Fake fans

Wall Street Journal has a story about an Italian soccer team using printed sheets of vinyl to fill up their stadium. Since fans weren’t showing up to their games, management decided to employ fake fans.

The club itself makes a majority of its revenue from television contracts, which makes one wonder if ‘real’ fans are even needed.

A few things come out from this story.

First is the actual images on the vinyl and how the fans are depicted. The image really reflects how owners and management see their fans or at least what behaviour they expect from their fans. Every ‘fan’ is out of their seats and doing something. Not very authentic, but makes the team look good on TV.

Second, this brings to light what fan behaviour is at the physical stadium, with thousands of other fans, versus what fan behaviour is like at home, alone. What exactly do fans like about being at the actual game? What do they hate? Could attending an actual game be a thing of the past?

This also ties back to my posting about goal horns and how they’re and example of inauthentic fan expression.

Image from Wall Street Journal.

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