Does Being a Sport Fan Provide Meaning in Life?

in Journal of Sport Management
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  • 1 University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • | 2 Florida State University
  • | 3 Murray State University
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Adding to research on team identification and well-being, inquiry into meaning in life and team identification could illuminate how sport fandom impacts consumers’ lives. In the current study, an instrumental case study design was used to explore how team identification impacts meaning in life, focusing on significance. Participant diaries and interviews with identified fans of a professional women’s basketball team revealed that connecting with family and friends, supporting women’s sport, and enhancing mental health via support of the team were sources of significance in participants’ lives. The findings illustrate that meaning in life is not necessarily experienced just from being a highly identified fan. Instead, specific elements of one’s connection to the team provide meaning. The findings also highlight the importance of close relationships over imaginary intimate relationships, impacting social justice among fans of women’s sport, and how mental health via fandom may provide older adults significance.

Delia is with the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, USA. James is with the Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA. Wann is with the Murray State University, Murray, KY, USA.

Delia (edelia@isenberg.umass.edu) is corresponding author.
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