wikiHow to Identify a Bandwagon Fan

Three Methods:Listening to What They SayWatching What They DoIdentifying a True Fan

Ever notice how people "suddenly" become fans of teams that are performing well? Do you ever wonder if they are "real fans" like they claim to be? Or do you wonder if they're just bandwagon fans? Bandwagon fans are defined as sports fans who have shown no past loyalty to a team, and who only support them when they are doing well. While people may not admit to being bandwagon fans, there are easy ways to spot them.

Method 1
Listening to What They Say

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    See if they know the staff. True fans of a team will know the names of more than just the star player on the team. See if they know other players, coaches, owners, and former players. This will help determine if they have any loyalty towards the team.
    • Knowing the play-makers is great. But a true fan needs to know more than the offensive players. They need to know what's going on on both sides of the ball.[1]
    • Not every fan follows what goes on behind the scenes so cut them some slack if they don't know the athletic trainer or the newest draft picks.
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    Determine if they know statistics. Knowing statistics takes both time and effort. Do they know the average number of points scored per game? Do they know where the team ranks offensively and defensively? True fans always find ways to track the progress of their favorite team.[2]
    • Their knowledge should go beyond stats for the star player or the team's record. They should be able to discuss the teams status as if they were commentators for ESPN, because it is both informative and entertaining for real fans.
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    See if they know any historical information about the team. It's easy to know about a team's current progress, but it's more difficult to know about the history of a team. A fan who has been loyal for years will know past players, championship years, and significant games.
    • Many fans will also have personal stories associated with the team. For example, you'll know exactly where you were when the Houston Rockets won back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995.
    • Many bandwagon fans only follow teams who have been successful over the last few years and will not know history that stretches beyond the team's current winning streak.[3]
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    Count how many teams they support. Fake fans usually divide their loyalty among more than one team. The more teams they support, the less of a true fan they are. Choosing a favorite sports team is like choosing a wife--you can only have one.[4]
    • In different sports, there are rules about teams you cannot support at the same time. For example, in baseball you can't root for both the Yankees and the Mets.[5] In football, you can't cheer for both the Texans and the Cowboys.
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    Listen to their reasons for supporting the team. Most of the time loyalty to a team is determined by where you live or your support for a player that you idolized as a kid.[6] Bandwagon fans usually have flimsy excuses for why they support a team.
    • For example, reasons such as liking the team colors, having a spouse that supports the team, or picking the favorite team as a kid are not viable reasons.
    • If your favorite team relocates to a different city then the rules change. You are now free to turn your back on that team.
    • If you grew up in a city that didn't have a team for a specific sport, you're then able to pick a team (with good reason of course).[7]
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    See if they only support the best teams in the league. If the fan only supports the #1 teams in football, baseball, basketball, soccer or other major league sports, they are likely not supporting the team, but supporting the winning streak. There will be times when your favorite team will consistently be successful; but it's a strange phenomena when ALL of the teams you support are doing well.
    • For example, it's perfectly acceptable to support the New England Patriots and their success. But to support them, the Chicago Blackhawks, the San Francisco Giants, and the Golden State Warriors at the same time is a sign of being a bandwagon fan.[8]

Method 2
Watching What They Do

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    Notice if they go to games only when the team is successful. It's difficult to support a team when they are in a slump, but real fans do just that. Even if a real fan curses their team, they are there to support them the next game. Bandwagon fans jump off the wagon at the first sign of trouble.[9]
    • Going to a game takes more effort and more money. Bandwagon fans don't want to invest either if the team isn't doing well.
    • The same is true of watching games on television.
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    Ask why they leave the game early. True fans stay at a game until the bitter end--even if they know the result will be less than desirable. On the other hand, bandwagon fans tend to walk out and stop offering support to the team.
    • Bandwagon fans often miss out on some of the best comebacks in sports because they choose to walk out during tough times.[10]
  3. 3
    Determine if they go to live games. Many fans go to live sporting events for the experience of being around like-minded, passionate individuals.[11] Bandwagon fans don't value the experience because they aren't as emotionally invested as real fans. Even if it means braving the cold or paying for over-priced beer, real fans will try to attend at least one game during the season.
    • Some bandwagon fans will attend a game or two just to be able to say that they have. They are unlikely to attend games that aren't convenient. For example, when the weather is bad, when the tickets are too pricey, or when the game falls on a workday.
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    See if they support the team only during playoffs. This has a bit to do with the team being successful, but it also has to do with the importance of the game. Sports seasons can be long and grueling so bandwagon fans like to skip the regular season games and jump right to the good part.
    • Playoff games occur after the regular season and are tournament style games that lead up to the championship.[12]
    • Playoffs also bring out bandwagon fans whose "first choice" didn't make the playoffs. In order to have someone to root for, they will choose a team randomly and only for that season.[13]
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    Determine if they jump off the wagon. This is also known as wavering in their support of the team. If a fan stops supporting their team if they lose a playoff game, championship game, or don't make the playoffs at all, they're exhibiting behavior consistent with that of a bandwagon fan.

Method 3
Identifying a True Fan

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    See if they own a throwback jersey. A throwback jersey is one that duplicates a jersey worn by a team or player from the past.[14] Real fans tend to purchase throwback jerseys (along side more modern sports gear) because they actually know the history of the team and its players.[15]
    • On the contrary, bandwagon fans typically purchase team gear that represents the newest logos, colors, and players.
    • True fans are also more likely to spend big bucks on team gear and throwbacks are usually more authentic and costly.
  2. 2
    Notice if they ever boo their team. True fans will never boo their team because they are trying to inspire them, not make them feel worse. It's okay to be angry with a less than perfect performance, but making your team feel like trash won't help. Real fans stick with their team for better or for worse.[16]
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    Determine if they support their team's players more than any others. A true fan's loyalty is always to his or her team first. That doesn't mean that they can't support or like other players, but it does mean that their loyalty lies with their team's players first.
    • For example, it's fine to appreciate great players like Peyton Manning but if you're a New England fan you support Tom Brady first.
    • Additionally, if you have players who are on your fantasy football team but are not on your favorite football team, you can support them only as far as it doesn't interfere with your favorite team's success.[17]


  • Just because someone wears fan gear (like a jersey or a t-shirt) doesn't make them a fan. It's easy to buy sports memorabilia with the click of a mouse.
  • If you refer to someone as a bandwagoner, they'll probably be offended and get angry. Avoid rubbing it in to avoid a bigger confrontation.


  • Don't ever assume that someone is a fair weather fan if you don't know them well. Get to know them over a period of time before jumping to conclusions.
  • The term "bandwagon fan" is often seen as an insult so use sparingly.

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