"...Ben Valenta and David Sikorjak explore a convincing case for how fandom can improve both our relationships and lives." --Arthur C. Brooks, Harvard professor and #1 New York Times bestselling author of From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life
THIS BOOK IS ABOUT THE POWER OF BELONGING
Research shows that 61 percent of Americans feel lonely, misunderstood, and left out. And those are the numbers before the pandemic enforced isolation. There is also evidence that loneliness can impact your physical health. So how do we go from being lonely to belonging? Becoming a sports fan may be the first step.
In Fans Have More Friends, sports fans, dads, and data analysts David Sikorjak and Ben Valenta argue that fandom can not only increase our sense of belonging but also serves as a powerful antidote to loneliness because sports fans experience increased social connection. What they didn't realize was how deep that connection was, the potential it carried for individual and societal wellness, or the opportunities it offered for adult friendships, making and keeping friends, and family ties.
Their theory is simple: if we want to be less lonely, we need to belong to a community or something greater than ourselves. Over the course of two years, countless in-person interviews and rigorously designed surveys, Ben Valenta and David Sikorjak have the proof that being a fan can lead to: Improved social connectionsStronger community tiesEnhanced well-beingA greater sense of belonging, andMore friends
The data pales in comparison to the incredible people you'll meet throughout the book. The common thread in all of these personal stories is friendship, community, and belonging-a feeling research can't reveal as well as stories can. Fans Have More Friends will make you think differently about sports and reminds all of us of the essential animating quality of fandom: We're in this together. Sports is not always about what's happening on the field but what's happening in the stands.
About the Author
Ben Valenta is the SVP of Strategy & Analytics for FOX Sports. In his previous life as a consultant, he advised an incredible array of clients, including: Nike, the NFL, Anheuser-Busch InBev, YouTube, ESPN, National Geographic, MSNBC, NBC News, Livestrong, the New York Knicks, and the New York Rangers. He likes to surf and ride bikes and wrestle with his kids in Venice, California.David Sikorjak is the founder of Dexterity Consulting, a strategy and analytics consultancy that artfully blends research, analysis, and empathy to transform how brands think. Prior to that, he was an executive at Publicis, NBC, and Madison Square Garden. A proud New Yorker, David is a husband, father, yogi, little league coach, and Yankees/Knicks/Jets fan.