In the midst of the Canadian Football League’s off-season, three Calgary graduate students, Andrea Morrow, Jamie Ekelund and Jillian Hanson, set out to explore how the Saskatchewan Roughriders (Riders) fan base creates a sense of community, identity and culture within the city of Calgary. With one Albertan and two former Saskatchewanians on the team, this ethnographic research employed an insider and outsider approach.
Kicking off the research, the group created a unique identity ‘RiderprideYYC’ and grassroots community using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Social media helped to both engage fans in Calgary and to gather research from participants.
RiderPrideYYC conducted face-to-face interviews, observations and interactions with the public. This allowed the researchers to connect with the community and engage with a wide demographic. The team created a short documentary to highlight the interactions and help popularize the research, as well as hosting the “Biggest Off-Season Rider Pride Party.” Over 100 Riders fans attended to show their Rider Pride and meet with other Calgary-based Riders fans.