Professional Team Sport and Twitter: Gratifications Sought and Obtained by Followers

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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  • 1 Ryerson University, Canada
  • 2 Ohio University, USA
  • 3 Laurentian University, Canada
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Without exception, all professional sport teams in North America use social media to communicate with fans. Sport communication professionals use Twitter as one of the strategic tools of engagement, yet there remains a lack of understanding about how users are motivated and gratified in their Twitter use. Drawing on a specific sample from the Twitter followers of the Canadian Football League, the researchers used semistructured in-depth interviews, content analysis, and an online survey to seek an understanding of what motivates and satisfies Twitter followers of professional sport teams, measured through the gratifications sought and the fulfillment of these motives through the perceived gratifications obtained. The results add to the sport communications literature by finding 4 primary gratifications sought by Twitter users: interaction, promotion, live game updates, and news. Professional sport teams can improve strategic fan engagement by better understanding how Twitter followers use and seek gratification in the social-media experience.

Gibbs is with the Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Canada. O’Reilly is with the Dept. of Sports Administration, Ohio University, Athens, OH. Brunette is with the School of Human Kinetics, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada. Address author correspondence to Chris Gibbs at cgibbs@ryerson.ca

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