In sports, usually the smaller teams only have local supporters, while the bigger ones have supporters that go beyond their city/town/region and even country. This often upsets locals of smaller towns that have a smaller team representing them, and they'll immediately view the supporters of bigger teams as gloryhunters or plastics.
In football/soccer it's quite common for people outside of Europe to have a favourite European club or two. Usually top clubs from England/Spain/Germany/Italy. Personally, I don't think it's that big of a deal for an Indonesian guy to support AC Milan or Liverpool. Those clubs never face Indonesian clubs in official matches since European clubs play in UEFA competitions and Asian clubs in the AFC. So unless an Indonesian club one day wins the AFC Champions League and on the same year as Liverpool win the UEFA CL and both clubs meet each other at the FIFA Club World Cup, it's unlikely they'll ever face each other ever, even in a friendly match.
I do think it's important to support your local team, though. By this, I mean teams from your country. I guess a lot of countries out there don't have developed enough infra-structure or a strong traditional football culture enough to get locals excited for their football, so they end up looking up to European clubs instead. I do find it a little bit odder for, let's say, a person from Denmark or Croatia to support a foreign team and not care at all for a Danish or Croatian team. Here in Portugal a lot of people like football and follow the big leagues and might have a slight preference for a foreign club or two, but it's NEVER superior to their alliance to the local club. I've only met a single Portuguese person in my life who strictly supported a foreign club: it was back in 9th grade and he supported FC Barcelona and had NO connections to Spain or Catalonia whatsoever. It was a bit odd, but his choice I guess. Portugal has a strong enough football culture, tradition and history which means people will support Portuguese clubs.
Anyway, considering people from all over the world see certain clubs playing in the latter stages of the Champions League on a regular basis I can't really blame them for taking a liking to those clubs. It's actually a bit stranger for people to support smaller or less-known clubs from far away, tbh. Like, when I happen to see an American or a Canadian supporting Norwich FC of all English clubs it makes me wonder. I guess it's brave and noble of them to do so, but it's bit head scratching, know what I mean?
I recently met a Japanese guy who supports Benfica. He doesn't support any J-League team afaik
and he even said he'd support Portugal's NT against Japan's because "there's no Japanese players at Benfica". I mean, I appreciate his love for Benfica, but it's still a bit odd hearing that
. Japan is actually one of the top Asian countries at football and the J-League gets good attendance. Apparently he became a Benfica fan when he travelled to Portugal in 2010 to study Portuguese and happened to watch our games at the stadium and his favourite player of all time was Pablo Aimar who played for us at the time. If Aimar was his idol, safe to say that he was already a football fan at least 7-8 years previously.
Can't speak much about American sports cuz I don't follow or know much about them, but pretty sure the NBA is huge worldwide and I'm sure a lot of people who live far from USA and never been there support NBA teams such as the Bulls or the Lakers. I think American teams usually don't play European basketball teams, do they?
I guess everyone is different. I am Portuguese and from Lisbon and my entire family supports Benfica, so I can't imagine myself supporting any other team. Most foreigners who support Benfica are people with Portuguese ancestry from Portuguese immigration in the 50s-60s and people from former Portuguese colonies in Africa. Occasionally you'll meet a guy like the Japanese fan I mentioned a couple of paragraphs above, though. I also have met a German guy before who only supports Benfica. Makes me wonder why no Bundesliga team has conquered his heart instead, since Germany has a strong football history with several well-known clubs that have had legends playing for them in the past, but whatever lol. Glad he's on our side instead.
I've read somewhere before that Liverpool fans are annoyed at all the tourists in Anfield these days. I think I'd be annoyed too if half of my team's stadium consisted of Chinese tourists taking selfies all the time, but that's not happening here, so I don't find the whole thing overwhelming. In fact, I think it's kinda nice of them to pick a team like ours when they could have easily picked regular CL winners and contenders. A fan is a fan and adds revenue and social media engagement and following to Benfica. A foreigner who supports Benfica is, in my book, much worthier than a Portuguese person who hates it. Benfica is the most popular club in Portugal with fans all over the country and also enjoys immense popularity in former Portuguese colonies such as Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, etc. so it's not that odd for someone from the other side of the world to take a liking to us nor do we see it as a problem. Maybe people from smaller and more regional clubs would find that odd.
Ofc a lot of those Asian and African fans of Bayern or Man City will be plastics, but a lot of them are likely to become fans for life, so it's hard to generalise. And someone who adapts their sleeping pattern to watch a bunch of games every month deserves some credit to some degree. I couldn't imagine having to stay up until 3AM to watch Benfica play regularly. Does that make me less of a fan? I don't think so.