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Moving beyond fan typologies: The impact of social integration on team loyalty in football

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The purpose of this paper is to develop detailed insight into loyalty among football fans of Hibernian FC, moving beyond typologies to a more socially grounded approach. Issues explored include patterns of consumption, distinctions between fan groups, and antecedents of loyalty. The origins and development of the club are evaluated, and consumer fanaticism, football fan loyalty, consumption behaviour, and the sociological impact of fan communities are discussed. Data were collected using a variety of methods, including participant observation, in-depth interviews, and analysis of websites and fan forums. Key findings relate to the impact of family and community influences on loyalty, initial experiences of developing associations with the club, through to the impact of socialisation, and the lived experience of being a supporter. A supporter matrix is constructed as a portrayal of the loyalty found at the club. A range of theoretical implications is considered, and the matrix promoted as a tool for understanding loyalty in clubs with similar social structures and community connections.

Keywords: case study; consumption; fanaticism; football; loyalty

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Stirling, Stirling, UK

Publication date: 2014-03-03

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