Fans Have More Friends

Fans Have More Friends

Fans Have More Friends

Fans Have More Friends


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"...Ben Valenta and David Sikorjak explore a convincing case for how fandom can improve both our relationships and lives." -Arthur C. Brooks, Harvard professor and #1 New York Times bestselling author of From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life


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:

  • Improved social connections
  • Stronger community ties
  • Enhanced well-being
  • A greater sense of belonging, and
  • More friends

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9798985842821
Publisher: Silicon Valley Press
Publication date: 11/15/2022
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 200
File size: 12 MB
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About the Author

Ben Valenta is the SVP of Strategy & Analytics for FOX Sports. In his previous life as a consultant, he advised an incredible array of clients, including: Nike, NFL, Anheuser-Busch InBev, YouTube, ESPN, National Geographic, MSNBC, NBC News, Livestrong, New York Knicks, and New York Rangers. He likes to surf and ride bikes and wrestle with his kids in Venice, California.
In 2017, David Sikorjak founded Dexterity Consulting, a strategy and analytics consultancy that artfully blends research, analysis, and empathy to transform how brands think. Prior to that, he was an executive at Publicis, NBC, and Madison Square Garden. A proud New Yorker, Dave is a husband, father, yogi, little league coach, and Yankees/Knicks/Jets fan.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Michael Mulvihill


01 Reframing Fandom

02 Fans Have More Friends

03 The Fandom Flywheel

04 The Benefits of Belonging

05 The Polarization Problem

06 Fandom as Identity

07 Embrace Your Fandom



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