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Football Fandom as a Platform for Digital Health Promotion and Behaviour Change: A Mobile App Case Study

Fenton, Alex; Cooper-Ryan, Anna Mary; Hardey, Mariann (Maz); Ahmed, Wasim

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Alex Fenton

Anna Mary Cooper-Ryan

Wasim Ahmed


Background: The last decade has seen a dramatic shift toward the study of fitness surveillance, thanks in part to the emergence of mobile health (mHealth) apps that allow users to track their health through a variety of data-driven insights. This study examines the adoption trends and community mediation of the mobile fitness application ‘FanFit,’ a platform aimed at promoting physical activity among sports fans by creating a fitness app branded to their favourite team for health promotion. Objective: Our study looked at the impact of a specially designed mobile app (FanFit) as a digital health intervention for initiating and maintaining physical activity as part of football club membership. Our analysis indicates that app users will adopt healthier behaviours as a result of the app’s sense of fan community and behaviour change. Methods: The findings reported here are based on an implementation of the FanFit app and, in particular, on those who participated in a more in-depth study (n=30). These participants were Rangers FC supporters with a mix of genders (n=19 males and n=11 females). Focus groups and interviews were conducted with participants to ascertain users’ perspectives on the most effective methods for nudging users toward adopting and maintaining a pattern of fitness behaviours. Results: The findings show that the user community was interested in fitness and wanted to live a ‘healthy lifestyle,’ which was augmented and fuelled by the app’s competitive architecture design. Furthermore, the data reveals a new fan-health discourse about a person’s developing wants, talents, and identities as embodied beings. Conclusions: We have developed and presented valid links between the use of sports club apps and health programmes. The app could be useful for sports programmes and club providers looking for mHealth applications that provide community support through fan discourse with opportunities for both male and female fans


Fenton, A., Cooper-Ryan, A. M., Hardey, M. (., & Ahmed, W. (2022). Football Fandom as a Platform for Digital Health Promotion and Behaviour Change: A Mobile App Case Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(14), Article 8417.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 7, 2022
Online Publication Date Jul 9, 2022
Publication Date Jul 2, 2022
Deposit Date Jul 7, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 7, 2022
Journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Print ISSN 1661-7827
Electronic ISSN 1661-7827
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 14
Article Number 8417
Public URL


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Copyright Statement
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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