Sports Fanaticism


Sports Fanaticism is a belief or behavior involving an extreme following of a sport with obsessive enthusiasm.  It may either be for a particular sport but in most cases it would be for a team within a sport such as your country’s team or simply your local sports team.  One form of the fanaticism is simply a form of leisure.  Another could possibly be escapism, giving the fan an excuse to yell at something, an activity that is not necessary acceptable in other areas of their life. Otherwise simply the combinations of stress or euphoria depending on the teams’ performance thus creating an emotion of heightened sensation.

This fanaticism unites people of all colour, creed and financial standing as for that one moment they truly stand together as a united force behind their team.  Even if your friend supports the opposition team, the rivalry is usually short lived.

Unfortunately this is not always the case as we have witnessed in European Premier Football League matches.  The obsession turns the crowds nasty, spoiling all forms of camaraderie.  This can be termed as emotional fanaticism which is linked to behavioral tendency.  The emotion of losing a game tends to cloud ones judgment and causes these soccer hooligans to go on the rampage placing a negative effect on the sport.

Nationalistic or patriotic fanaticism is based upon the identification of a group of individuals from the same country.  Sporting events such as the Soccer and Cricket World Cup and Tri Nations Rugby to name just a few, draws these fanatics to travel the world simply to support their team by displaying their national flags.  These national flags together with the national anthems are symbols of national identity uniting fans to set aside any differences and stand behind their team.  This is ideally seen in countries with political and racial unrest as sport levels all the playing fields – what a wonderful pun!

These many different sports events draw millions of television viewers across the globe, betting channels are available as well as all the sports apparel to support your team thereby making it a huge ‘money-making’ industry.  Last year the baseball Super Bowl drew 106 million TV viewers while bets were estimated to total as much as $85million.

However these sporting events have other spinoffs such as shown by South Africa who hosted the Soccer World Cup in 2010.  It was reported by their Minister of Tourism that more than 300 000 foreigners visited the country for the month-long tournament and spent 1½ billion dollars during their stay.  No doubt this would have boosted the country’s economy as well as creating employment in a country where unemployment is currently said to be at 24.9%.

Sports Bars are growing in popularity as fanatical fans gather to watch their teams’ performance on television if they are unable to attend the live event. Great discussions will be had amongst fans either agreeing or disagreeing with certain decisions made by the game officials creating much booing or elated clapping and cheering.

Sports apparel companies acquire well known sportsman to endorse their various brands of sporting equipment and sports ware.  If you are an avid supporter of a particular sports personality, you will no doubt own something that has been endorsed by them. Although these endorsements cost the apparel companies millions of dollars annually, the money is all re-coupe rated by attracting sports fanatics into believing that these products must therefore be the best.  World famous British soccer star, David Beckman, has signed a huge contract with Adidas while American golfing legend, Tiger Woods, endorses Nike even making an appearance in many of the sneaker company’s advertisements. Michael Jordan, a well-known American Basketball player, has also endorsed Nike footwear as well as creating his own Jordan Brand.  Shops for sports apparel and merchandise are even available for online purchases and feature an endless assortment of sportswear for every major sport.  Individual teams are also sponsored by local companies to advertise on their sports ware as well as on advertising boards around the grounds.  Due to the huge crowds of sports fanatics that are drawn to these games, the sponsors are sure to get their products and branding recognised thus increasing their sales.

Sport plays a significant role in the development of young children as it teaches them to work together as a team thus making it a character building exercise.  It displays the fact that one might not be brilliant as an individual, but as a team working together, a great result may be achieved.  This becomes a very important life skill. Children may become fanatical from a young age and choose a sporting hero which will act as their role model and hero. In poorer communities, sport is used to encourage the youth to stay off drugs and  generally out of trouble by giving them hope and support from a team point of view.

However if you are not a die-hard fan and are simply oblivious to these games, all the hysteria must prompt the question of ‘what is it about chasing a ball around a field that makes human beings care so much?