Role of Fanship in College Satisfaction through Using SNS for Sports

By Yoon, Youngmin; Wang, Ryan et al. | Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, October 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Role of Fanship in College Satisfaction through Using SNS for Sports


Yoon, Youngmin, Wang, Ryan, Jeong, Seunghoon, Journal of Multidisciplinary Research


Introduction

Social interaction plays an important role in human well-being. Fortunately, sports can serve as an easy and quick medium through which individuals can form affiliation with friends because sport exhibits the human spirit and social bonding (Funk, Mahony, & Ridinger, 2002; Wann, 1995). For example, college students can easily build a social relationship by following and talking about intercollegiate sports such as football and basketball, resulting in increased student interactions, friendships, sentiments, and social affiliation with various groups (Duderstadt, 2001; Sperber, 2000). Sports fans also spend their spare time online and participate in activities such as playing, discussing, watching, and shopping. These sports fans comprise about 19% of all Internet users in the United States (Sachoff, 2008, n.p.). In addition, the growth of social network sites (SNS) could further assist individuals in developing social interactions through sports.

In 2015, Facebook, the most popular SNS, has 1.49 billion active users (Smith, 2015, n.p.). Connecting with other users is one of the most influential motivations for online users to formulate an online community (Clavio, 2008). Many college students maintain social relationships with their peer groups through Facebook. Previous research revealed that most college students, approximately between 85% and 99%, enjoy using Facebook (Junco, 2012, p. 162). We live in a high technology generation and can connect with others through various means, including SNS, virtually anywhere and with an increasing number of devices. For example, Choi (2006) revealed that 85% of the study participants "listed the maintenance and reinforcement of pre-existing social networks as their main motive for Cyworld use" (p. 181).

Facebook Groups provide a useful medium that members can participate in and on which they can discuss issues based on their interests and activities (Gordon & Stephens, 2007). Thus, sports and various SNSs, especially Facebook groups, provide more opportunities than ever for college sports fans to facilitate their social relationships. Nevertheless, this popularity of sportsrelated social media usage has not received equal research attention. Of note, no research has ever empirically focused on the potential structural relationships among sports fanship, motivations to use sports-related SNS, and college students' life satisfaction.

In sum, this study focuses on the effects of being a fan for college sports on college students' motivations to participate in sport-based SNS and thus their overall satisfaction with college experiences. More precisely, considering the popularity of intercollegiate sports and college students' active participation in Facebook sports groups, the researchers posit that students who are college sports fans would be highly motivated to join Facebook groups and subsequently become more satisfied with their college life. This study further explores this proposed structural relationship among fanship, motivations, and college life satisfaction in four different conditions determined by a student's country of origin (i.e., domestic vs. international) and usage frequency (i.e., high vs. low).

Conceptual Framework and Background

Sports Fan and Facebook Groups Usage

The popularity of college football is generally known as the third-most favorite sport in US, behind only the National Football League and Major League Baseball. College football is the second-most popular sport in the United States (U.S.) sports landscape (Dodd, 2015) as well as among those who have a college degree (Clavio & Walsh, 2014). Of note, college-aged young millennial are often SNS users. According to the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECAR), among the 36,950 college students surveyed in 127 U.S. and Canadian universities, 90% of college students utilize SNS, and 97% of them are active users of Facebook on a daily basis (Smith & Caruso, 2010, p. …

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