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Success interrupted: Exploring how supporters interpret their team’s success in a postponed competition.

Lock, D., Delia, E., Inoue, Y. and Gillooly, L., 2023. Success interrupted: Exploring how supporters interpret their team’s success in a postponed competition. European Sport Management Quarterly. (In Press)

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Lock, Delia, Inoue, & Gillooly (2022) Success interrupted.pdf - Accepted Version
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DOI: 10.1080/16184742.2023.2251999


Research purpose: This study has two aims: (1) to explore how supporters evaluate success when their team's objective performance record does not change but subjective features of the context do change (e.g. competition format, potential league cancellation); and (2) to explore why winning a championship is important to evaluations of in-group status – in addition to a large points advantage. Research methods: We conducted a netnographic study of Liverpool Football Club supporters during the COVID-19 postponement of the English Premier League. In total, we analysed 15,193 forum posts added between 11th March and 3rd June 2020, using a theoretical thematic analysis. Results and findings: Three themes emerged from our interpretations of the data. First, winning the championship had value – in addition to the club's 25-point advantage – because supporters felt it would immortalise their status as the best team in 2019–2020 permanently. Second, supporters’ perceptions of success reduced when it was perceived to occur in a structure that did not conform to shared expectations for league completion. Third, supporters perceived that winning the championship would enable a moment at which players, coaches, and supporters could experience complete solidarity as their shared goal became reality. Implications: Our analysis shed new light on the ways in which context relates to the evaluation of intergroup status in sport. Furthermore, we reveal why winning a championship adds value beyond objective advantages.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Team success; social identity theory; intergroup status
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:38990
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:19 Sep 2023 13:11
Last Modified:09 Oct 2023 13:49


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