Academic journal article Journal of Sport Behavior

Sport Fan Motivation: Questionnaire Validation, Comparisons by Sport, and Relationship to Athletic Motivation

Academic journal article Journal of Sport Behavior

Sport Fan Motivation: Questionnaire Validation, Comparisons by Sport, and Relationship to Athletic Motivation

Article excerpt

Throughout the last several decades, theorists have attempted to identify the motivations of sport fans and spectators. An examination of this work reveals that there are eight common motives: eustress, self-esteem, escape, entertainment, economic, aesthetic, group affiliation, and family (Wann, 1995, 1997). Some fans are motivated by eustress (Branscombe & Wann, 1994; Gantz & Wenner, 1995; Prisuta, 1979; Sloan, 1989; Wenner & Gantz, 1989). Eustress is a positive form of stress that stimulates and energizes an individual. Individuals motivated by eustress enjoy the excitement and anxiety that often accompany sport spectating. Other fans are motivated by a desire to enhance their self-esteem (Branscombe & Wann, 1991, 1994; Gantz, 1981; Sloan, 1989). Sport fanship helps many individuals create and maintain a positive self-concept. When a fan's team is successful, he or she gains a feeling of achievement and accomplishment.

Escape is a third motive for fans (Lever & Wheeler, 1984; McPherson, 1975; Meier, 1979; Sloan, 1989; Smith, 1988). Fans who are dissatisfied or bored with their life may be able to temporarily forget about their troubles through sport fandom. Other fans view sport spectating as a pastime similar to watching movies or television, listening to music, and so on. These fans are influenced by the entertainment motive (Gantz, 1981 Gantz & Wenner, 1995; Sloan, 1989 Zillmann, Bryant, & Sapolsky, 1989).

Yet another group of fans is motivated by economical concerns (Chorbajian, 1978; Frey, 1992; Gantz & Wenner, 1995; Guttmann, 1986; Layden, 1995; McPherson, 1975). These individuals become and stay involved with sport spectating because of the opportunities to gamble on the events. A sixth motive involves the aesthetic value of athletic events. Some fans are attracted to the beauty and grace found in athletic performances (Duncan, 1983; Guttmann, 1986; Sloan, 1989; Smith, 1988).

The group affiliation motive reflects a fan's desire to be with other people (Branscombe &. Warm, 1991; Gantz & Wenner, 1995; Guttmann, 1986; Melnick, 1993; Sloan, 1989; Smith, 1988; Stein, 1977). This motive involves a fan's need for belongingness. By becoming a fan of a sport team, an individual is able to share the experience with other fans of the same team. In this way, he or she can become attached to and identify with something larger than the self, such as other fans, a college, a community, or even a nation. A similar motive involves a fan's desire to spend time with his or her family (Gantz, 1981; Gantz & Wenner, 1995; Guttmann, 1986; Wenner & Gantz, 1989).

In 1995, Wann conducted a quantitative examination and comparison of the eight hypothesized motives. This research involved the preliminary validation of the Sport Fan Motivation Scale (SFMS). This 23-item, Likert scale instrument was found to accurately reflect the hypothesized eight factors (determined through confirmatory factor analysis), be internally consistent (determined through Cronbach's alpha), to be reliable (determined through test-retest procedures), and contain criterion validity (determined by comparing SFMS subscale scores with items assessing the enjoyment of watching various sports).

The current set of three studies was designed to expand the results of the Wann (1995) research. Specifically, Study 1 was designed to test the psychometric qualities of the instrument with a more heterogeneous sample than was tested in previous work. Study 2 focused on the motivational differences for fans preferring different types of sports (i.e., individual versus team sports and aggressive versus nonaggressive sports). Study 3 was designed to examine the relationship between sport fan motivation and athlete motivation.

Study 1

As stated above, the initial work on the SFMS was quite encouraging as the questionnaire was found to be internally consistent, reliable, and valid (Wann, 1995). …

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