What does bandwagon fan mean?
There are diehard fans, and then there are bandwagon fans. Bandwagon fans only show interest and support for a sports team based on recent successes or popularity, e.g., when their city’s football is going to or has won the Super Bowl.
Where does bandwagon fan come from?
Alas, we don’t have many real bandwagons anymore. But, in the 1800s, they were all the rage. Bandwagons were wagons that carried musicians and entertainers (i.e., bands) around in circus parades or to political rallies.
By the late 1800s, getting (or jumping, climbing, etc.) on the bandwagon described, usually dismissively, joining a party, cause, or movement because of its mass appeal or strength, often to benefit from it. The original notion, apparently, is of wanting to join the winning side (band). Teddy Roosevelt notably used bandwagon fan in 1899.
Today, for instance, a company may be accused of jumping on the Gluten-free bandwagon if it’s perceived to attempt to profit from interest in gluten-free foods and diets (while lacking a genuine interest in gluten intolerance).
By at least 1991, we can find the term bandwagon fan in online message-boards for hockey fans. In contrast to fans who show up for their team win or lose, a bandwagon fan snubs people who to start follow or root for a particular sports team (they jump on the bandwagon) after they they start winning a lot of games and become more popular.
In 2019, for instance, people who celebrated the Toronto Raptors after the won the NBA finals for the first time in their history but had never shown prior interest (or knew anything about the team) were called bandwagon fans.
Psychologists refer to this phenomenon (in sports and elsewhere) as the bandwagon effect.
Examples of bandwagon fan
Who uses bandwagon fan?
When a bandwagon fan, also called bandwagoner, jumps off the bandwagon, they can be called a fair-weather fan, i.e., losing interest when the team isn’t doing well.
I cheer for my home team because I will never be a bandwagon fan!!! Have a great summer- get some rest, heal, enjoy the family, I’ll be waiting for you in the fall season!!!#ThunderUp
— shorty morals (@MoralsShorty) April 25, 2019
Bandwagon fan is generally used as a mild insult, characterizing someone as liking a team just because it’s trendy and not being truly invested or knowledgeable about it.
Morning remind that @TheAvettSister is a bandwagon fan! She started liking the Caps on June 7th. Which happens to be the same, exact night the Caps won the Stanley Cup.
— Kheron Alston (@Kheron_Alston) April 25, 2019
If the Browns win big this year, by all means call me a bandwagon fan. #Baker
— Scott M. (@Scott75404773) April 24, 2019
While mainly used in sports, the phrase bandwagon fan can be found in other areas of fandom.
ok bandwagon fan 🤢🤢 — right 🤢 https://t.co/mL3IF6WeMb
— via (@keerycriss) August 6, 2019
This is not meant to be a formal definition of bandwagon fan like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of bandwagon fan that will help our users expand their word mastery.