Assessment of how supporters become attached to a sports team

Pressinger, Gabbi Michelle (2012-03)

Thesis (MComm)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In social psychology, social scientists have become interested in explaining social behaviour: how and why individuals become attached and why they pursue on-going close relationships. The investment model was developed that suggests how attachment to a relationship is formed. It has been suggested that the investment model can be applied to a wide variety of interpersonal relationships. In the same way as a relationship is formed between two individuals, the attachment that supporters have to a sports team is also formed. To understand the psychological connection supporters have to a sports team, the Psychological Continuum Model (PCM) was developed. PCM suggests supporters first become aware of a sports team, then supporters may become attracted, this leads to attachment to the sports team and allegiance to the sports team may then occur. Past research has focused on different aspects of the PCM. However, very few studies have yet explained how supporters become attached to a sports team. This study combines the PCM and the investment model to assess how supporters become attached to a sports team. Understanding the psychological connection that supporters have to a sports team was required thus, the Psychological Continuum Model (PCM) was used. How supporters become attached (based on the PCM) to a sports team was further understood by the investment model variables. Thus, the PCM was adapted and applied with the investment model. The study comprised of a 2x2x2 full factorial experimental research design. For the purposes of the study, respondents were first made aware of the sport, fistball. Respondents completed a questionnaire that was used to measure their attraction and attachment to a fistball team. During the interview, respondents were shown one of eight treatments, in the form of a newspaper clip on a poster that was manipulated using the investment model variables. The eight posters comprised of fictitious fistball teams to avoid any bias that may have been formed had another sport been chosen. There were 36 respondents per treatment group, ensuring that respondents could be split between the different levels of supporters. A repeat group was also conducted to ensure the validity of the study. The realised sample comprised of 318 respondents. The target population was South African supporters in LSM groups 8 to 10. Judgement sampling was used as no sampling frame exists for supporters. Respondents were selected in shopping malls in Gauteng due to the culturally diverse nature of the province. The results revealed that based on the level of support, attachment to a sports team varies. The results suggested that low supporters have a higher attraction than high supporters. High supporters are already attached to a sports team, and are not necessarily interested in being attracted to a different sports team. It would be recommended to attract high supporters by having initiatives that involve teams, where supporters‟ attachment to the team already exists. High supporters were considered to be those who were attached to a sports team. To package and deliver products and/or services most effectively, sport marketers should appeal to high supporters‟ attitudes, as it is their attitude that guides their behaviour. Based on the findings, there is an opportunity for sport marketers to encourage low supporters to become attached to a sports team by using the investment model variables. By incorporating social psychology with sport consumer behaviour, a better understanding of sport supporters was attained. In the same way that a dating relationship has various stages of courtship that may eventually lead to marriage, the relationship that supporters have with a sports team also goes through stages which may lead supporters who show allegiance. The study reveals that, similarly to a dating relationship where an attraction to an individual first needs to be formed, the type of sport plays a role in attracting supporters to a sports team. Likewise, whether an individual pursues a relationship depends on the investment model variables, which is also the case for supporters.