Major League Baseball and Twitter Usage: The Economics of Social Media Use

in Journal of Sport Management

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Nicholas WatanabeUniversity of Missouri

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Grace YanUniversity of Missouri

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Brian P. SoebbingTemple University

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From the perspective of economic demand theory, this study examines the factors that determine daily changes in Twitter following of Major League Baseball teams as a form of derived demand for a sport product. Specifically, a linear regression model is constructed by taking consideration of factors relevant to fan interest: team performance, market characteristics, scheduling, and so on. The results reveal specific determinants that have significant relationship with Twitter following. From a team management perspective, factors such as the content of social media messages, certain calendar events, and postseason appearances can be used to enhance fan interest on social media. In so doing, it brings together communication inquiries and economic literature by delineating a comprehensive and nuanced account of interpreting sport social media from a consumer demand perspective.

Nicholas Watanabe and Grace Yan are with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri. Brian P. Soebbing is with the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Address author correspondence to Nicholas Watanabe at watanaben@missouri.edu.
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