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.
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.
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.
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
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
Internet-based sport communication mediums represent a crucial area of scholarly inquiry for the field. The continuing growth in popularity of blogs, message boards, and other Internet-specific types of sport communication presents sport communication scholars with a plethora of avenues for research. This commentary examines one such avenue, through a survey administered to users on 14 college sport message boards. Survey results indicated that message-board users were primarily male (87.8%) and White (90.8%) and possessed at least an undergraduate degree (76.0%). In addition, 42.2% of users reported a household income of $100,000 or more per year. The analysis of the resulting demographic and usage data highlights some of the key aspects of this sample of users, including information relating to race, gender, income, education level, and salience of message-board use by both subscribers and nonsubscribers. These and other factors are presented as potential areas of future scholarly inquiry for sport communication researchers.
Brody J. Ruihley and Robin L. Hardin
Fantasy sport joins competition, sport knowledge, and socialization into one interactive sport activity. This research specifically focuses on the socialization aspects of the activity. This analysis addresses overall satisfaction in fantasy sport, future intentions to return to the activity, and reasons why fantasy sport users (FSUs) do or do not use message boards. Data were collected from 322 FSUs in a questionnaire format using quantitative-scale items and qualitative open-ended questions. The results indicate 62.1% (n = 200) of the sample using message boards in their fantasy sport experience. Reasons for their use were based on the themes of logistical conversation, socializing, surveillance, and advice or opinion. FSUs chose not to use message boards for reasons based on no interest, information, time, and alternative options. Other results indicate that those using message boards have higher overall satisfaction and future use intentions than those not using message boards. This suggests that message boards enhance the fantasy sport experience.
Terry Eddy, Lamar Reams and Stephen Dittmore
As online business models have evolved, learning what drives users’ consumptive behaviors has gained increasing interest to sport researchers and sport properties. An increasing number of sport properties are expanding, and deriving revenues from, their presence on digital-media platforms (e.g., MLB, NBA, NFL, UFC, WWE, etc.). Of the sport properties mentioned, none are more reliant on digital-media activity than the Ultimate Fighting Championship. As such, the purpose of this study was to examine the motivations and related consumption habits of users of non-subscription-based (i.e., free-to-use) online message boards. Findings suggest that message-board users find value in the opportunities for interactivity and that heavy online mixed-martial-arts users watch more events and purchase more merchandise than those who spend less time online.
Betsy R. Haugh and Brandi Watkins
As social media continue to redefine communication between sports organizations and fans, increased scholarly attention is needed to understand why sports fans use various platforms to engage with their favorite teams. Based on research from Hanna, Rohm, and Crittenden suggesting that companies should view social-media platforms as pieces of an integrated network rather than focusing exclusively on 1 platform, this study investigated the various social-media platforms sports fans use and their motivation for doing so. Through a survey of college-age sports fans, the research found that there is no significant relationship between level of team identification and intensity of social-media use, but team identification and gender can predict the use of certain social-media platforms for sports fans. In addition, a clear pattern for social-media use by sports fans emerged, culminating in the development of the Social-Media Ecosystem for Sports Fans.
Evan L. Frederick, Choong Hoon Lim, Galen Clavio and Patrick Walsh
An Internet-based survey was posted on the Twitter feeds and Facebook pages of 1 predominantly social and 1 predominantly parasocial athlete to ascertain the similarities and differences between their follower sets in terms of parasocial interaction development and follower motivations. Analysis of the data revealed a sense of heightened interpersonal closeness based on the interaction style of the athlete. While followers of the social athlete were driven by interpersonal constructs, followers of the parasocial athlete relied more on media conventions in their interaction patterns. To understand follower motivations, exploratory factor analyses were conducted for both follower sets. For followers of the social athlete, most of the interactivity, information-gathering, personality, and entertainment items loaded together. Unlike followers of the social athlete, fanship and community items loaded alongside information-gathering items for followers of the parasocial athlete. The implications of these and other findings are discussed further.