What Makes Someone a Bandwagon Fan?

For the longest time, I have heard the term “bandwagon fan” being thrown around as if it was a common or normal thing to spot.  It’s way too easy to see someone at a bar or restaurant, rooting for a team like the Yankees, Red Sox, Celtics, Lakers or Heat, and just assume they are bandwagon fans.  And if you’ve never met this person or only know a small amount about them, how can you determine such a thing?

Cardinals fan changes his son to a Vikings jersey in the 4th quarter.

From personal experience, I’ve noticed the biggest complainers of bandwagon fans are those who hate the teams these people are cheering for.  In an effort to discover the true meaning, I decided I would ask numerous questions that will help me pin point the multiple characteristics of a true bandwagon fan.  Here are the questions and my answers, but I would love to hear what you all think as well.

Are you a bandwagon fan if…

1.  You have more than one favorite team per sport? No, but one should always supersede another.  If you are born some place and grow up watching a particular team play, but later if life move somewhere new, it is completely normal to want to be a part of the sports scene in that area.  Be careful with this though, because these teams can not be rivals, in the same division or even in the same conference.  Also, remember that if/when these two teams meet, you must choose one team and it can’t just be the team that wins the game!

2.  You own some piece of merchandise for the team? No.  Normally, people who aren’t willing to go out and purchase merchandise from a team isn’t a true fan.  If you wear jerseys, shirts, hats, sweatshirts, etc. of your favorite team, it’s likely that you either attended a game or purposely went out looking for this merchandise.  However, the reasoning for owning this merchandise is important.  If you’re reason is that you “just” like the way it looks, then you “just” put a bulls-eye on your back that screams bandwagon.  This one also leads into the next questions…

3.  You wear the teams apparel whether they are winning or losing? No.  Supporting a team is more than just showing it and flaunting it when they win.  It’s about being loyal to your team, cheering for them when they are losing or playing miserably and showing your support at all times.  If you go to the same bar every Sunday to watch football and don’t start wearing your gear until after your team has won a few games… Bandwagon!  It’s very common to these fans jumping on board when the team is cruising, but the minute the waves get bumpy, they are diving off.

4.  You follow the team for the ladder half of the season? Yes.  I understand it may be a little harder to follow your team in baseball as they play 162 games, even basketball and hockey have long seasons, but this is all part of being a loyal fan.  Bandwagon fans only pay close attention to their teams as they approach the playoffs and act as though they are appreciative of how they got there.  Wrong!

5.  Your reasoning for being a fan is that your family are all fans of the team? No.  This is a tricky one because one of the most common excuses when asking people why they like a team is, “My family lives there” or “I was born there.”  If this statement is true, you are in the clear, as long as you commit to all of the qualities that are attributed to a loyal fan.  Just having family or been born someplace doesn’t make you an automatic fan!

Now its all good if you like particular players on other teams.  For instance, until he announced he was leaving Cleavland and heading to South Beach, Lebron James was probably the most liked player in basketball.  Also, its very hard right now to NOT be a Kevin Durant supporter after the show he put on last season and leading team USA to a gold medal in the World Championship this summer.  However, just because you like Kevin Durant, doesn’t mean you are an Oklahoma City Thunder fan; and you better make sure you hate his guts when he plays your team!

After I checked the definition of bandwagon fan on urban dictionary, I got a good laugh as the number one definition was, “Someone who became a fan of the Boston Redsox after the 2004 world series.”  But in general, it’s not easy to spot a bandwagon fan without knowing who they are and asking them some basic questions that can lead you to the assumption.  So they next time you’re out and interested in knowing, remember these questions.

Now that you’ve heard my opinion… what do you think defines a Bandwagon Fan?

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  • Chris G.

    Lovin the blog homeboy!! This is a good article…love top tens, countowns, and things like this…AND I’m definitely very upset about the HEAT bandwagon fans…we all know it’s gonna be Celtics vs Magic in the east finals once again!!

  •  6. If they are wearing a Blue Star. YES Biggest bunch of bandwagoners in all of sports. If the Cows lose, no fan even saw the game or will acknowledge that football even exists. If they win they are booking their flight to the SB. Now as far as them wearing Cow swag, no big deal, it easy to wear that crap…in the Dallas area. Try being a fan of anything else here and even if your team just stomped the dog mess out of them “the cows are still better, they just had bad play calling or a bad ref.”

  • Its important to note that Basketball is arguably unique for American Sports as it is largely personality driven. There are many reasons for this:
    – Only 5 starters (players can shine more)
    – Each position could be glamorous (Usually scorers get the praise in team sports)

    – Synonymous with shoe endorsements (sigs)
    Because of this I feel many NBA fans follow players rather than teams. Especially international fans who don’t have any connection to cities by birth. Naturally if players move, they’re loyalties would spread too.