Ah, football. A game of honor, of tradition, of beauty. And yes, its a game of large men smashing into each other very quickly. But to many, football means a lot more than that -- especially in a place like Green Bay, Wisconsin -- home of the Green Bay Packers football team. Green Bay is where football feels the way football is supposed to be. It’s a special place, with great characters and great fans that hold a place in their heart for ‘the Pack.’
Even though they’ll likely never admit it, none of these fans were born Packers fans. Someone or something inspired or taught them how to be fans. Maybe they caught a glimpse of quarterback Aaron Rodgers throwing a Hail Mary to win a big game. Or maybe their grandma’s deep affection for Packer great Reggie White rubbed off on them.
Whatever it was that led them to be Cheeseheads, their fandom gives them a built-in community, something they have in common with strangers, and something to look forward to on game day Sundays.
"Cheesehead" is a nickname for a fan of the Green Bay Packers football team.
A young Packer fan in his natural habitat.
A young Cheesehead in his natural habitat; "Cheesehead" is a nickname for a fan of the Green Bay Packers.
As a new fan, what would make sense to you?
For simplicity’s sake, let’s just say you're not a Packer fan. Maybe you’ve always hated football, sports, and nothing anyone could ever do or say could change your mind. Well, then this problem and opportunity space might not be for you.
But, maybe you haven’t been a sports fan in the past and something you’ve seen or heard about football or the Packers recently has sparked your interest. Or maybe a loved one wants to share their love for the team with you. Or maybe you’re a fan of things like community, of rivalry, or of grace, and you've started to realize that the human drama that is football can bring those things in spades.
As a potential fan wanting to learn about a new team, or even about the sport the team plays, where would you go? What would speak to you? What would make sense to you?
After brief preliminary chats with people who wouldn't consider themselves sports fans, but who wouldn't rule out being a fan in the future, I wrote up this problem statement:
Potential new sports fans (as in, those who previously would not have considered themselves fans in general) can have trouble learning about their newly adopted team or sport.
With this problem statement in mind, I wanted create a website to entertain new fans in a way that didn't require them to have a deep knowledge of the team or game to understand. I also wanted to help build up their sports knowledge gradually, but in a way that met new fans at their level.
These are ideas I looked to address with my prototype, using the Green Bay Packers and their potential fans as a test case. I’m not a Packer fan myself (Go Niners!), but I thought it would be helpful to think about another team, its fans, and its culture when thinking about potential solutions to this problem.
Japanese Cheeseheads on pilgrimage to a Packers home game.