Sport managers and marketers strategically include individuals with specific characteristics as spokespersons in their persuasive communications (i.e., advertisements, promotional messages, development campaigns, and announcements) to appeal to and influence the attitudes and behaviors of their intended audience. This study was designed to examine African-American students’ responses to race (when moderated by the students' ethnic identification) as a salient characteristic of the person featured in a persuasive sport communication. It sought to examine the role of race in the communication process as: (a) a heuristic/peripheral cue for inducing message responses and evaluation, and (b) a variable that influenced the students' tendency to engage in biased or objective strategies to process the information presented. The results offer an illustration of how sociological variables such as race and ethnicity influence the communication process in general and the means of communicating sport related issues to African-American students in particular.
The author is with the Department of Sport & Exercise Management in the School of Physical Activity and Educational Services at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1284.