When it comes to many online fandoms, whether they are for a TV show, book, or movie, at their heart lies one thing: storytelling. Fans who have formed online communities around their fandoms may like the fandom’s object of focus for different reasons, but ultimately, regardless of its medium, it is something that was designed to tell a story. Even non-media-based fandoms, which might not readily seem like “storytelling” fandoms have significant storytelling elements; consider the Boston Red Sox fandom and the narrative of the “Curse of the Bambino.” This legendary bit of fan lore, which essentially states that the Boston Red Sox did not win a World Series for 86 years because they traded Babe Ruth in 1919, is a compelling narrative. So compelling, in fact, that Red Sox fans have used it as an emotional coping mechanism when their team comes up short (Prakash 2004). Stories help us make sense of what happens in life, whether it is as simple as a baseball team losing a game or something more profound such as the death of a loved one.
Heiden, Kat. 2017. “Storytelling through Online Fandom.”
I love it when research on media fandom touches upon sports fandom as well. Those kinds of fandoms are still often researched separately, but not always for good or obvious reasons. There’s a lot more crossover these days, for example research on soccer, hockey, etc fanworks. Check out more research on sports fandom here.