What Makes Sport Spectating Family-Friendly? A Phenomenological Study of Mothers’ Sport Fan Game-Day Experiences

in Journal of Sport Management

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Katherine SveinsonUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, USA

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Kim ToffolettiDeakin University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

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Sport organizations are developing family-friendly spectator initiatives to boost engagement and sales to parents and children. While the number of women sport fans continues to grow, research has yet to explore how women, as mothers and fans, experience fandom. Informed by a maternal geography framework, this study explores women’s understanding of what does or does not make game-day experiences family-friendly by presenting the accounts of 15 women from North America and Australia who are sport fans and mothers. Interpretive phenomenological analysis is utilized to investigate how mothering as a spatially informed care practice shapes the perspectives of what constitutes a family-friendly sport spectating experience. Findings identify key components of the physical, structural, and social environments of women’s experiences of family-friendly sport fandom, as well as exposing that what is presumed to be family-friendly is not the same as mother-friendly.

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