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Galen Clavio and Ted M. Kian

An Internet-based survey was posted on the Twitter feed of a retired female athlete to ascertain the demographics, uses, and gratifications of her feed’s followers. Analysis of the data revealed that followers were predominantly White, affluent, educated, and older than prior research into online audiences has shown. The perception of the athlete as being an expert at her sport was the most salient reason reported to follow the Twitter feed, followed by affinity for the athlete’s writing style. Analysis of variance uncovered 5 significant differences in item salience between male and female followers, with women more likely to use this Twitter feed because of affinity for the athlete and men more likely to use it because of perception of the athlete as physically attractive. Factor analysis uncovered 3 dimensions of gratification: an organic fandom factor, a functional fandom factor, and an interactivity factor.

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Andrea N. Geurin-Eagleman

Masters sport participation is continually increasing, and although much research has uncovered masters participation motives, it has been noted that an understanding of community among masters athletes was also necessary. Online communities of sport participants have been examined only minimally, with research uncovering correlations between new-media use and sport-participation frequency. Using uses and gratifications theory, this study sought to examine masters gymnastics participants to develop a better understanding of athletes’ use of online communities in relation to their sport participation and examine differences in online community use based on demographics. Online survey results from 164 international participants revealed they used new media primarily for fanship, information, and technical knowledge, and online masters gymnastics communities were most often extensions of in-person training groups and communities. These findings and their implications are discussed in the article.

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Joseph H. Moore

latest news is felt among the fans and employees who have made sport a multi-billion-dollar industry. Therefore, Americans must be able to consume news that is comprehensive, yet interesting and understandable. The theory of uses and gratification developed by Katz, Blumler, and Gurevitch ( 1973 ) posits

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Michelle Hayes, Kevin Filo, Caroline Riot and Andrea Geurin

of social media, uses-and-gratifications (U&G) theory underpinned the current study. U&G theory enables researchers to examine certain populations and their use of media through the perspectives of the user ( Katz, Blumler, & Gurevitch, 1973 ). U&G theory is a prevalent theory among social media

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Chris Gibbs, Norm O’Reilly and Michelle Brunette

Without exception, all professional sport teams in North America use social media to communicate with fans. Sport communication professionals use Twitter as one of the strategic tools of engagement, yet there remains a lack of understanding about how users are motivated and gratified in their Twitter use. Drawing on a specific sample from the Twitter followers of the Canadian Football League, the researchers used semistructured in-depth interviews, content analysis, and an online survey to seek an understanding of what motivates and satisfies Twitter followers of professional sport teams, measured through the gratifications sought and the fulfillment of these motives through the perceived gratifications obtained. The results add to the sport communications literature by finding 4 primary gratifications sought by Twitter users: interaction, promotion, live game updates, and news. Professional sport teams can improve strategic fan engagement by better understanding how Twitter followers use and seek gratification in the social-media experience.

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Brendan Dwyer and Yongjae Kim

The contemporary sport fan has the ability to consume spectator sport through several means including event attendance, television and radio broadcasts, print publications, and Internet applications. Recently, an ancillary sport service, termed fantasy sports, has become one of the most popular activities among sport fans. As a result, the business of fantasy sports is booming. This study examined motivational dimensions underlying fantasy football participation from a Uses and Gratifications perspective. Utilizing Churchill’s (1979) five-step method for developing quality marketing measures, this study identified and validated three motivational dimensions: entertainment/escape, competition, and social interaction. The results suggest a pattern of fantasy football participation that is more purposeful and active than traditional media use. Discussed are the gambling associations, future research opportunities, and suggestions for developing fantasy football participation into a more creative and interactive marketing communication tool.

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Adam C. Earnheardt

The extent to which television viewers are fans of sports and their motivation for viewing sports may affect their judgments of athletes’ antisocial behaviors. The uses and gratifications theoretical framework guided exploration of possible predictors of judgments. The sample (N = 347) consisted of sports television viewers. Fandom correlated significantly with motives for viewing televised sports, parasocial interaction, and identification. Fandom was negatively related to judgments of violent crime behaviors and uncharitable/dishonest behaviors. Women who were engaged in other activities while viewing televised sports were more likely to judge violent crime behaviors as most wrong, or negatively. Additional analyses suggested that women who reported lower degrees of fandom, weaker affinity for televised sports, weaker intention to watch sports, weaker self-esteem/achievement and entertaining relaxation motives, and paying less attention to televised sports were the viewers who tended to judge athletes’ violent crime behaviors, uncharitable behaviors, and drug- and steroid-use behaviors as most wrong.

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Seok Kang, Soonhwan Lee and Seungbum Lee

The current study examined student athletes’ motives for viewing sports programs on television and their relationships with various viewing behaviors. Employing uses and gratifications theory and social differentiation theory, the study investigated whether student athletes’ motives for sports-program viewing would predict their preference of program selection and amount of viewing. An on-site survey of 225 Division I athletes from 3 Midwestern universities found that student athletes had entertainment, social-facilitation, and integration motives for sports-program viewing. Ritual use of sports programs (entertainment) was their primary motive, followed by instrumental use (social facilitation and integration). Results showed that student athletes’ main goal of watching sports programs on television was escape from their daily problems. Additional results showed that there was no gender difference in student athletes’ motives and sports-program preferences. Both male and female student athletes preferred male sports such as football and men’s college basketball.

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John S.W. Spinda, Daniel L. Wann and Michael Sollitto

In this case study analysis, we explored the motives for playing Strat-O-Matic Baseball (SOMB), a baseball simulation played as a board game or online, from the perspective of the uses-and-gratifications theory. In phase I of the study, SOMB manager narratives (N = 50) were analyzed for motive statements. In phase II, an online survey asked SOMB managers (N = 222) to respond to motive items as well as four measures of Major League Baseball (MLB) and SOMB identification. Overall, eight motives for playing SOMB emerged from the 64-item pool of motive items. These eight motives were nostalgia, knowledge acquisition, social bonding, enjoyment, vicarious achievement, game aesthetics, convenience, and escape. Our findings suggest these motives predicted measures of MLB and SOMB identification in significantly different ways. Theoretical implications, future research, limitations, and discussion questions are presented in this analysis.

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Craig A. Morehead, Brendan O’Hallarn and Stephen L. Shapiro

The Internet has drastically changed how society seeks and consumes information. One influential change in the communication process is the widespread use—and perhaps abuse—of user-generated content. If provided a frame of reference to help direct the discussion, such as a news story, comment functions can act as a proxy “town hall” in a virtual setting. Unique to this cyber town hall, however, is the sense of anonymity that leads some users to post content they would not normally voice in a public context. This investigation intertwines uses-and-gratifications theory and online disinhibition effect by analyzing anonymous-comment postings on a newspaper Web site. Seven newspaper stories on the campus master plan and football-stadium proposal at Old Dominion University demonstrate the sociological underpinnings where sports, education, economics, and politics intersect in an anonymous forum where users can relay their opinion on the subject while remaining invisible and unidentified.