Outgroup fanship in Australia and New Zealand


Psychology Department, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand


The hypothesis was explored that, as a consequence of the asymmetrical relationship that exists between Australia and New Zealand, Australians will more consistently support New Zealand against third-party sports teams than will New Zealanders support Australia. The hypothesis was supported in two studies in which participants in each country rank-ordered a list of 12 teams (including Australia and New Zealand) from most to least favoured to win various sporting events. New Zealanders were more polarised in their rankings of Australia than vice versa, and the rankings were related to the similarity participants perceived between the two countries. The results are consistent with differences in the amount of attention the two countries pay to each other and with the way success or failure in third-party competitions may impact on the social identity and self-esteem of sporting fans in the two countries.