Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity

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Inventing Team Tradition: A Conceptual Model for the Strategic Development of Fan Nations

By: K. Ready

Foster & Hyatt (2008) focus on the fandom, examining what drives a fan to like a team, and how important fans are for sports teams.

An integral question posed in the article is: “How can a professional sport manager build a fan base of loyal, non-local fans?”. Three ways to analyze this question are:

1) How does one build a “Fan Nation”

2) How Tradition is embedded into a Fan Nation

3) One must understand their fans, and the psychology behind

Within the article, Foster and Hyatt attempt break down exactly what a constitutes a: Fan Nation. They explore the idea of fandom as a sense of belonging. Is someone a fan because they lack inclusion in their lifestyle therefore? Do they become a fan for the  purpose of feeling a sense of belonging to a certain group or crowd? Or does being a fan provide a chance to break free from the problems currently going on in the world? Further, sociologist R. Neelly Bellah stated in the article that he thought fan nations hinder society because they divide society into smaller more segmented groups or “cliques”.

Foster and Hyatt go on to explain that in order to build a Fan Nation, sport managers must understand what a fan base consists of. They argue that there are 5 potential members of a Fan Nation:

1) The Unaware Potential Fan – Completely unaware the team even exists

2) Somewhat Aware Potential Fan – Are aware of the team, but do not care for the team

3) Memorabilia Fan – This fan buys the memorabilia but does not care whether the team succeeds or fails

4) Attracted Fan – These fans follow the team, but do not have enough feelings to consider themselves a strong fan

5) Allegiant Fan – These are the fans that follow a team’s every move, and will defend the team no matter what is going on. These are also known as “Die-Hard Fans”

]Foster and Hyatt further propose that tradition must be embedded within a team for a fan nation to exist. They use the example of the Edmonton Oilers, where their third jersey is not only a representation of the current team, but also the history of the team. They identify this as a key point toward attracting fans from outside the city of the team (in this case, outside of Edmonton).

Further questions raised:

1) If you were to be appointed a GM of a professional sports team, how would you plan to grow your fan base?

2) Fan bases in popular culture can depend on so many things, such as culture, team location, players, jersey colors, etc. What do you think is the most important factor in building a fanbase?

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ESPN ranks all 122 professional sport franchises in North America

These rankings combine fan opinions with an objective measure of how well teams turn dollars into wins.

Criteria were:

Affordability (11.3%): Price of tickets, parking and concessions

Coaching (3.2%): Strength of on-field leadership

Fan relations (25%): Courtesy by players, coaches and front office toward fans, plus how well a team uses technology to reach fans

Ownership (13.1%): Honesty; loyalty to core players and the local community

Players (14.6%): Effort on the field, likability off it

Stadium experience (9.8%): Quality of arena; fan-friendliness of environment; frequency of game-day promotions

Title track (4.6%): Championships won or expected within the lifetime of current fans

Bang for the buck (18.3%): Wins in the past two years per fan dollar, adjusted for league schedules

Spoiler alert:

Rated last (#122 of 122) was: 



The Growing Phenomenon of Fantasy Sports

Thank you everyone for the discussion on Fantasy Sports. Anyone looking for  more information on fantasy sports, we recommend viewing the videos  posted below. The link to the “Fantasy Files” videos is there as well, if you were interested in checking them out.

– Chris Bilensky & Dylan Wright

 ESPN 30 for 30 – Silly Little Game:

This is a documentary done by ESPN that follows Ben Oekren and his group of friends that started the first baseball rotisserie league. Its is a very good documentary that shows the transformation of fantasy sports and how it can grow from a silly little game into an obsession.

Fantasy Sports Trade Association:

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association follows all things fantasy sports. On their website you can view demographic information, conference information, advertising opportunities and news.

The League:

For anyone who is looking for a hilarious television show to watch while learning a little bit about how a fantasy football league works, this is the show for you. The League follows six fantasy football players that go to extreme lengths to win their fantasy league. If you need a break from studying during exam season, I would highly recommend this show. It can be found on Netflix and the link to the first episode is posted above for Youtube.

Jobs in Fantasy Sports:

Here is a link to view current employment opportunities in the fantasy sports industry. Although they are not local, primarily all organizations are looking for applicants with Sports Managment backgrounds.

NFL Fantasy Files:

In 2009, Reebok and the NFL partnered up to promote their fantasy football platform with their “Pick Me” campaign. It was a huge success and since those ads were aired, the amount of fantasy sports players in North America has doubled.

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Kin 6300 Discussion – Inventing team tradition: A conceptual model for the strategic development of fan Nations

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.

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Who’s Watching Sport? A Look into the Viewing Demographic of Sport in North America


As a graduating undergraduate in RSS, an article I would recommend reading is:

Thompson, D. (2014, February 10). Which Sports Have the Whitest/Richest/Oldest Fans? The Atlantic. Retrieved from

This article looks at the demographic breakdown of who is viewing sport in North America. From gender, to age, ethnicity, and income, Thompson breaks down each of the professional sporting organizations in North America and who’s is watching their product. The demand for sport in North America is at an all time high. Thirty-four of the thirty-five most watched TV shows from last fall in the United States were NFL games (Thompson, 2014).

Besides the games being played, there are several aspects of a sports broadcast that appeal to fans. The increased inclusion of modern day technology has made watching sports live an experience like no other. We are getting closer to the feeling of being on the field witnessing the game.  The National Association of Broadcaster’s trade show, held annually,  unveils new technologies in the world of broadcasting. Here’s what’s in store for the future broadcasting of sport.

Sport is becoming more popular in North America and is the focal point of live cable television. But which sports attract which types of demographics? And which sports will become more popular in the future.

If you would like to read this article you can find it here: Which Sports Have the Whitest/Richest/Oldest Fans?