Fanatic – football debate with Ear to the Ground 21/11/12

10 Dec

A8OhiK0CEAEGS9cEar to the Ground asked me to host the first of a series of debates that look into modern fan culture in sport and music. I jumped at the chance, firstly to work with Steve Smith and his team, but also to branch out and bring intelligent debate to culture and sport.

The Fanatic event is seen as a way to discuss the dynamics of fan behaviour with influential guest speakers from the worlds of academia, comms and culture. It’s an open forum to discuss some of the challenges and trends that ‘Fanatic’ our strategic planning department are dealing with on a day to day basis.

The first event was held at the National Football Museum in Manchester and I was delighted to have been billed as “football fashion expert Michael Taylor”. The panel discussion brought together a mixture of academics and leading thinkers, focusing on the psychology of football fans and football fan culture. Luminaries included documentary sport and music photographer Stuart Roy Clarke, academics Professor John Hughson and Doctor Anna Semens, Graham Ball author of ‘Is Football the New Rock n Roll’ and MD of Ear to the Ground, Steve Smith.

Fanatic 001 was a 90 minute discussion which examined the evolving nature of football fan experiences. The panel debated issues around identity, new trends  in social media and how clubs can engage fans without reducing them to consumers. The panel delved deeper into the profile of the modern football fan, internationalisation of fanbases and looked specifically at the growing level of female support. The panellists and audience members also considered factors which define support; debating the importance of the live experience and the role of transcendental moments in shaping loyalty.

There’s a whole load of gorgeous video of the event here.

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