These unique fan communities are surprisingly large
Olympic.ca is currently featuring a series exploring sports fans.
The world is full of beautifully passionate people for all kinds of things. In sport we call them fans, and their enthusiasm blooms into clubs and communities all around the world.
Cover photo: @IntelExtremeMasters
Next time you’re in your fan happy place and feel that rise of excitement in your chest, you’ve become one of the world’s fans. Others are feeling the same joy, entirely somewhere else, inspired by a different event.
Here are a few communities proving the fan feeling is universal:
Gamers are committed people. World of Warcraft (WOW), dota 2, Call of Duty, League of Legends and more each have legions of dedicated players, and watchers. The best players earn hundreds of thousands in prize money. Tournaments in South Korea draw arenas full of fans, with thousands more watching online. Popular streaming site Twitch sold to Amazon for a total of 1.1 billion dollars in late summer. At X Games talented gamers are superstars and their craft is mashing buttons to make screen magic.
Check out the ace commentary on this game:
Heptathlon and Decathlon in Austria
Austrians know how to do an alpine skiing race with the all the shouting, cowbells and hundreds of thousands lining the slopes. But they also throw a decent athletics party as well. Götzis, Austria is the home of the famous Hypo-Meeting that entices the world’s best multi-event athletes plus a packed house to cheer them on. Canadians Damian Warner and Brianne Theisen-Eaton both won in 2013.
Here’s someone who’s won the Hypo-Meeting:
Ski jumping in Norway
Search the above title and the first result is the great cathedral of ski jumping, Holmenkollen in Oslo, Norway. The place looks magnificent with one trestled spire reaching 60 metres at a terrifying angle into the night sky. The best ski jumpers in the world scream down this thing and launch themselves in front of 30,000 spectators. All standing out in the freezing cold. Competition has been taking place at Holmenkollen since the 1890s, including the 1952 Winter Olympic Games, so it’s no wonder Norwegians love them a good jumper.
Speed skating in the Netherlands
Remember the time when Dutch skaters won everything at the Olympics? Ya, that was Sochi. And the entire country was going nuts. Speed skating draws fervent crowds and elicits passionate debate in a country of around 17 million people. Oh and the orange, always in orange. Two World Cup stops are in Heerenveen this year, plus World Single Distance Championships. Back to Sochi, Canada’s Denny Morrison did sneak in there a few times. ‘Atta boy Denny:
Here’s what it looks like in Heerenveen:
Spanish soccer fans
Barca or Real Madrid? Doesn’t matter, these people are all fiery. The heated debate over which Spanish soccer club has the biggest following is certainly a tough one, both have over 75 million Facebook fans. They are both community-owned teams with generations of followers laying claim to soccer history. In addition to being popular, these fan communities also make quite lucrative businesses. On this year’s Forbes list both clubs are valued at well over 3 billion dollars.