Like many of you I've been following the UNC athletic/academic scandal closely (for a variety of reasons). Today's article in the Raleigh N&O brought back memories:
Based on email I’ve received, many of these fans have their personal identities tied up with the success of their school’s teams. “I didn’t believe it could be done, but you’ve reached a new low with the Julius Peppers ‘story’ you son of a b---h,” wrote a Carolina fan who graduated from UNC in the late 1970s. “I absolutely loathe you. Hopefully, Julius will sue the crap out of your sorry rag.”
I cannot say for sure (he declined my invitation to talk on the phone) but I’m betting my Carolina pen pal feels better about himself when UNC wins and worse about himself when UNC loses.
That’s not unusual. A survey of University of Kentucky basketball fans found 33 percent of respondents said this statement best described their level of interest in Kentucky basketball: “I live and die with the Wildcats. I’m happy if they win and sad if they lose.”
Duke University economist Charles Clotfelter wrote about these hard-core fans in his 2011 book about college sports. “These consumers exhibit extreme brand loyalty,” he wrote. “Psychologists describe them as being heavily identified with a particular team or university and have shown that the self-esteem of these ardent fans can be affected by their team’s success in competition.”
Here is a link to the paper with the UK statistic. Here is the abstract:
Many state and local governments have subsidized the construction of arenas and stadium for the use of professional sports teams. They often justify the subsidies by claiming the projects generate valuable public goods and positive externalities, though such benefits are difficult to measure. This article reports an application of the contingent valuation method (CVM) to measure the value of public goods generated by two proposed projects in Lexington, Kentucky: a new basketball arena for the University of Kentucky and a minor league baseball stadium. Neither project would generate sufficiently valuable public goods to justify public financing. Although the results cannot be generalized to other cases, they do shed light on some of the main issues involved, and they demonstrate the feasibility of applying CVM to the evaluation of the subsidized stadiums.