Exploring the Factors Affecting Popularity in Social Media: A Case Study of Football Bowl Subdivision Head Coaches

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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  • 1 The Ohio State University, USA
  • 2 University of Arkansas, USA
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Social media have become an increasingly important tool for college coaches and administrators to connect with fans, alumni, and recruits. However, despite their increasing prevalence, it is not well understood which factors may contribute to the reach and popularity in social media of high-profile figures such as coaches and athletic directors. Using Football Bowl Subdivision head football coaches and the popular social-media platform Twitter, this case study sought to explore the potential influence of on-field performance on coaches’ popularity in social media. Among the results is the finding that the most influential factor is the football program’s prestige (long-term success), while the coach’s on-field success and the size of the school’s fan base are of lesser importance. Given the increasing influence of social media in intercollegiate athletics, the case study’s results feature several important considerations for administrators seeking to use social-media platforms to increase the reach of their athletic programs.

Jensen and Ervin are with the Dept. of Human Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Dittmore is with the Dept. of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR. Address author correspondence to Jonathan Jensen at jensen.205@osu.edu

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