Fans are of central importance to sport service production. Their passion, excitement, and involvement plays a crucial role in event implementation and value creation. Due to the importance of fans as "co-producers" of the sport service, the hypothesis of this research is that a fan community is a salient stakeholder in the value co-creation process. This paper focuses on how a football fan community engages in manifold interaction with its team, the local context, and the network of actors as a whole. Within the theoretical framework of the stakeholders and the network approach, a multi-case analysis and thorough examination of the ACF Fiorentina's season ticket holders database enlightens a system of relationships where fans are able to influence the internal dynamics of the social network that has developed around the football club. In light of the empirical evidence presented by the case studies and the database on supporters, we propose a first typology of fans' roles and strategic behaviours. Findings, though not exhaustive, illustrate not only the roles assumed by fans during matches in terms of identification and participation, but also underline the variety of ways in which fans behave as stakeholders of their own team. In terms of value cocreation, this research highlights the fan community as a salient stakeholder and not just a mere spectator. Fans and supporters not only are crucial actors in implementing the sport service, but they even play an important role of influencing the choices and behaviours of the football club and other stakeholders.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.