This study explores the implications of the sports communication theory of fan identification and the divisions often developed between identifying with a single athlete and the bonds developed for a sport as a whole. Using the fastest growing North American sport, mixed martial arts (MMA)—more specifically, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)—differences in levels of fan identification were examined in relationship to attitudes toward individual athletes and attitudes toward the UFC organization. An online survey of 911 respondents produced a highly representative sample of the UFC’s current audience demographics. Results showed significant differences in fan identify between gender, age, and sensationseeking behaviors, suggesting that distinct demographic variables may influence the role that fan identity has not only in sports media consumption but also in future event consumption. Implications and ramifications for future theoretical sports communication research and sports marketing are postulated.
Natalie A. Brown, Michael B. Devlin and Andrew C. Billings
Michael B. Devlin, Kenon A. Brown, Natalie Brown-Devlin and Andrew C. Billings
Nationalistic notions are embedded within every part of the Olympic Games, inculcating feelings pertaining to one’s nation. Previous research examined the degree to which one is affected by portrayals of nationalism during international sporting events, finding that media consumption and results increase nationalistic feelings. However, such analyses rarely infused overarching fandom into the equation and failed to make global comparisons. This study surveyed 2,245 people from three continents in six different nations (Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and the United States) to examine nationalistic attitudes during the 2018 Winter Olympics and subsequent effects. Significant differences between nationalized qualities manifested between each continent, as did their paths to becoming a fan and consuming content.