"A convincing case for the societal benefits of sports fandom." --Kirkus Reviews
"Fans Have More Friends is an insightful social science study that forwards useful suggestions for fostering social connections and strengthening communities." --Foreword Reviews
"An upbeat, data-driven sociological breakdown of the benefits of sports fandom." --BookLife Reviews
What if we told you that fans have more friends?
Not only that, but they engage with those friends more often, and they value those friendships more. What if we told you fans exhibit stronger measures of well-being, happiness, confidence, and optimism? What if we told you fans tend to be more trusting of others and more confident in institutions? Or that fandom helps mitigate the loneliness and polarization that plague our culture today? What if we told you that fandom is a social good?
In these pages, Ben Valenta and David Sikorjak take the reader on a journey to discover fandom's far-reaching benefits: improved social connections, stronger community ties, enhanced well-being, and a greater sense of belonging.
If fandom creates connections that reverberate through society, then we need more fandom. As fans, we are frontline actors in that mission. The more confident we are in our fandom, the more conscious we are of fandom's power, the more prepared we are to serve as ambassadors, inviting people into our sports families, using fandom to build bridges across social divisions, and activating it to benefit our communities. Think of sports as a tool you can use, and then ask yourself, "Where do I want to deploy this tool?"
About the Author
Ben Valenta is the SVP of Strategy & Analytics for FOX Sports. In his previous life as a consultant, he advised an incredible array of clients, including: Nike, NFL, Anheuser-Busch InBev, YouTube, ESPN, National Geographic, MSNBC, NBC News, Livestrong, New York Knicks, and New York Rangers. He likes to surf and ride bikes and wrestle with his kids in Venice, California.
David Sikorjak is the founder of Dexterity Consulting, a strategy and analytics consultancy that artfully blends research, analysis, and empathy to transform how brands think. Prior to that, he was an executive at Publicis, NBC, and Madison Square Garden. A proud New Yorker, David is a husband, father, yogi, little league coach, and Yankees/Knicks/Jets fan.