Fan loyalty and underperforming teams: The case of Atlas F.C.
Sports fandom is frequently dependent on the success of the team and the overall quality of the fan experience. This study sought to understand loyalty towards Atlas Football Club, a chronically underperforming team in Mexican soccer, whose only championship title was won in 1951. In spite of this, Atlas inspires tremendous fidelity in its fans, occupying fifth place in number of average spectators per local match in Mexico. The study hypothesizes that, rather than success measured in terms of winning, what motivates Atlas fans is team loyalty based on family, team tradition, and a shared sense of communitas with other fans. Data from 488 survey respondents were analyzed using exploratory factor analysis to find the underlying structure of the variables, and parallel analysis and confirmatory factor analysis to determine that five factors are at play. The most important of these were pride in the club’s tradition and history, and a sense of community with other fans. Responses are in Spanish