social touch is reduced as time passes by. The membership to a group helps to fill that void.
1.2) What is a Fan Nation
After mentioning some reasons for Nations to form, we could continue to define what a fan Nation is. According to Benedict Anderson (2006), all nations are in fact imagined communities, because most of the members will never meet but in the minds of each one, lives the image of their communion. Sport fans comprise a nation because they share a common image of what it means to be a fan
Continuing on the subject of fandom, sports marketer and researchers have developed stages of classification for sports consumer that go like this:
1- Awareness: A person can not be a fan if said person doesn´t know that the team exists.
2- Attraction: The moment a person decides certain team is their favorite.
3- Attachment: When the team is psychologically meaningful to the fan.
4- Allegiance: Commitment reaches to a level in which it affects their cognition. (Completely devoted)
2) Invention of tradition
Is the method through which a team can create cohesiveness among the community resulting in a ritual that could bring the community together to support the team.
2.1) How are traditions invented?
In order to create tradition, that will have a considerable impact, it should go along three factors.
1-Reference a suitable historic past.
2- The tradition needs to be connected to norms of the suitable referenced past.
3-Traditions should be vague in meaning.
3) Transition between different stages of fandom
The invention of tradition is a process that sports organizations can use to increase and protect the size of a Fan Nation. Said process is directed to simplify the transition of the fans through the stages of fandom.
3.1) From no-aware to aware.
To increase the exposure of children to the team, the key is to do it through their parents, but to increase exposure for adults, socialization is the most effective method so far.
3.2) From awareness to attraction.
The easiest path to achieve this progression is to let the environment work its magic, this means letting the potential member attend a game and allowing the external factors such as stadium environment and excitement of the game push the person to be attracted to the team.
3.3) From attraction to attachment
The sport manager needs to build on the attraction momentum, and reinforce the bond the fan already has with the team. The article suggests that a link to the past is the most effective method in this stage, focusing on establishing and reinforcing the values that the past event promotes.
3.4) From Attachment to allegiance
The objective here is to make the team the focal point of fan´s lives. The invention of tradition plays a key role here since is the method that serves the purpose of solidifying commitment to a particular community. These traditions give the impression to fans that they share collective memories, values and emotions.