Consumers / Crowds / Fans / Nations

World Cup Watching

Fans

Professor Simon Chadwick

Posted: May 19, 2018

A SHORT GUIDE TO FOLLOWING – FANS

 WHAT IT IS

A fan is: “An enthusiastic devotee of some particular sports consumptive object…the fan has some level of attachment with an object related to sports. Fans manifest their attachment through specific behaviour toward the object. Further, that a fan is an enthusiastic consumer means that he or she is motivated to engage in behaviour related to sports. The sports consumptive object can be a sport in general, or a specific league, or team. Or the object can refer to a personality such as a player, coach/manager, broadcast announcer or other individual who has strong associations with a team or sport.” (Hunt, 1987)

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT

Historically, a western view of fans has tended to dominate the World Cup, with the world’s most passionate fans often being seen as European and South American. However, with Qatar set to host the next tournament, China seeking to become a global football power, Saudi Arabia set to start spending heavily on football, India showing signs of stronger engagement with the sport and others passionately engaged with football, World Cup fandom is evolving. This summer, fans will be a hot topic: 1) because fans in new territories and emerging markets are more actively engaging with football; and 2) because forthcoming World Cups will introduce a global audience to new ways of being a fan of teams competing in the tournament.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

Notwithstanding concerns about hooliganism (which may prove to be somewhat less of a problem than anticipated), one hopes that fandom will be manifest in more positive ways. German fans appear to have bought a large number of match tickets, though we should look towards emerging football nations like China and Vietnam to understand how global interest in the tournament is developing. It is worthwhile too monitoring online platforms, to observe how new categories of fan are following the World Cup. In an age where established sport and tournament formats are being devised, understanding how the competition fits into this new consumption landscape is important.

SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK

Worldwide, which national teams competing at the World Cup will be the most popular among fans, and how will this impact upon attitudes and behaviours?

What constitutes an emerging nation; in these terms, which are the emerging nations competing at the tournament; and what impact is this having on world football?

How will fandom evolve, grow and develop, especially with the likes of China, Qatar, India and Saudi Arabia investing heavily into football?

SOMETHING TO READ

Is Iran an emerging football nation? http://www.ejinsight.com/20180308-is-iran-an-emerging-football-nation/

Truth in engineering: how Germany beat Brazil and won a fanbase in China https://theconversation.com/truth-in-engineering-how-germany-beat-brazil-and-won-a-fanbase-in-china-28985

Why Chinese football fans will cheer Die Mannschaft at 2018 World Cup in Russiahttp://www.scmp.com/sport/china/article/2122433/why-chinese-football-fans-will-cheer-die-mannschaft-2018-world-cup

SOMETHING TO WATCH

Film 1 – Which teams will China’s football fans be watching at this summer’s World Cup? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4GKZSBxWyY&t=30s

 

 

About Professor Simon Chadwick

Simon is Professor of Sports Enterprise at Salford University in Manchester (UK), where he is also a Co-Director of the Centre for Sports Business. He is also a Founding Co-Director of the China Soccer Observatory and a Senior Fellow of the China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham (UK). He has worked in football across the world, for various organisations including companies, federations, and governments. He tweets via @Prof_Chadwick