Fan, or Super Consumer?

Adel Alaali
3 min readJul 19, 2022


are you a fan?

Often industry misnomers are used to guise other nomenclature — such as the sports industry misconstruing the word ‘sporting fan’ for the phrase ‘super consumer’. Per WebMD ‘a fan is someone who is emotionally attached to a sports club, team, or group.’ [1]

Given the sporting industry giants perpetual bid for consumer attention and interaction, it can be assumed that having established a consumer-product emotional attachment is every marketer’s pipe dream. ‘Insanely but divinely inspired’ consumers, such as myself, are the defacto misfortunes of well-crafted marketing schemes. For instance, I have an affinity for the Knicks team — a household brand that is intertwined with my upbringing, friendships, and culture. I certainly am a patron of the team’s events and was a purchaser of the merchandise. For instance, my (old) sneaker collection is rife with many Knicks / Spike Lee Creations. Therefore, I am the quintessential sports fan — at least per Mark Cuban’s dictum. [2]

Caveats exist within the sporiting industries revenue model— for instance, a franchisees’ hardcore fanbase accounts as the lion’s share of organization’s revenues produced.

A consumer with an emotional attachment is most likely to purchase goods offered if the franchise they prefer is ‘generating buzz’. However, per sporting dictum, the salient way to drive franchise-brand recognition is for the franchised team to win in sporting tournaments. Team frenzied emotions increase sales, and franchisees realize growth after the team is successful. This, thus amalages an equal risk to opportunity: revenues also decrease when the participants emotional drive to support the franchise dissipates. Franchise support is dependent on sporting teams success, thus conversely making future revenue prospects a gamble.

For instance, the Knicks franchise — privy to P&L, revenues generated, and operational costs — has realized a decline in merchandise sales because the team performs poorly in the NBA league. [3] And thereby, marketers are differed to the conundrum: “how should we drive sales when our team sucks?”

Michael Jordan himself became a brand that the Bulls franchise initially sponsored. The brand evolved from the NBA, and since incurred blue chip sponsorship deals from Nike (Jordan Apparel) and Coca-Cola. The Jordan brand lives long beyond Micheal Jordans tenure, it is an asset. The aforementioned organizations recognized this and succinctly capitalized the brands ability to convert current sporting fan into lasting product consumers.

[Reflection & Response] Remember back in the day, in elementary school, where some wore Abercrombie & Fitch, and others Ecco or Sean John with the rest just rockin’ good ol’ hand-me-downs. Similarly, to wearing sporting memorabilia, in all situations, we — the consumers — become the brand’s sponsor. Advertisers love free sponsorship, and we become their favorites by outfitting ourselves with the products they advertise. It makes a lot of sense for franchise marketers to target the female demographic, as sporting is a family thing, and — as anyone who’s married would understand — females drive household purchases. Therefore, if franchise outreach to the female demographic is successful, they too would realize an increase in net sales. The sports fan becomes the defacto team sponsor when wearing brand names, and female subsidize purchases would drive sales.

Personally, though a Knicks fan, habit, and life in California has led me to wearing (though designer, for ergonomic reasons) solid-colored shirts. No more brand advertisements for myself. If someone can read the brand I am wearing; then I refuse to wear it.


Adel Al-Aali


[1] WebMD: Is Being Diehard Sports Fan Good For Mental Health?

[3] Nets Leading Knicks in Jersey Merchandise Sales So Far This Season.