Whether Loyalty to a Football Club Can Translate into a Political Support for the Club Owner: An Empirical Evidence from Thai League

  •  Thanaporn Sriyakul    
  •  Anurak Fangmanee    
  •  Kittisak Jermsittiparsert    


The participation of politicians and their kin in the sport of football, as presidents of football clubs, in the past many years has been widely criticized as a use of the football clubs as tools to gain popularity and, possibly, a political base or a voting bloc for these politicians. This research is conducted in order to (1) study the loyalty level towards football clubs and the corresponding political supports expressed towards the football club executives and (2) examine the relationship between such demographic factors as gender, age, educational level, occupation, income, duration of being a fan, as well as loyalty to the football club and the aforementioned political supports, by collecting data from fans of five football clubs competing in the Thai League during the 2016 season. Including 385 fans, the data are collected using questionnaire, and then analyzed in terms of frequency, percentage, mean, standard variation, and Pearson’s correlation coefficient analysis with the significance level set at five percent. The research finds that overall the fans of all five clubs are highly loyal to the club and express a moderate political support for the club executives. It also finds that gender, age, and education have no relationship to the political support, while occupation, income, duration of being a fan, and especially loyalty to the football club are correlated with the political support. This result confirms the hypothesis that loyalty to a football club can, in fact, potentially translate into a political support for the politicians who are also the owners of the football clubs.

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