Being from the state of Alabama, I have grown up my whole life not really having a dog in the fight. We do not have any major professional sports teams in our state. Sure, there are fans of professional sports teams that live in Alabama, but their passion doesn’t match the passion that is exuded over college sports—particularly college football. Literally, during bowl season, the Alabama television markets are by far the biggest watchers of even the most obscure bowl game. However, this is an article about professional sports, so let’s get to the point so that we can begin discussion.
There are supposedly three (3) major sports leagues in the United States; though I’d argue that there are only two (2)—the NFL and the NBA. Given that, people follow those sports for a variety of reasons. Below of the three main reasons:
(1) Team | If you live in metros like Boston, San Antonio, or Denver, then you follow your particular teams because you live there and are immersed in the frenzy all year long. Also, transplants of those types of metros tend to follow their favorite teams even while in another state or country. Then of course, you have the random fans who follow teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers even though they aren’t even sure what state Pittsburgh is actually in (it is Pennsylvania, for the record).
(2) Player | Blame it on unrestricted free agency, fiery fantasy sports, or wholesome hometown pride, but individual players or sets of players are followed now more than ever. Our favorite players connect directly to us through Facebook and Twitter—connectivity that fans from the 1980s and 90s could only imagine. Heck, some of these athletes even have their own mobile apps!
This individual player fandom is probably most prevalent in the NBA, but it can exist in other sports too.
(3) Storylines | Do remember last year’s NFL season? There were people who have hated Peyton Manning since his freshman year at the University of Tennessee who all of a sudden were pulling for Peyton Manning. Why? He had a great storyline. He was trying to achieve the impossible—come back from a near career-ending neck surgery and win a Super Bowl in perhaps his final year in the league. All eyes were on the Denver Broncos. So many eyes that even casual fans were paying attention. Be careful though: fandom of this genre tends to have the briefest shelf life—once the amazing story is over, the fans disappear.
So what type of fan are you? Why? #teamfan #playerfan #storylinefan