Spectator identification and consumption motives in a sample of South African football fans: exploring the mediating role of social media engagement
De Beer, L.T.
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The sport industry has been resilient and inherently buoyant despite difficult economic circumstances. This can largely be attributed to the level of sport fans' experience of identity with team. Notwithstanding this insight, empirical work that explores the relationship between fan identity and the psychological motives for sport consumption is limited. Moreover, little is known of how to pragmatically leverage the association between sport spectator identity and consumer motives, which is ultimately the informer of purchasing decisions. The objective of this research was to analyse the relationship between identity with team and the underlying motivations for sport consumption among a sample of South African football fans. A secondary aim was to evaluate the extent to which social media engagement could mediate this relationship. A sample of 1 855 football fans of one of South Africa's largest and most successful professional football clubs participated in the study. Only one premier league football team was selected, as identity with team is contextual. A cross-sectional research design was implemented. Statistical analysis by means of structural equation modelling revealed direct paths between identity with team and the sport consumption motives of these fans. Furthermore, a single significant mediation effect was revealed between these variables through frequent social media engagement. The postulated research question was defended from the theoretical context of values, and attitudinal and customer engagement (CE) theory. Results are discussed and recommendations made. Seen from a sport-marketing perspective, the research indicates the commercial potential of sport fan identity to inform the psychological decision to purchase on the part of sport fans. Further to this, it suggests social media to be a pragmatic tool to leverage this relationship.
- Faculty of Humanities