The exclusiveness of group identity in celebrations of team success
Basking in reflected glory (BIRGing) describes individuals’ tendency to publicly affiliate themselves with successful others. Within sport, scholars have provided foundational knowledge pertaining to BIRGing; however, they have not deeply engaged with sport fans to understand the influence of multiple group identities in celebrating team success. Using social identity theory and social identity complexity as theoretical frameworks in the current study, I conduct qualitative research with sport fans to understand how multiple group identities influence fan behaviours in response to team performance. I discover that fans (1) BIRG and blast for an enhanced sense of inclusiveness and distinctiveness, and (2) possess multiple, ordinarily inclusive group identities, which converge into a highly exclusive social identity structure immediately before, during, and after games against rivals. I conclude by discussing the potential theoretical and managerial implications regarding multiple group identities in sport contexts, as well as directions for future research.