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What is a Fairweather Fan?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 13 April 2014
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A fairweather fan is someone who is only interested in a sports team when it is doing well. The term may also be used to describe political followers, music fans, and followers of various figures in the entertainment industry such as directors, actors, and so forth. As a general rule, fairweather fans are heavily criticized by people who regard themselves a loyal fans, sticking with a team through bad times as well as good ones.

This term is especially common in sports, thanks to the fact that the fortunes of a sports team are easy to follow and understand. A fairweather fan tends to root for the team which is doing well, ignoring that team if it starts to fail and sometimes switching loyalties, even to an opponent. People sometimes refer to fairweather fans as “bandwagoners,” referencing the idea that they “jump on the bandwagon” of a team which is doing well.

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A number of things influence loyalty to sports teams and other entities in the entertainment world. Often, the entertainment value is a major factor. It isn't very much fun, for example, to watch a team lose over and over again, especially if it's losing to lesser teams or suffering from technicalities. The history of the team may also be important, with fans tending to be more loyal to teams with an old history. Attitudes of other fans are also important: Red Sox fans, for example, have bonded over the remarkably unlucky history of their favorite team, creating a sort of group solidarity.

People who consider themselves “true” fans often sneer at a fairweather fan. Some fairweather fans go overboard with team support, decking themselves out in branded apparel, hanging team flags in their homes, and so forth, and this outward display is sometimes viewed as a cause for mockery. The very term “fairweather fan” is a bit pejorative, as it calls up images of the “fairweather friend” who only seems to be around when he or she can benefit.

Like a regular fan, a fairweather fan can be any age, with a varying level of interest in the sport. Someone who doesn't follow a sport that closely, for example, might be a fairweather fan simply because he or she doesn't feel enough of a connection with the sport to be invested in the outcome of a particular team. Conversely, someone who follows a sport very closely might support winning teams because they go further, providing more opportunities to watch or attend games. People may also become fairweather fans to share an interest with friends and loved ones, attaching their loyalties to those of their friends.

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Discuss this Article

shell4life
Post 4

@lighth0se33 – I think the exception to that rule would be boy bands. They have a massive following of young girls for a few years, and then, you hear from them no more.

Either the girls have grown up and gotten boyfriends, or the band is not putting out music often enough to stay on the scene and on the girls' minds. Young girls are so fickle, and they are definitely fairweather fans when something new becomes popular.

There can be a lot of peer pressure to be a fan of what is hot at the moment. This is bad news for boy bands who take a break for a few years. If they return to the scene, they may find that their diehard fans were actually fairweather ones.

lighth0se33
Post 3

Most fans of bands stick around, even when they fall out of popularity. Music can create a bond with people that often transcends trends, so many people will continue to buy a group's CDs and keep up with their tour dates, even after their record sales have dropped and they are no longer such a big thing.

I think that you see more fairweather fans with sports teams and politicians than with musical groups. This is probably because athletes and politicians are both rewarded based on what they achieve, rather than the way they connect with a person. Sound and lyrics can really touch a person's soul, and that prevents the formation of fairweather fans.

OeKc05
Post 2

@Oceana – It seems like these fans are stabbing the team in the back. That is awful for them to give up on the team like that.

It really annoyed me when my best friend, who had an obsession with a certain actor, suddenly lost interest when he got some bad publicity. She had covered her wall in posters of him, she had all his movies, and she watched any program that promised to interview him.

After she heard something that painted him in a negative light, she took down all the posters and sold all the movies. It upset me, and I told her that he would need his fans now more than ever, and what if the news wasn't even true?

Oceana
Post 1

I am not a fan of football, but I live in a college town where almost every person I meet is a fanatic. The team's logo pops up everywhere, from t-shirts to cups, and not a day passes that I don't see at least one person with some form of sports merchandise featuring this logo.

They claim to be fanatics. However, this team had a really bad season last year, and many of them came out of the closet as fairweather fans.

I don't care about football, but it really bothered me that the same people who spend all their money and time supporting this team turned on them when times got tough. These people live and breathe football, and all it took was a few lost games to make them disloyal to their favorite team.

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