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Andre M. Andrijiw and Craig G. Hyatt

In an attempt to understand the lived experiences of those individuals who grew up within the fan region of one professional hockey team yet chose instead to identify with a nonlocal alternative, the authors interviewed 20 Ontario (Canada) based fans of distant National Hockey League teams. Utilizing Brewer’s (1991, 2003) theory of optimal distinctiveness to examine the stories of participants, it was found that these fans maintained their team allegiances over time because doing so allowed them to achieve feelings of both uniqueness and belongingness. Sport managers can help facilitate feelings of belongingness by utilizing various communication and marketing strategies to better recognize and include their distant fans. Such strategies should ultimately result in the strengthening of the fan-team bond.

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Craig G. Hyatt and William M. Foster

A de-escalation of team fandom model was created based on identity work theory. To both test the model and understand how once highly identified fans of sports teams could eventually become non-fans, 23 former fans of National Hockey League (NHL) teams were interviewed. The reasons given for their de-escalation in fandom can be categorized into seven themes: sport in general, the sport of hockey, the league, the team, individual players, media, and life. For those fans who remain fans of the sport, watching national teams play in international competition has been a common practice in the years since the bond with their former favorite NHL team was severed. While only a minority of participants believes it realistically possible they could ever become NHL team fans again in the future, some suggested their children or grandchildren might pull them back into fandom.

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Keegan Dalal, Lindee Declercq, Megan C. Piché, Craig G. Hyatt, and Michael L. Naraine

While many teams face difficult decisions regarding their branding, this case emphasizes how external factors can dictate marketing strategies. The Montreal Expos returning to Major League Baseball poses many threats and opportunities for the Toronto Blue Jays. As a result, the Blue Jays must reconsider their use of national identity in their branding—and whether it is appropriate to transition from being Canada’s only team to now sharing the market with the Expos. Nevertheless, the Expos’ return to Major League Baseball provides the Blue Jays with an opportunity to explore new marketing strategies. Case participants are tasked with repositioning the Blue Jays’ marketing strategy in response to the Expos’ return.