Gooners. Red Sox Nation. (The U emoji).
In the midst of seemingly insurmountable attempt to keeps postseason hopes alive, the Atlanta Hawks hit on something powerful, rallying those fans still with them. Playing off their #TrueToAtlanta hash tag, they deemed this dedicated group “True Believers.” Many fair weather fans may have thrown in the towel, but True Believers are different. Like the well-known fan families mentioned above, these Hawks fans were united in their devotion; the whole greater than the sum of the parts.
Dan Patrick has his radio callers. Paul Finebaum his unique collection of callers. A radio show I heard growing up in San Diego had “P1’s.” There’s a psychology to this that is a powerful proposition for sports teams, many of whom are actively and effectively (even if sub-consciously) cultivating such cult-ish clusters.
If fans run into each other on the street or share in emotion on social, what is the tie that binds them? What makes your fans different? Nomenclature can serve to reinforce, especially if it’s catchy, but, like the Hawks did, it’s making fans feel they’ve done something to earn the right to be part of this connected community.
Create communal activities at games, chants and cheers in unison, inside jokes and stories your thousands of fans know but non-fans do not. FOMO is a powerful feeling. Ans so is the opposite. When fans feel like they’re part of the special club, their emotional engagement and affinity increases tremendously.
Maybe you have Cameron Crazies. Perhaps fans exchange a knowing Rock Chalk, Fight On, or Bear Down when passing by someone in the school colors. When fans feel like they’re part of something special, they feel that close connection for life.