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They are the lifeblood of professional sports and the only reason why anybody in the industry receives a check. In an industry of this size and scope connecting to and sustaining a devoted fan base is an opportunity AND a major challenge, especially when your competitors are engaging in an all-out battle for the hearts, time, attention and wallets … Today, sports fans everywhere are changing how they express their support and spend their time and money.

Kearney study today’s global sports industry is worth between €350 billion and €450 billion (0-0 billion).

Fortunately, there’s hope; this awesome post by Cristina Goyanes (@Xstina Goyanes) points out that being a sports fan provides you with a perfect workout, inspires you to get more active, makes you live longer, enhances your relationship and … Only when kids are around 8 or 9 years old, after they’ve developed the skill of concrete operational thinking; they’re capable of developing an emotional, long-term attachment to a sport, team, or particular athlete. Sam Sommers (@samsommers), Professor at Tufts University and expert on the psychology of everyday life, explains in this great post why it might be a good idea to raise your kids to be sports fans (amongst other reasons, because sports are great for family bonding and teach kids important lessons about perseverance).

Usually kids would first get attached to a particular sport, then to a team and then to a player. Although, according to Marc Cuban and the Mavs anything is better than “ Professor Daniel Wann, a psychologist at Murray State University in Kentucky has published several studies and some great books on Fan Psychology.

A child’s main influences (socializing agents) throughout this process include their family (father, mother, or an older sibling), media and their personal sports participation (playing with friends, at school or at their local club). He points out that not every fan is equally involved and devised the Sport Fan Motivation Scale which isolates 8 major motives for becoming a sports fan: eustress (postitive stress), escape, entertainment, economic, aesthetic, group affiliation, self-esteem, and family needs and also presented the fan involvement ladder.

Federations, leagues and teams should prioritize facilitating the (digital / social) interaction between these socializing agents and the 7, 8 and 9 years olds around them. It’s designed to illustrate the degrees of fan intensity and help sports decision makers determine how to increase fan involvement, moving fans from lower to higher levels on the ladder.

, meaning as much as “insanely but divinely inspired”.

True fans are committed from the cradle to the grave. Think about your fondest memories at a sporting event.They tattoo their skin, sing, start their own religion and use their cash (or their stun-gun) to express their – almost – unconditional love for their favourite team. We don’t sell the game; we sell unique, emotional experiences. We are in the business of giving you a chance to create shared experiences.” Its fantastic to share experiences with your kids and most parents feel they’re doing their kids a big favour by introducing them to sports; ‘the school of life’.According to this post on ‘the smoking jacket’ (@This Is TSJ) by Mark Hill, being a sports fan makes you; a fat alcoholic, dumb and a moody douche bag. Jeffrey James describes the process kids go through when they convert to being . Sports are perfectly suited to focus on results, enjoy the essence of teamwork, learn that practice makes perfect, how to play by the rules and respect authority, win with grace and loose with dignity.Considering the enormous lifetime value of every ‘new fan’; developing experiences, competitions, applications and social media networks specifically targeting this particular demographic, will certainly be worth the investment. Professor Wann also found that some fans find a sense of belonging and acceptance in the sports that they haven’t been able to find in their life; “So many of the traditional institutions are beginning to break down, religion and family.As Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (@mcuban) explains; “Think back to the first professional sporting event you ever went to. The human psyche is the same and something has to take the place of that.Sports fill an important void.” Some psychologists claim that fan psychology is rooted in primitive times when we lived in small tribes, and warriors fighting to protect our tribe were true genetic representatives of “our people”.

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