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The purpose of this study was to identify key characteristics of word-of-mouth (WOM) communication and examine their impact on sport consumers’ perceived influence in sport viewership. Through an extensive literature review, we identified the characteristics of the message sender (i.e., expertise and trustworthiness) and the message (i.e., richness of message content and strength of message delivery) as determinants of perceived influence of WOM. We also examined the moderating effects of homophily (interpersonal factors) and involvement (the message receiver characteristics). Data were collected from sport consumers who had received a recommendation to watch a sporting event in the preceding 3 months and actually watched the event. The results indicate the positive effects of trustworthiness, richness of message content, and strength of message delivery on WOM influence. Homophily and involvement were found to have moderating effects. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.
Akira Asada and Yong Jae Ko are with the Department of Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management, College of Health and Human Performance, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.