• Exploring Fan Experience with Multiple Cases of Relocation and Expansion

      Parent, Brett; Applied Health Sciences Program
      Current literature surrounding sport team relocation and expansion only examines a fan’s experience with one relocation or expansion at one point of time. With relocation and expansion being a commonality in the sports industry, there are many sports fan who have experienced multiple cases of relocations and expansion. Experiencing multiple relocations and expansions may also expose individuals to teams at varying levels of play. In Canada alone, 17 cities have hosted both a hockey team at the professional minor-league and amateur major-junior level at different points in time. To examine this phenomena, 12 individuals from Belleville, Ontario were interviewed, as Belleville has had four cases of relocation and expansion in their surrounding region in the last 40 years. These participants demonstrated four themes that suggest that experiencing multiple relocations and expansions has a lasting impact on their fan behaviour and attitudes. First, participants suggested that geography, distinctiveness, and exposure at a young age acted as a motivation to cheer for a newly established team, while existing team allegiances acted as a barrier. Second, participants discussed the unique consumption strategies they used to maintain an identity with a relocated team, such as following ex-players, recalling memories, and incorporating the relocated team into their present-day activities. Third, participants outlined the different points of attachment they developed with an amateur team versus a minor league team, as well as the points of detachment that they claimed to have with minor league hockey. Lastly, participants suggested that they have experienced six changes in perspectives towards teams, leagues, and hockey.