Fans from a Distance: How Sports Fans Build and Maintain Their Fandom From Abroad

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Abstract

Sports fans have, historically, been theorized based on their connection to a local club, with space and distance important factors in maintaining a sports fandom. Yet, in the digital age, we can see that fandom has gone global, which is true not only for large global brands but smaller franchises as well. US Sports, due to the fixed nature of the professional leagues (without the relegation system typical of European sport, for example) creates a brand loyalty that is only partially connected to the geographical location – especially in franchises that have moved often. Yet, fans of US sports, once so attached, seem to stay attached and participate in their fandom from a distance. Sometimes this is represented by attending games when they ‘return home’ or when their franchise visits. Other fans use online communities to function as a space in which their fandom can thrive. In local (though global through the internet), fans contribute to the maintenance of the fan community, commenting, producing original content (articles, fan art, games, etc) related to the fan product. This paper will discuss these types of fans, considering the use of fan labor, the role of discussions of fandom, and compare the world of online sports fandom to the much-theorized media fandom. It will further discuss the organization of some of these fan-run blogs, their migration to larger corporate owned sites (SB Nation, FanSided), and the role that such a profit-making venture affects fandom. The paper takes its methodological stance in ethnographic and autoethnographic models, and the larger project will include interviews with members of the blog (Halos Heaven – Los Angeles Angels Baseball) to gain insight for their motivations for participating/running such blogs.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Publikationsdato2019
StatusUdgivet - 2019
BegivenhedFan Studies Network Conference 2019 - University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, Storbritannien
Varighed: 28 jun. 201929 jun. 2019

Konference

KonferenceFan Studies Network Conference 2019
LokationUniversity of Portsmouth
Land/OmrådeStorbritannien
ByPortsmouth
Periode28/06/201929/06/2019

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