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As social media continue to redefine communication between sports organizations and fans, increased scholarly attention is needed to understand why sports fans use various platforms to engage with their favorite teams. Based on research from Hanna, Rohm, and Crittenden suggesting that companies should view social-media platforms as pieces of an integrated network rather than focusing exclusively on 1 platform, this study investigated the various social-media platforms sports fans use and their motivation for doing so. Through a survey of college-age sports fans, the research found that there is no significant relationship between level of team identification and intensity of social-media use, but team identification and gender can predict the use of certain social-media platforms for sports fans. In addition, a clear pattern for social-media use by sports fans emerged, culminating in the development of the Social-Media Ecosystem for Sports Fans.
Haugh is a student, and Watkins, her advisor, with the Dept. of Communication, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.