Hristina Yordanova, Minko Pondev
National Police General Directorate, National Centre for Security of Sport Events (Bulgaria)
Abstract. The development of technology and the transformation of the Internet into a dominant channel of communication have led to intense and diverse changes in the behavior of moderate and extreme supporters of sports teams. The report presents a brief overview of the characteristics of the communities of supporters in Bulgaria: profile, structure and dynamics of formal and informal fan organizations throughout the country and abroad. The global pandemic and the closure of sports facilities have led to an intensification of the importance of cyberspace as a substitute for real events and phenomena. This report focuses on the features and dynamics of open and closed fan groups on social networks. For this purpose,
150 pages of organizations and groups of supporters of the most active communities in Bulgaria were studied through the method of content analysis. The report presents a brief overview of the socio-psychological characteristics of fan communities and makes a typology of groups and pages in the Bulgarian virtual space by deriving four main types with their basic characteristics: common pages, national groups, regional factions and leaders’ pages. The analysis focuses on their mechanisms of influencing the attitudes and behavior of both extreme and moderate supporters, through identified behavioral patterns online and live in the relatively short period of attending sporting events.
Keywords: typology of online fan groups; extreme supporters; fan factions; behavioral patterns online