The Roar of the Crowd: How Interaction Ritual Chains Create Social Atmospheres

Tim Hill, Robin Canniford, Giana Eckhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (SciVal)
206 Downloads (Pure)


Atmospheres are experiences of place involving transformations of consumers’ behaviors and emotions. Existing marketing research reveals how atmospheric stimuli, service performances, and ritual place-making enhance place experiences and create value for firms. Yet it remains unclear how shared experiences of atmosphere emerge and intensify among groups of people during collective live events. Accordingly, this article uses sociological interaction ritual theory to conceptualize “social atmospheres”: rapidly changing qualities of place created when a shared focus aligns consumers’ emotions and behavior, resulting in lively expressions of collective effervescence. With data from an ethnography of an English Premier League football stadium, the authors identify a four-stage process of creating atmospheres in interaction ritual chains. This framework goes beyond conventional retail and servicescape design by demonstrating that social atmospheres are mobile and cocreated between firms and consumers before, during, and after a main event. The study also reveals how interaction rituals can be disrupted and offers insight as to how firms can balance key tensions in creating social atmospheres as a means to enhance customer experiences, customer loyalty, and communal place attachments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-139
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Marketing
Issue number3
Early online date21 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


  • atmospheres
  • emotional energy
  • emotions
  • entrainment‌
  • events
  • place
  • rituals
  • sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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