One of the earliest memories of sports that I have was Super Bowl XL, where the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks. The only thing I remember from that night was the emotions of frustration and gloom. At the time, being 5 years old, I decided that I would no longer support the Seahawks despite them being my home team. From that day on, I was a Philadelphia Eagles fan.
It is common for people to become a fan of the closest sports team to them geographically, but that is not the only reason people choose teams. Fans’ loyalty may lie within a player compared to a team. Athletes develop their own fanbase, and as the athlete goes from team to team over the years, their fans do as well. This is seen frequently in soccer across the world. Major League Soccer (MLS) does not produce the high quality of soccer that Europe produces, like the English Premier League (EPL). Fans who choose to follow teams in Europe may start following a team because the team has one of their favorite athletes, and whether their loyalty remains to the team once their favorite player leaves is different among fans.
Some people never find a favorite team and choose to watch sports for the pure sense of entertainment: They are a fan of the sport instead of a fan of the team. They choose to not get attached to a team, and rather watch all the games being played to enjoy the art of the sport. Once again, this is common for people who follow European soccer. Fans may never get attached to a European team; they watch it for the quality of the gameplay.
Regardless of whether one is a fan of a team, a player on the team or the sport in general, one’s reason for their fanaticism varies. Fans can extend all the way to family or friend connections and sports owners. When a family member plays for or works for a team, you wish the team well. They may be your new favorite team, or it may be a team you choose to appreciate because of the opportunity it gave to your associate. Also, who cheers against their own family or friend? Cheering for a team because of their owner is the rarest case. It is like cheering for a team based on their favorite player. When the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) came to the MLS, it attracted a lot of fans due to one of their investors being Will Ferrell. Los Angeles has two soccer teams, and this factor has helped LAFC gain popularity.
For the teams I choose to support, these were all factors amongst the wide diversity of my teams. I have supported the Boston Red Sox since the first Major League Baseball game I watched was with a Red Sox fan. I support the Seattle Sounders due to location and their notable owner, Drew Carey. Lastly, in the EPL, I support Everton from when Tim Howard played for them, and despite him leaving, I continue to support them.