The natural life cycle of sports fans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Sports fans’ devotion and commitment to their team is well documented in the literature. Sports fanhood is described as a dominant component of fans’ identity, which is possibly why it is considered a comprehensive unqualified practice whose stability is undisputed. The current study examines whether and to what extent it is possible to identify fluctuations and changes in the nature and intensity of sports fanhood throughout fans’ lives. On the basis of variables taken from relevant models and interviews with soccer fans of various ages, the current study proposes an overarching view of the sports fan life cycle. As the heading for this model, the use of the life cycle concept is intentional: By tapping into various stages of this process, this study identifies an evolving reality that repeatedly reproduces itself in cyclic fashion over specific stages in a fan’s lifetime. Theoretically and practically, fanhood neither begins nor does it end at a specific point in time: Its dynamic nature encompasses processes that recur over a fan’s life and are passed down from one generation to the next. The proposed model enhances our understanding of the deep significance of sports fanhood and its role in fans’ lives as individuals, and as members of a family and members of a team or club.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalSport in Society
StatePublished - 2020


  • Sport
  • family
  • fans
  • life-cycle
  • model


Dive into the research topics of 'The natural life cycle of sports fans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this