Title: Becoming fans abroad: a qualitative study of soccer fan socialisation

Authors: Elizabeth B. Delia; Matthew Katz

Addresses: Isenberg School of Management, UMass Amherst, 121 Presidents Drive, 255C, Amherst, MA 01003, USA ' Isenberg School of Management, UMass Amherst, 121 Presidents Drive, 255C, Amherst, MA 01003, USA

Abstract: Although much is known about how individuals are socialised into sport fandom during their youth (via family and peer groups), little is known about individuals socialised into sport fandom as adults. Recognising globalisation and the increasing popularity of soccer as a spectator sport worldwide, in the current study we conducted focus groups with adults in the USA to understand how they became soccer fans. We found that those socialised into fandom as adults did so via exposure to the sport while travelling to places where the sport was central to the local sport culture. For these individuals, becoming a soccer fan via cultural immersion provided them a sense of belonging and uniqueness while travelling. While maintaining fandom once returning from travel is a challenge for some, the socialisation via travel finding has important implications for sport teams and leagues looking to expand their global reach.

Keywords: consumer behaviour; focus groups; soccer; socialisation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2019.104144

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2019 Vol.19 No.5/6, pp.313 - 329

Received: 26 May 2017
Accepted: 25 Jun 2018

Published online: 20 Dec 2019 *

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