Just a game? Changes in English and Spanish soccer fans' emotions in the 2010 World Cup

Marc V. Jones*, Pete Coffee, David Sheffield, Marc Yangüez, Jamie B. Barker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To explore English and Spanish fans' emotional responses to team success and failure and resulting changes in social interaction and spending during the 2010 Soccer World Cup. 

Design: A between-group and within-group longitudinal design. 

Method: Data on emotion, team identification, social interaction and spending were collected from 59 English fans (47 men, 12 women), and 32 Spanish fans (19 men, 13 women), before, during and after the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Results: Both English and Spanish fans displayed significant changes in emotional state after the success or failure of their respective teams during the Soccer World Cup. The positive emotional state associated with winning the tournament in the Spanish fans persisted for over four days, and the negative emotional state associated with the early exit from the tournament by the English fans did not. Four days after the tournament the Spanish Fans had a more positive emotional state than the English fans. The changes in emotional state were not associated with greater identification with the team assessed through the use of team identifying pronouns; nor were changes in behavior associated with changes in emotional state. After the tournament the Spanish fans reported spending more time socializing than English fans and also spending more money than usual compared with baseline.

Conclusion: These data provide evidence that group membership influences emotion and that the positive emotional experience associated with group success persist longer than the negative emotional experience associated with group failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-169
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Affect
  • Economic
  • England
  • Football
  • Mood
  • Spain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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