First Advisor

Gray, Dianna P.

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Date Created



Numerous motivations for spectating sport have been studied, with higher levels of motivations found to be consistent with higher fan involvement levels. In addition, many people are connected to a community through their identification with a sports team. University-affiliated alumni sport fan clubs are one community that sport consumers may join. These clubs provide the opportunity to maintain and potentially strengthen their connection to the university’s athletic teams. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between sport spectator motivations, as well as team identification, and involvement in a university-affiliated alumni sport fan club. Then, the relationship between involvement and donation intention was examined. Lastly, geographic proximity was tested as a moderator in several of the relationships. A 53-item online survey was disseminated through presidents of universityaffiliated alumni sport fan clubs. A final sample of 296 was analyzed. Prior to analyzing the relationships of interest, confirmatory factor analysis was performed on several multidimensional scales including the Motivation Scale for Sport Consumption (MSSC), Team Identification Scale (TIS), and the Psychological Continuum Model (PCM) staging tool (measures involvement). The seven-factor MSSC and the three-factor TIS showed overall fit statistics that were considered good. The three-factor PCM staging tool showed an overall fit that was not considered adequate. Because the results of the three-factor involvement model could not be trusted, all further analysis was conducted using the individual dimensions of involvement as well as a total involvement score that showed excellent reliability. Assumptions were assessed prior to the interpretation of results from hierarchical multiple linear regression models used to address the research questions. Social interaction was related to all dimensions of involvement and total involvement. Clubs provide an opportunity for members to share history about their respective university’s athletic programs through reliving shared experiences. While managers tend to stress the importance of winning, involvement in the club appears to have little relationship with the product on the field, but rather with the opportunities to socialize with other alumni. Neither aesthetics nor the athletes’ physical skills were found to explain involvement in the clubs. Thus, managers charged with strengthening the alumni fan base through development of these clubs may be more successful by focusing on other aspects of the experience. Escape was related to pleasure while acquisition of knowledge was related to centrality and sign, as well as total involvement. Although in the digital age, access to information is essentially limitless, membership in a universityaffiliated alumni sport fan club provides exposure to other people with similar interests and opportunities for a member to acquire knowledge face-to-face. After controlling for income, alumni status, and age, neither the individual dimensions of involvement nor the total involvement score explained a significant amount of variance in donation intentions. Geographic proximity was not found to moderate any of the relationships of interest.

Abstract Format



College sports; Sports spectators


215 pages

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