Dunbar’s number and clubs’ fans

soccer fans

Many of my readers have heard about Dunbar’s number. The point, I’m sure, is familiar to you. Professor Robin Dunbar found out that each individual can have on average 150 stable relationships.

This number is not just a hypothesis, but a confirmed figure. This number of relationships has been characteristic of both the earlier period of our species development and of quite recent period of time, when people lived in villages with mostly this number of residents.

In our time, the figure has remained unchanged, but the quality of connections has changed. All the villagers knew each other, whereas nowadays many within-Dunbar’s-number connections of a particular person are not familiar with each other.

Professor Robin Dunbar states as well that there is a certain number of very close relationships within Dunbar’s number, but then the connection grows weaker until the relationships are reduced to, say, a casual “hello”.

What has Dunbar’s number got to do with football? We can apply this number to fans.

Let’s go from the fact that 100 people in Dunbar’s number are of no real significance for an individual. Why not then replace the 100 people present in a fan’s life with 100 other fans?

This is the way to organize groups of fans. 100 people are an excellent number to organize a stable group.

Why does it matter? The problem of small organized groups of individuals (indicated by the numeral 35 in the image above) lies in the fact that they might greatly depend both on the leader and on maintaining good relations. Any conflict between two members can eventually destroy the group.

A group consisting of 100 individuals may incorporate about 3 of such groups. Probability theory is sure to make it difficult for so large a group of individuals to disintegrate.

What do football (sports) clubs gain from it? Club gets a clear structure of fan groupings. In addition, segmentation can be applied when creating a group, which will facilitate further work of marketers. Since this theory can be applied in artificial creation of fan groups, then we can speak of a more efficient club’s budget expenditure.

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Best regards,

Leon The Alien