This article studies the meaning of social relationships to hardcore football fans and investigates how these relationships affect fan behavior. Ethnographic field work included in-depth interviews and observations in stadiums, fan busses, and fan trains, which were videotaped. The results of the study suggest that the community of football fans shares a lot of similarities with brand communities and (sub) cultures of consumption. Like in other consumption worlds, football clubs provide a basis for identification for football fans that share rituals and escape from everyday role models. Football stadiums, fan busses, and fan trains represent linking places where social relationships can be built and maintained. Loyalty to other fans simultaneously increases loyalty to the club; therefore, clubs should care for opportunities that function as linking places where bonds between individuals can be established. Therefore the traditional economic perspective on a sport event as a team product is less appropriate than the perspective of latest sport management approaches where sport events are regarded as platforms where social actors co-create value.
|Title of host publication||The Global Football Industry : Marketing Perspectives|
|Editors||James J. Zhang, Brenda G. Pitts|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|
|Series||World association for sport management series|