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In die sosiale sielkunde stel sosiaal-wetenskaplikes toenemend daarin belang om sosiale gedrag te verklaar: hoe en waarom individue geheg raak aan sosiale objekte en waarom hulle voortgesette verhoudings nastreef. Die beleggingsmodel, wat aan die hand doen hoe gehegtheid deur middel van ʼn verhouding tot stand gebring word, is ontwikkel. Daar word voorgestel dat die beleggingsmodel toegepas kan word op ʼn wye verskeidenheid van interpersoonlike verhoudings. Op dieselfde wyse waarop ʼn verhouding tussen twee individue gevorm word, word die verbintenis wat ondersteuners met ʼn sportspan het, ook verwesenlik. Ten einde die psigologiese verbintenis tussen ondersteuners en ʼn sportspan te verstaan, is die Psigologiese Kontinuummodel (PCM) ontwikkel. Die PCM suggereer dat ondersteuners eerstens van ʼn sportspan bewus word, dan moontlik aangetrokke voel tot die sportspan. Dit lei tot ʼn gehegtheid en moontlik uiteindelik getrouheid aan die sportspan. Vorige navorsing het die soeklig op verskillende aspekte van die PCM laat val, maar baie min ondersoeke het al verduidelik hoe ondersteuners ʼn verbintenis vorm met ʼn sportspan. Hierdie studie kombineer die PCM en die beleggingsmodel om vas te stel hoe ondersteuners ʼn verbintenis vorm met ʼn sportspan. Die PCM is gebruik omdat dit nodig was om die psigologiese verbintenis te verstaan wat ondersteuners met ʼn sportspan tot stand bring. Deur die veranderlikes van die beleggingsmodel in ag te neem, is daar verder lig gewerp op hoe ondersteuners geheg raak aan ʼn sportspan (gebaseer op die PCM). Die PCM is dus aangepas en tesame met die beleggingsmodel toegepas. In die studie is gebruik gemaak van ʼn 2x2x2 volle faktoriale eksperimentele navorsingsontwerp. Vir die doel van die studie is respondente eers bewus gemaak van die sport vuisbal. Die respondente het ʼn vraelys voltooi wat gebruik is om hul aangetrokkenheid tot en gehegtheid aan ʼn vuisbalspan te meet. Tydens die onderhoud is agt afsonderlike behandelings aan die respondente vertoon, elk in die vorm van ʼn koerantknipsel op ʼn plakkaat wat gemanipuleer is met die gebruik van die beleggingsmodel se veranderlikes. Die agt plakkate het fiktiewe vuisbalspanne uitgebeeld om enige vooroordeel uit te skakel wat moontlik sou voorkom as ʼn ander sportsoort gebruik was. Daar was 36 respondente per behandelingsgroep om te verseker dat respondente tussen die verskillende vlakke van ondersteuners verdeel kon word. ‟n Herhalingsgroep is ook gebruik om die geldigheid van die studie te verseker. Die gerealiseerde steekproef het uit 318 respondente bestaan. Die teikenpopulasie was Suid-Afrikaanse ondersteuners in LSM-groepe 8 tot 10 aangesien hulle die meeste mediablootstelling ontvang het. Daar is gebruik gemaak van oordeelsteekproefneming, aangesien geen steekproefraamwerk vir ondersteuners bestaan nie. Respondente is in groot winkelsentrums in Gauteng geselekteer vanweë die kultuurdiverse aard van die provinsie. Die resultate het getoon dat, gebaseer op die vlak van ondersteuning, die vlak van gehegtheid aan ʼn sportspan varieer. Die resultate suggereer dat laevlakondersteuners meer geneë is om ʼn verbintenis te vorm as hoëvlakondersteuners. Hoëvlakondersteuners het reeds „n band met ʼn sportspan en voel nie noodwendig die behoefte om ʼn verhouding met ʼn ander sportspan te vestig nie. Daar word dus aanbeveel dat hoëvlakondersteuners aangetrek word deur inisiatiewe aan te bied waarby spanne betrokke is wat reeds vaste aanhangers het. Hoëvlakondersteuners is beskou as diegene wat ʼn verbintenis met ʼn sportspan het. Ten einde produkte en/of dienste op die effektiefste wyse te verpak en te lewer behoort sportbemarkers op hoëvlakondersteuners se ingesteldheid te fokus, aangesien dit hul ingesteldheid is wat hul gedrag rig. Volgens die bevindinge bestaan daar ʼn geleentheid vir sportbemarkers om, deur van die beleggingsmodel se veranderlikes gebruik te maak, laevlakondersteuners aan te moedig om hulle aan ʼn sportspan te verbind. Deur sosiale sielkunde met sportverbruikersgedrag te kombineer is ʼn beter verstaan van sportondersteuners bereik. Net soos daar tydens ʼn liefdesverhouding verskillende stadiums van hofmakery is wat uiteindelik tot ʼn huwelik kan lei, gaan die verhouding wat ondersteuners met ʼn sportspan het ook deur stadiums wat uiteindelik getroue ondersteuners kan oplewer. Die studie toon ook dat, net soos in ʼn verhouding waar individue eers net met mekaar uitgaan, en hulle later sterk aangetrokke raak tot mekaar, daar in sport ook ʼn dieper verhouding moet ontwikkel. Dit blyk dat die soort sport ʼn belangrike rol speel wanneer ondersteuners tot ʼn sportspan aangetrek word. Net soos by ʼn liefdesverhouding, hang die sportondersteuner se verbintenis ook af van die veranderlikes van die beleggingsmodel. produkte en/of dienste op die effektiefste wyse te verpak en te lewer behoort sportbemarkers op hoëvlakondersteuners se ingesteldheid te fokus, aangesien dit hul ingesteldheid is wat hul gedrag rig. Volgens die bevindinge bestaan daar 'n geleentheid vir sportbemarkers om, deur van die beleggingsmodel se veranderlikes gebruik te maak, laevlakondersteuners aan te moedig om hulle aan 'n sportspan te verbind. Deur sosiale sielkunde met sportverbruikersgedrag te kombineer is ʼn beter verstaan van sportondersteuners bereik. Net soos daar tydens 'n liefdesverhouding verskillende stadiums van hofmakery is wat uiteindelik tot 'n

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