Fans Have More Friends
by Ben Valenta; David Sikorjak
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Pub Date 15 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 30 Sep 2023
THIS BOOK IS ABOUT THE POWER OF BELONGING
Research shows that 61 percent of Americans feel lonely, misunderstood, and left out. And those are the numbers before the pandemic enforced isolation. There is also evidence that loneliness can impact your physical health. So how do we go from being lonely to belonging? Becoming a sports fan may be the first step.
In Fans Have More Friends, sports fans, dads, and data analysts David Sikorjak and Ben Valenta argue that fandom can not only increase our sense of belonging but also serves as a powerful antidote to loneliness because sports fans experience increased social connection. What they didn’t realize was how deep that connection was, the potential it carried for individual and societal wellness, or the opportunities it offered for adult friendships, making and keeping friends, and family ties.
Their theory is simple: if we want to be less lonely, we need to belong to a community or something greater than ourselves. Over the course of two years, countless in-person interviews and rigorously designed surveys, Ben Valenta and David Sikorjak have the proof that being a fan can lead to:
The data pales in comparison to the incredible people you’ll meet throughout the book. The common thread in all of these personal stories is friendship, community, and belonging–a feeling research can’t reveal as well as stories can. Fans Have More Friends will make you think differently about sports and reminds all of us of the essential animating quality of fandom: We’re in this together. Sports is not always about what’s happening on the field but what’s happening in the stands.
"A convincing case for the societal benefits of sports fandom." —Kirkus Reviews
"A shared love for our teams and sports can be an unexpected source of community and happiness. In Fans Have More Friends Ben Valenta and David Sikorjak explore a convincing case for how fandom can improve both our relationships and lives." —Arthur C. Brooks, Professor, Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School, and #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Fans Have More Friends is an insightful social science study that forwards useful suggestions for fostering social connections and strengthening communities." —Foreword Reviews
"An upbeat, data-driven sociological breakdown of the benefits of sports fandom." —BookLife Reviews
"Fans Have More Friends opened my eyes to fandom’s ability to galvanize relationships, build community, and instill in us a greater sense of belonging. A must-read for fans and non-fans alike. I’ve never been much of a sports fan myself, but after reading Fans Have More Friends, you’ll see me at a ballgame this season." —Dan Buettner, National Geographic Fellow and #1 New York Times Bestselling author of The Blue Zones
"In a world so badly in need of things that bring us together, Valenta and Sikorjak overwhelmingly prove the case for one that works not just incredibly well, but better than we ever knew. I am a super-fan of this book." —David Hollander, Professor at NYU Tisch Institute for Global Sport and author of How Basketball Can Save the World
National Marketing Campaign
National Marketing Campaign