Who Says She’s Not a True Fan? Perceptions of Fan Authenticity Among Gen Z Women Sports Fans

Christina S. Simmers
Rebecca Rast
and Joshua T. Coleman

While sports have traditionally been perceived as an industry dominated by men, the women’s sports fashion industry is growing both in terms of market power and complexity. This paper explores women’s fanwear fashion choices and others’ perceptions of their fan authenticity among Gen Z sports fans. Through an application of attribution theory, empirical analyses revealed that men generally do not make differential attributions toward a woman’s fan authenticity based on her fashion choice. Women, however, attribute a nuanced variety of motive and authenticity based on fanwear choice. These findings were extended across men’s and women’s sports teams. This research provides a further understanding of Gen Z perceptions of women who wear various styles of sports fan fashion, how others perceive a woman’s fan authenticity, and the degree to which men and women make these judgments.

DOI: http://doi.org/10.32731/SMQ.323.092023.02