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Don't Let Dysfunctional Fans Ruin Your Super Bowl Party

Jan. 30, 2007

By Amanda Sawyer

Dr. Kirk Wakefield, chair of the Marketing department and head of the Sports Sponsorship & Sales degree program at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business, says people should be mindful about who they invite to their upcoming Super Bowl parties. Without precaution, a few dysfunctional fans can easily ruin the event.

"Cheering on their team, taking on opposing team supporters, and yelling at the referees is what these people live for," says Wakefield. "These types of fans are likely to be the ones to be thrown out of the bar or that people wish would leave." Many will say they enjoy being confrontational and admit to being so. Wakefield says that dysfunctional fans are usually socially maladjusted with a fragile psyche.

"Alcohol fuels the fire for these people," Wakefield said, "Especially if their team is losing." Monitor alcohol intake and watch for guests who may have already consumed some alcohol before arriving. A word to the wise (given the betting line favoring the Colts): Don't invite all Bears fans with only one die-hard Colt fan, if you want your house left in one piece.

Three points for hosts of Super Bowl parties:

• Most dysfunctional fans are single, younger males living in rental property who don't think they can enjoy the game without alcohol. Beware! These folks may not have much respect for your property.

• Limit alcohol intake; watch for guests that may have imbibed before arriving and are wearing team gear.

• Avoid inviting people you know are "dysfunctional fans."

Wakefield has conducted research on sysfunctional fans, consumer response to pricing, promotion, sponsorships, and the physical environment for the NFL football and other professional sports organizations. He authored the new book, "Team Sports Marketing."

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