Does It Matter if Sport Fans “Root for the Home Team?” A Test of the Team Identification–Social Psychological Health Model

in Journal of Sport Management

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Benjamin J.I. Schellenberg Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada

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Patrick Gaudreau School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada

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The team identification–social psychological health model outlines that fans of local sport teams are more likely to experience feelings of social connectedness compared with fans of distant teams. We tested this proposition across two sufficiently powered studies. In both studies, sport fans (Study 1: N = 291, Study 2: N = 430) completed online surveys assessing their levels of identification with a favorite sport team and social connections derived from their fandom for that team. Team localness was operationalized based on team location (Study 1) or responses to survey questions assessing team localness (Study 2). In both studies, the positive association between team identification and social connectedness was not moderated by team localness. This research contributes to the team identification–social psychological health model and our general understanding of fan behavior by showing that the social benefits of being a highly identified sport fan are not limited to fans of local teams.

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