Social Media as a Relationship Marketing Tool in Professional Sport: A Netnographical Exploration

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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This study, guided by the relationship marketing theoretical framework, adopted an observational netnography method to investigate professional sport teams’ use of Twitter as a relationship marketing tool. Specifically, the study focused on the three core components of the theoretical framework of relationship marketing: communication, interaction, and value. The observational netnography is based on data gathered from the official Twitter account of 20 professional sport teams in the four major North American leagues over a seven-month period. Results outline seven emergent communication types, six interaction practices, and ten values (co)created by the teams or/and fans. Theoretical and practical implications, as well as impetus for future research, are identified.

Abeza is with the Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX. O’Reilly is with the Dept. of Sports Administration, University of Ohio, Athens, OH. Seguin is with the School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada. Nzindukiyimana is with the School of Kinesiology, Western University, London, ON, Canada.

Please address author correspondence to Gashaw Abeza at