Using a mixed-method exploratory approach we describe and explain the seemingly nonnormative behaviors of highly identified fans who Bet Against their Favorite Teams (BAFT). Axial coding of qualitative data from 190 survey respondents and two focus groups indicates the emergence of common themes allowing a typology to unfold that explains the motives for and against BAFTing. Results reveal that Gamblers BAFT for reasons un-related to fandom. Hedgers, on the other hand, BAFT precisely because they are fans; they offset a perceived impending emotional loss with a financial gain, a behavior we identify as Hedging Against Future Failure (HAFFing). This research expands the theoretical knowledge of indirect tactics of image management and introduces HAFFing as a transactional, proactive, and private coping mechanism utilized by highly identified fans to regulate their psychological health. Beyond the implications for researchers of self-image management, these results are applicable to global sport managers adapting to the rising prominence and societal acceptance of sport gambling.
Agha, N., & Tyler, B. D. An investigation of highly identified fans who bet against their favorite teams. Sport Management Review, 2016, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.smr.2016.09.004