Identifying With Winners: A Reexamination of Sport Fans’ Tendency to BIRG1

Authors


  • 1

    Portions of this research were presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, Illinois, and at the annual meeting of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, Cleveland, Ohio.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Christian M. End, Department of Psychology, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056. E-mail: endcm@muohio.edu

Abstract

This investigation examined whether or not sport fans are more likely to identify with successful teams than unsuccessful teams. College students (N= 78) were asked to list the sport teams with which they identified in order of personal preference. Using numerous criteria and the teams’ performances during their previous season, participant-listed teams were deemed as being successful or unsuccessful. The results showed that fans were more likely to identify with successful teams than unsuccessful teams. A positive relationship also was found between fan preference (favorite team) and the success of the team. Fans’ tendencies to bask in reflected glory (BIRG) suggest that these sport fan identities may be premeditated for self-presentational benefits. These results are discussed in the context of social identity theory.

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