Why do some fans travel to follow professional sport teams? In order to answer that question, participant observation and ethnographic interviews were used to examine the motives and behaviors of a group that undertakes a 5-day bus trip to watch its team play in a distant city. Nostalgia was identified as a key element of the experience. In particular, nostalgic recollections of past trips were found to be a vital basis for repeated travel by the group and for socializing new members. Five themes having to do with nostalgia were identified: nostalgia as motive, norms and rituals as objects of nostalgia, best experience as object of nostalgia, nostalgia as a basis for trip suggestions, and nostalgia through socialization. It is suggested that group-based nostalgia can play a more significant role in fan travel behavior than has heretofore been recognized and that nostalgic appeals can foster repeat purchase.
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