OTW Fannews: Not so surprising sports fandoms

Banner by Lisa of a green field with huddled soccer players & a team scarf being raised in the stands

  • Although they’re among the most visible fandoms in many cultures, sports fandoms are also often gendered in the media. Forbes took note of better-late-than-never marketing to women, while Yahoo’s Breakout blog listed five “surprising” stats about fantasy sports leading with the fact that players are both younger and more female than generally portrayed.
  • At Sports on Earth writer Colin McGowan wrote about learning to be a soccer fan. “In Alex Pappademas’ ‘I Suck at Football’ column that ran last season at Grantland, he wrote about how his daughter understood the sport as ‘the show where the men try to get the ball and then they fall down,’ which is about as apt a description of football as you’re going to find…It’s not much more complicated than that, though it’s as rich as any other sport. Being a fan isn’t so much about understanding how the game works as much as it’s telling yourself stories about the machinery. We assign meaning to teams and players, favor some styles over others, delight in or are crushed by swings of luck. The men kick the ball toward the goal and then fall down, and we have a lot to say about that.”
  • Writing about baseball, Richard Peterson speculates how being a fan of specific teams shapes a fan’s personality. “I could tell what team they rooted for by observing their demeanor. The Cubs fans in the audience were easy to pick out because they were the ones who looked like they needed a hug. It was also easy to find the Cardinals fans because they were the ones sitting next to Cubs fans. They weren’t about to hug the fans of Chicago’s lovable losers, but they did want to make sure that Cubs fans knew what the fans of a winning team looked like.”
  • The Philadelphia CityPaper decided to investigate fanfiction about its hometown Flyers. “There are hundreds of stories and millions of words dedicated to imagined romances and trysts with the Flyers available for your perusal on Mibba, a creative-writing website boasting well over 10,000 stories.” Yet even within this slice of fandom, writer Dan McQuade seemed to find it surprising that women were involved: “Most authors of Flyers fanfic identify themselves as young women, and this may be the one place on the Internet where this is actually true.” He also might want to wander beyond Mibba before claiming that “this phenomenon doesn’t happen for baseball, basketball or football.”

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