Academic journal article Sport Marketing Quarterly

Motivational Profiles of Sport Fans of Different Sports

Academic journal article Sport Marketing Quarterly

Motivational Profiles of Sport Fans of Different Sports

Article excerpt

Abstract

The current investigation examined sport type differences in eight fan motives: escape, economic (i.e., gambling), eustress (i.e., positive arousal), self-esteem, group affiliation, entertainment, family, and aesthetics. Participants (final sample N = 886) completed a questionnaire packet assessing their level of fandom and motivation for consuming one of 13 target sports: professional baseball, college football, professional football, figure skating, gymnastics, professional hockey, boxing, auto racing, tennis, professional basketball, college basketball, professional wrestling, and golf. Sports were classified into three different dichotomies: individual (e.g., figure skating, golf) versus team (e.g., professional baseball, college basketball); aggressive (e.g., professional wrestling, professional football) versus nonaggressive (e.g., professional baseball, figure skating); and stylistic (e.g., figure skating, gymnastics) versus nonstylistic (e.g., professional hockey, tennis). In addition to differences in target sports (e.g., golf versus professional football), statistical analyses indicated a number of sport type differences. Aesthetic motivation was found to be particularly prominent in individual sports, while scores were greater for team sports in eustress, self-esteem, group affiliation, entertainment, and family. Aesthetic motivation scores were also high in nonaggressive sports, while economic, eustress, group affiliation, and entertainment were higher for team sports. Finally, aesthetic motivation was quite high for stylistic sports, while economic, eustress, self-esteem, group affiliation, entertainment, and family motivation scores were higher for nonstylistic sports. Only one motive, escape, was not found to differ in at least one sport type comparison. The discussion centers on potential explanations for the sport type differences as well as on marketing implications and suggestions for future research.

Motivational Profiles of Sport Fans of Different Sports

Over the past 20 years, sport scientists (e.g., sport psychologists, sport sociologists, and sport marketing pro-fessionals) have shown an increased interest in the psychological factors that motivate individuals to consume sport. Although the list of potential motives is naturally quite extensive, eight motives appear to be particularly common among fans (see Wann, Melnick, Russell, & Pease, 2001, for an in-depth discussion of various motivational typologies): escape, economic, eustress, self-esteem, group affiliation, entertainment, family, and aesthetics.

The escape motive involves the use of sport fandom and spectating as a diversion from the rest of one's life (Sloan, 1989; Smith, 1988). That is, individuals who are dissatisfied by their home life, work, college experience, and so forth may be able to temporarily forget their troubles while consuming sport. Consequently, the use of sport as an escape may be particularly prevalent during personally difficult and/or stressful times (e.g., during times of war; see Wann, 1997).

The economic motive is found among individuals who are attracted to the potential economic gains to be accrued through sport wagering (Eastman & Land, 1997; Gantz & Wenner, 1995; Guttmann, 1986). Some researchers (e.g., Wann, 1995) have failed to find a relationship between level of economic motivation and self-proclaimed fandom. This suggests that these individuals may not be "fans" in the normal sense of the word (e.g., rooting for a favored team, identifying with players, etc.).

A third motive is eustress (i.e., euphoric stress), which involves a desire to gain excitement and stimulation through sport (Gantz, 1981; Sloan, 1989). Fans with high levels of eustress motivation become involved with the pastime because they enjoy the excitement and arousal they experience watching sport. A fourth motive, group affiliation, concerns the social nature of sport spectating. …

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