We have begun discussing one major incident when the social contract between athletes and fan broke down, revealing the tensions between the two groups: the 2004 Pacers-Pistons “brawl.” Clearly, there is tension between athletes and fans, for a variety of reasons.

For this project, you will undertake your own research project: you will choose a specific sport, study its fans, and report your findings.


One way to observe/study the fans is to go to/turn on a game and watch the watchers: who are they, how many are there, what do they wear, what do they do, etc. It’s also important to study the venue: What is it like? How is it set up? What is sold? What is handed out? How are fans being made to feel by the venue? What conscious decisions were made to influence the spectators’ feelings of excitement, of closeness? You can look online for information about the venue as well.

Another way to study the fans is to go to chat boards for the teams: how do “fans” talk about the games/athletes for these sports? What do they focus on, what do you notice about how they talk about the athletes/coaches/etc.? (I can help you find a chat-board for a specific team if you want.)

You might also consider interviewing fans


Your rough draft will report your findings: what you have observed about the fans. Length will be roughly 3-5 pages double-spaced. Your goal is to inform an audience of your peers about your observations and to formulate some initial conclusions about the fanbase for that particular sport.


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