Findings in Sport, Hospitality, Entertainment, and Event Management

Streaming Media


Belonging and distinctiveness are considered innate motivators for human behavior and decision making. Satisfaction of both needs is often associated with increased levels of well-being and personal agency. Both belonging and distinctiveness have been examined as successful motivators for sport fandom, but research is needed to determine the differential roles of either trait in choosing a specific team or sport to follow. The current study asked participants to report their needs for belonging and distinctiveness and to choose a fictional sport team to cheer for upon moving to a new country. One team was described as being the “mainstream” team with a significantly larger number of fans than the “outsider” team (otherwise, the descriptions were identical). Individuals who reported a greater need for belonging typically chose to follow the more popular team, while those with higher desires for distinctiveness aligned with the less popular team. These results provide evidence that belonging and distinctiveness play a role in decision making regarding sport fandom team choices. Future studies should further explore this phenomenon, while also examining the role of belonging and distinctiveness in alternate methods of media consumption and consumer decision making