The purpose of this research proposal is to identify and understand
what motivates individuals into becoming passionate supporters of their local
football teams and why they attend the matches.
It’s important to know who goes to football grounds because
if a club know the people who attends, they’ll want to get more of these people
coming to see the games. Moreover, from a business stand point, a football club
will want to know who isn’t attending their games – therefore they will want to
put a marketing campaign around those who don’t come. From a business
perspective, knowing who your customers are is important because they allow you
to plan for your business and they are the primary revenue source.
The need for this research proposal is because it’s important
for a football club to know how to create a strong brand image. In order to
create a continuous revenue stream, a football clubs brand is vital to this.
The benefits that will derive from this research proposal is
that the CEO and board members of football clubs will know what methods to
undertake when trying to attract more fans to come to their games. (needs referencing)
This research proposal will specifically be looking at non-league
football fans. Dulwich Hamlets is a semi-professional football club located in
South London – and are playing in the 7th tier of English football. This
is a club that’s doing really well, getting far bigger crowds than others in
Questions, Aims and Objectives
Who are they – Gender, age, ethnicity, income,
Why do you watch and what do you like about football?
To uncover the reasonings of Dulwich Hamlets football fans
motivation of attending non-league football matches.
To develop a hard copy survey to measure the
characteristics of footballs fans in order to conduct a research.
To select an appropriate time of when to conduct the
To get an accurate and fair representation of the
Dulwich Hamlets fans.
“Die Hard” Fans
For the majority, attending football events are for casual
fans and is used as a source of entertainment – however, it’s much more than
just entertainment to a “die hard” fan.
A die-hard fan is what every football club need. They demonstrate
loyalty by following the club on social media and staying up to date, buy
merchandise and tickets and travel across the country to support their team
(Smith and Stewart 2007). Without these fans, the organisation will fail.
It has been researched that every year more die-hard fans are
becoming more common (Laverie and Arnett, 2000). If you become a die-hard fan,
then you’ll stay loyal to the club and become motivated to attend.
Loyal fans are more likely to try and recruit new fans
(Bauer, Stokburger-Sauer, & Exler, 2008). This is only beneficial to a
football cub because the more fans they have, more revenue will be coming in.
Wann (1995) conducted a research to uncover the reasonings as
to why someone becomes a fan and why they attend the games – this was known as
the Sport Fan Motivation Scale (SFMS).
The factors that Wann gathered were then updated by Smith and
Stewart (2007) and the following are the results:
The motivation scale that Wann conducted demonstrated that when
fans affiliate their emotions with the team’s performances, their self-esteem
increases. Fans and players share the same emotions – whether the team is
successful or has failed. The emotional rollercoaster that fans experience is
what they live for. (Brown, 2007) said that if you’re a fan of a team, you go
through the pain and struggle all for that one moment when your team wins.
Watching your team win a trophy after all the games you’ve witnessed makes the
fans feel like they’ve won it with the players. Winning is an indescribable
feeling and experiencing those emotions will make fans want to keep attending.
It was found in a research from Wann (1995) that
entertainment is an important factor when it comes to a person’s loyalty. If a
fan doesn’t feel entertained, then they’re not satisfied. In Wann’s (1995)
research, there was a question from a survey in which 85% of the partakers answered
yes to “I enjoy sports because of their entertainment value” (p382).
Entertainment from matches can include loud chants, acts of
suspense and solidarity. Attending matches to watch the games isn’t the only
way of being entertained – fans can sit outside of grounds with a pint of beer
and connect with other fans, this will boost the excitement before the game
starts (Smith & Stewart, 2007).
Having been to a non-league football game a few months ago,
witnessing fans outside the ground chanting, demonstrated that entertainment is
a main factor in a person’s fan loyalty.
The majority of football fans live a ‘normal’ life, with
standard working hours. This can result in stress, therefore if they have an
event to attend where they can support their favourite team, they’ll take that
opportunity to escape everyday life and remain in high spirits. Passionate fans
will always chant and cheer when at games, this is the only time they can do
this act and further increases their escape from everyday life (Smith &
Fans uses sports to be affiliated within an exclusive group
to unite together to support their favourite team. This creates a strong bond and
togetherness within the fanbase. When similar fans come together to cheer for
the same team, a sense of togetherness permeates the group (Murrell &
Singing the same songs, wearing the same uniform – these are
factors that give a fan the feeling of group affiliation within the community
(Smith & Stewart, 2007).
Every fan has a team they dislike. For example, Dulwich
Hamlets fans will hate Dorking Wanderers. This is because they’re both from
South London and play in the same league. Thus, when these two teams play each
other, both sets of fans will create an exciting atmosphere and they’ll want to
beat one another. This will mean that the fans will merge as one and help
support their team, creating a strong togetherness.
If you feel the love from the people surrounding you, in a place
where you feel a connection with, this will make any fan want to return.