Classifying Sport Consumers: From Casual to Tribal Fans

David Hedlund, Rui Biscaia, Maria do Carmo Leal

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


Sport fans rarely attend sporting events alone. While traditional consumer and sport fan behavior research often examines fans based on demographic characteristics, recent advances in understanding how sport fans co-create and co-consume sporting events provides substantial evidence that sports fansshould be examined as tribal groups. Tribal sport fan groups can be identified based on seven dimensions, including membership; geographic sense of community; social recognition; shared rivalry; and shared knowledge of symbols, rituals and traditions, and people. In this research, these seven dimensionsare used to classify sport fans (n=1505) through hierarchical and k-cluster analyses. The results of the cluster analyses using the seven dimensions suggest six unique clusters, labelled as (1) casual fans, (2) moderate remote fans, (3) moderate local fans, (4) local developing tribal fans, (5) remote tribal fans,and (6) tribal fans. A discussion of these six fan groups and the implications regarding associations with demographics and other important variables are provided.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on the Impact of Fandom in Society and Consumerism
EditorsC.L Wang
Place of PublicationUnited States
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages34
ISBN (Print)9781799810483
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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