Fan Support of Sport Teams: The Effect of a Common Group Identity

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 University of Pittsburgh
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Previous research in sport psychology has shown a connection between fan support of sport teams and overall team success by focusing on factors that influence the frequency of fan attendance. The present study examined the impact of fan identification as another determinant of fan support that may operate independent of structural factors such as win-loss record or actual fan attendance. College undergraduates (N=120) completed a survey of student activities that contained measures of collective esteem and ingroup identification in terms of their university affiliation. Subjects indicated the number of games attended and provided evaluations of the university's basketball and football teams. Results indicated that aspects of collective group identity significantly predict fan support in terms of attendance and overall evaluation of both sport teams. Also, level of group identification predicted attitudinal support of teams regardless of actual fan attendance. Implications for the connection of fan identity to more general forms of ingroup identification are discussed.

Audrey J. Murrell is with the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, and Beth Dietz is with the Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260.

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