The Influential Role of Scarves in Global Sports Cultures

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Futbol fans gather with their scarves at the World Cup

Why Scarves & Global Sports Go Together Like Burgers & Fries 

In many global sports cultures — especially soccer — scarves are not just a “nice-to-have". They’re a “must-have”. 


Scarves serve as both a functional accessory and a marker of team spirit (not to mention team loyalty). 


How did scarves & global soccer culture become inexorably linked like burgers & fries, peanut butter & jelly, or beans & rice? And what purpose do they now serve, exactly? Here’s what you need to know! 

How Scarves & Soccer Came to Be a Perfect Match 

Scarves and soccer have a long history of association beginning in the early 1900s in the U.K. During that time, most fans in the stadium wore dark colors & fairly formal attire, so a small pop of color went a long way! 


Fans initially used scarves for their practical value (providing warmth and protection from the elements). But half to three-quarters of a century later, soccer clubs began recognizing not only the practical value but also the financial value of scarves. And fans went wild, happy at the chance to show their team spirit in a way that was also practical and comfortable! 

Scarves & International Sports Today 

Sports globalization has led to an international community of fans who share a common bond. The United States has both "exported” its “big three” sports — baseball, American football, and basketball — and become entrenched in the international sports scene. As Andrés Martinez puts it, soccer is no exception to that rule: 


The past decade has witnessed a proliferation of multinational, multi-sport conglomerates. Americans now have ownership stakes (not all controlling) in a majority of the 20 clubs currently playing in the English Premier League.” 


For this very reason, global sports fans wearing international scarves to show their pride and allegiance are now a regular occurrence. As sports like soccer have culturally diffused, so too has the practice of wearing scarves to games. And, while that applies most to soccer, it’s also true of other sports, like American football and hockey. 

Show Your Team Spirit in a Ruffneck Scarf 

Join in on the fun as an athletic supporter by wearing the colors of your favorite team. At Ruffneck we offer the most extensive selection of global scarves available anywhere. 


Looking to show support for a local or intramural team, rather than an international or national one? We also manufacture custom scarves. 

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