The Strength of Fan Ties: Emotional Support in Sport Fan Egocentric Networks

in Journal of Sport Management
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Sport management researchers have increasingly noted a relationship between sport spectatorship and well-being, with the line of inquiry predicated on transformative sport service research. In this study, the authors contribute to transformative sport service research by utilizing multilevel egocentric network analysis to examine the consumption networks of National Football League fans over the course of one season. The authors utilized a network theory approach to explore how emotional support is created and embedded within sport fans’ networks of interpersonal ties and social relationships. Through multilevel modeling, the authors highlighted how attributes of both the ego (i.e., focal actor) and alter (i.e., individual with whom ego shares a tie) affect emotional support. Previous studies of transformative sport service research and the link between well-being outcomes and sport spectatorship have implicitly examined only ego-level attributes (i.e., team identification), yet the present work suggests that emotional support depends on the interpersonal ties and network structures within which sport fans are embedded.

Katz and Mansfield are with the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Managenent, Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Tyler is with the College of Business, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC.

Katz (mkatz@isenberg.umass.edu) is corresponding author.
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