At GreenPark, we want to build something that helps you get more out of being a fan, that makes it more fun. But how can we do that? What's fun about sports, and what can we add to it?
People get a lot of different things out of watching sports. A big part of it is just straight up entertainment value - sports provides exciting and unexpected moments, when huge stakes hang in the balance, and it's awesome to watch those moments. Sports is about a lot more than just entertainment, though, especially for the biggest sports fans. When we dug deep into it, we found that one of the most important parts of being a sports fan was community - enjoying sports together with other people. Being part of something together with others is a huge part of what makes sports great and more fun.
What does it mean to be part of a community of fans? What are the things that make you feel like you belong to something larger, together with others? We're learning more about this, but we've found a few key things so far.
As humans, fans naturally congregate to watch, celebrate and experience sports together. Experiencing something together with someone makes it a unique experience that's different from watching it by yourself. Getting excited when your team takes the lead, being shocked by an unexpected play, getting angry at a bad call, or going crazy when you win the championship. All of those experiences are changed and amplified when you have them together with other people. By sharing your fandom with other fans, you get more out of sports - and that deepens fandom.
How do you recognize someone as a fan? When they know things a fan would know. Fans share knowledge whenever they talk about sports; whether it's challenging each other to trivia, recounting unforgettable plays, debating which player is better or just talking about last night's game. This shared knowledge of events, symbols, heroes, traditions, and rivals helps fans recognize other fans, impart fandom to new fans, and relive memories of those unique but shared experiences of being a fan.
Shared Rituals and Traditions
Beyond being there together or talking about it together, doing things together with fellow fans is a powerful force for feeling like part of that community. Whether that's singing the fight song in the stands, tailgating before the game every weekend, or spamming emotes on the stream; being part of a group activity strengthens the bonds between the members of that group. Team-Specific rituals and traditions like songs or chants are especially powerful ways for fans to have shared experiences and express shared knowledge.
We also recognize that fan community is about groups of all sizes. Part of being a sports fan is having a place in a larger community of fans - experiencing your favorite team or sport together with (or alongside) other fans. But another important part of being a sports fan is being part of a personal community of fans - your friends and family, the people that you watch and enjoy sports together with. Your family that you've spent your whole life cheering your hometown team on with, your coworker who is a fan of your rival team that you banter with every week, and your friends that you play and watch esports with.
As we build the future of fandom, we'll continue to figure out how we can best support community, both larger and more personal. We look forward to inviting you to join us in GreenPark to share experiences, share knowledge, and participate in those shared rituals and traditions with your communities.