Over the past few years (with a time out during COVID), the Emory Marketing Analytics Center has collaborated with the Atlanta professional sports franchises to research Atlanta sports fandom. The survey is unique as it combines data on fans of each team. This coverage across the NFL, MLS, NBA, MLB, and WNBA means we can compare how fandom works across some very different fanbases. We greatly appreciate the participation of the clubs and the survey respondents. We feature the data in Emory classes on sports marketing and sports analytics.
I will be using this URL to report selected findings from the survey. Our coverage will focus on the fundamentals of fandom. The goal is to provide results that illuminate the essential human trait of fandom rather than give a detailed breakdown of Atlanta fans. Check back once in a while, as I will be updating this page regularly over the next few weeks as the data is collected.
As a starting point (as we wait for this year’s data), I can offer some results from a nationwide survey we conducted last year on generational fandom differences. One part of this survey asked about overall fandom for sports. The figure below reports the percentage of each generation (Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) that indicated very positive attitudes towards sports (Avid Fans) and the percentage that expressed very negative attitudes toward sports (Anti).
The figure tells an essential story about fandom in 2022. While older generations express strong interest in sports, Gen Z has more “Anti” fans than “Avid” fans. This figure is a striking data point for the sports industry and the broader culture. Sports fandom may no longer be a given, and the sports industry needs to attract and build a loyal fan following. It's also a culturally fascinating moment. Sports fandom has previously united people across political, racial, and religious lines. What does it mean if sports fandom is no longer widespread?
Much more to come…