Comparing the Identity Centrality of Sport Team Identification and Sport Fandom


  • Daniel Wann Murray State University
  • Frederick Grieve Western Kentucky University
  • Ted Peetz Belmont University
  • Ryan Zapalac Sam Houston State University


sport fandom, team identification, centrality


Although researchers have established the importance of understanding and considering both sport fandom and team identification within the lives of fans, direct comparisons of the importance of these variables within fans has yet to be sufficiently investigated.  The current study was designed to compare the identity centrality of two critical components of sport fandom: sport fandom (the extent to which an individual identifies with the role of sport fan) and team identification (the extent to which a fan feels a psychological connection to a team).  Specifically, we were interested in the extent to which the roles of sport fan and team follower (i.e., fan of a certain team) were central to the self-identities of fans.  Participants were college students (N = 567) who completed a questionnaire packet containing demographics items, assessments of their sport fandom, and assessments of their team identification.  The findings were consistent across multiple assessments of centrality: team identification was more central to one’s identity than general sport fandom but there were no differences between team identification and fandom for a specific sport.



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