You are Close to Your Rival and Everyone Hates a Winner: A Study of Rivalry in College Football

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We use a recent survey of college (American) football fans to study rivalry, where we find the most intense rivalries occur between in-state teams. Relatedly, within a conference fans are more likely to target rivalrous feelings toward the winningest teams and, in Bowl Championship Series conferences, teams who have been conference members for a longer proportion of time. While the stakes are different from other settings, such as warring nations, college football teams compete for resources and often have loyal followings with strong emotional ties. Thus, examining rivalrous feeling in this setting provides insights into rivalry more generally besides being of interest in its own right as college football is a multi-billion dollar industry.


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Western Economic Association International