Transatlantic Fan Culture Opinion

Alex R. ’23

European fans care more than American fans about sports. This is a bold claim, so let me back it up. The average American sports fan has several allegiances to different sports teams. For example, a fan in the Bay Area might be a fan of the Warriors, the Giants, and the 49ers. In Europe, fans only really have an allegiance to one sports team, their local soccer club. One could argue that this fact alone would be enough to show that European fans naturally care more about their team than American fans care about their teams. Though true in some cases, that’s not enough evidence to prove to the majority of fans that they are not the most passionate. 

 

There aren’t any real statistics or observations that show the true amount of devotion a fan has towards their team, but there are some that might count for more than others. For example, if a fan has season tickets for home games of their team, it’s fair to assume that they are fairly big supporters of that team. Another example of this could be something as simple as the amount of team merchandise a fan has; if someone is willing to associate themselves with the logo of a team, it’s safe to assume that they like the team. 

 

Having said that, those actions aren’t the best ways of measuring someone’s passion. Passion is an emotion, just like sadness and happiness. So naturally, for someone to feel passionate about something, they would need to experience comfort and a strong emotional connection to the team. Think about if you’ve never had ice cream before. You decide to try it for the first time, and you’re a normal person with normal taste buds, so you think it tastes pretty good. The impression that it makes on you is due to the emotions that it gets out of you; in other words, if you think the ice cream tastes good, it makes you feel happy and it will make you want to take another bite. From that point on, happiness is the emotion that you would associate with ice cream, hence the good impression it has made upon you. Through this analogy, we can understand that humans will respond to stimuli and that response is almost always associated with some sort of emotion. Due to this, it’s fair to say that actions and reactions are somewhat telling of human emotions in general. The only way to read into someone’s devotion towards something like a sports team is through their reactions towards dramatic scenes that take place surrounding their teams. 

 

Therefore, we only need to look at one piece of data: the difference in fan reactions in America and Europe.

 

The dramatic event that American and European fans both experience is the end of a game. Obviously a fan’s reaction to the final result in a game will depend on a number of things: who won the game, the significance of the result, and what took place during the game. If we were to compare reactions to wins of similar magnitude in, say, American football and European soccer, it’s guaranteed you that the reactions you would see out of the European fans would trounce those of the American fans. European fans are known to sing and dance after wins, even ones of smaller significance, while American fans are known to do no such thing. The opposite result presents a similar showing of passion. If a soccer team in Europe lost a match similar in significance with an American team, it’s more likely to encounter more grumpy European fans than American fans. Another aspect of losses is the aftermath, notably resulting criticism. Fans in Europe are known to overreact and over exaggerate, so for example if a team loses and their star player plays terribly, they are more likely to receive flak over social media and through the general media than a star player on a losing team in America. Each of these reactions hints at the heightened care European fans place on their local club, and insight into human psychology proves that this care hints at a greater emotional bond between European fans and their teams.

 

In conclusion, and perhaps to the dismay of many reading this article, the sheer enthusiasm european football fans bring to the table night in and night out is far superior to that exerted by American fans. 

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