Are American Sports Fans Too Cool to Sing?

Are American Sports Fans Too Cool to Sing?
Singing, yelling. Tomato, tomAHto...

Sports fans around the world aren't known first for their vocal gifts. But enthusiasm seems to be an innate quality.

It could be that different cultures have different styles. Americans are known by Europeans for their forwardness, and their informal, talkative nature. While college football fans in Nebraska, Mississippi and Southern Cal might welcome you to their home stadium with a smile and a handshake, baseball fans in Philly, The Bronx and Chicago's South Side are open and vocal in a different way, often opinionated and rowdy.

But in England, a land known for its tea, proper manners and stiff upper lip, you will witness the best fan crooning that any sport has to offer.

A year before the 2010 World Cup, the biggest event of the world's biggest sport, soccer, Puma ran it's own version of Star Search. They weren't looking for the next Justin Bieber or Justin Guarini (thank God). Puma was looking for soccer fans that could pull off a footy-influenced choral number for commercials leading up to the World Cup.

The Puma "Hardchorus" project bagged only two real winners, consisting of fans from Italy and the UK. Hopefully you didn't have to see the Russian fans sing, but if you witnessed England fans in the "Truly, Madly, Deeply" TV commercial (below), you know that the end result was glorious.


North London fans sing. Either to their lady or their team. Not sure...

The propensity for England fans to sing isn't just a once-every-four-year thing either. Tuning in to watch English Premier League soccer, which is set to start in a month just before college football, you'll see fans singing from the stands, charged with fresh enthusiasm. Like at American college football stadiums, witnessing the crowd first-hand is even better.


Game over in Manchester, but London's Arsenal fans stay to sing.

I'm no sociologist, but it seems that one aspect of soccer abroad that makes it similar to college football is its parochial nature and fan following. While the NFL has only 32 teams, there are hundreds of colleges that play the top level of their sport.

Between the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and PAC 10 alone, only five top college conferences, there are almost 60 teams. Likewise, England's top two soccer leagues hold 44 teams, with 42 teams in Spain's top two. That's a lot of fans supporting a lot of teams. And a lot of fan energy to burn.

Maybe that explains all the singing.


If England's fans are Miles Davis, then America's fans are Coltrane.

Either way, Ohio State's fans, singing "Carmen Ohio" above, show us that in much of American college football the fans' fire and drive for the sport as heard from the stands is just as great as anywhere in the world.


Andy Frye writes about sports and life here, and belts it out like Sinatra on Twitter at @MySportsComplex.

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