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Fan involvement in a professional sport team's decision making

Craig G. Hyatt (Department of Sport Management, Brock University, St. Catharines, Canada)
William A. Sutton (College of Business, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA)
William M. Foster (Department of Social Sciences, The University of Alberta, Camrose, Canada)
Dylan McConnell (University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 12 July 2013



In an era where a growing segment of fantasy league participating and video game playing sport consumers has become more interested in managing individual major league players than in following the fortunes of actual major league teams, North American major league attendance is dropping. The authors aim to argue that team management could keep their attention, strengthen the team‐fan bond, and increase attendance and overall revenue, by giving their fans input into decisions related to the team's on‐field, on‐court, or on‐ice management.


This paper chronicles the rise of fantasy sport and sport video game participation and argues that a new breed of sport consumer is emerging that values managing sport over spectating. Previous attempts by teams to give fans input into management decisions are outlined and critiqued.


It is suggested that teams wishing to increase the team identification and attendance frequency of these management‐centric consumers should use technology to establish a platform whereby dues‐paying members vote on team‐related management issues. Utilizing a members‐only webpage for some votes will encourage the growth of a geographically diverse fan base, while utilizing in‐stadium hand‐held wireless technology for other votes will encourage game attendance.


This paper has value to marketers of professional sport who are constantly searching for ways to increase fan identification and sell tickets. It also has value to sport fan academics by suggesting that traditional conceptualizations of the team‐fan bond may be becoming outdated in an era where a new generation of sport consumers is becoming increasingly player‐focused and management‐centric.



Hyatt, C.G., Sutton, W.A., Foster, W.M. and McConnell, D. (2013), "Fan involvement in a professional sport team's decision making", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 189-204.



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