Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Ray, George

Subject Headings

Cleveland Browns (Football team : 1999- ), Football fans -- Ohio -- Cleveland -- Psychology, Online social networks -- Ohio -- Cleveland, Sports spectators -- Social aspects -- Ohio -- Cleveland, basking in reflected glory, spiral of silence, computer-mediated communication, social networking, sports fandom, Cleveland Browns, content analysis, self-identity, group identity, professional football, language use, emotions, pronouns


Emerging technologies and the ever-changing climate of the Internet has helped social networking sites to foster relationships between sports fans and professional sports teams. This study focused on identification a Cleveland Browns fan feels with the team as a predicting factor of emotions, actions, self and group identity, and pronominal usage. An online survey was given to Cleveland Browns fans to determine their level of fandom, Cleveland Browns knowledge, overall media habits, feelings toward the city of Cleveland, personality traits, and demographic information. A content analysis was conducted to determine the pronominal usage, used to indicate a specific distance from the team based on its successes or failures, and whether the fan was more likely to distance themselves when speaking of the team's future. The survey found that Cleveland Browns fans were proud of the city of Cleveland based on its sports teams, will wear apparel regardless of a win or loss, and bigger fans with more knowledge and time spent on the Internet were more likely to speak out when in the minority opinion in response to topics related to the team. The content analysis found that bigger Cleveland Browns fans were more likely to use pronouns when speaking about the team, expressed positive feelings towards the future of the team, and reported negative feelings toward Art Modell, former owner of the team

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