Points of attachment on social media: exploring similarities and differences between Chinese and Western National Basketball Association fans

Recently, I was able to work with Dr Bo (Norman) Li and Dr Steve Dittmore on a paper to uncover how Western and Chinese sport fans, particularly those following the Los Angeles Lakers NBA team, ecome attached to the club. This study will be published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Sport and Social Science’s forthcoming special issue on Sport in China.

The full paper is available here: from the publisher, academia.edu, or researchgate. The full abstract appears below.

ABSTRACT

 

Given the availability and usage of Twitter, professional sport organizations attempt to embrace this emerging medium to engage with sports fans around the world. While many sports fans use Twitter globally, Chinese sports fans primarily embrace localized social media platforms, such as Weibo, to follow their favourite teams because many international mainstream social media services are banned in China. This study aimed to investigate the similarities and differences between Chinese National Basketball Association (NBA) fans and Western NBA fans in terms of their social media usage and points of attachment to a team with a global presence. The results revealed that Chinese digital NBA fans expressed higher dependence on using social media in their daily life compared to Western counterparts. In terms of sports fans’ points of attachment, Chinese NBA fans had higher associations with basketball, NBA players, and the NBA than Western counterparts, while Western fans perceived a higher attachment to the team.

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Segmentation of a professional sport team’s social media community

SEGMENTATION OF A PROFESSIONAL SPORT TEAM’S SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNITY

 

Katherine Bruffy (Unitec Institute of Technology) kbruffy@unitec.ac.nz

Olan Scott (University of Canberra) olan.scott@canberra.edu.au

Michael Naylor (AUT) mnaylor@aut.ac.nz

Anthony Beaton (University of Canberra) anthony.beaton@canberra.edu.au

The relationship people have with sport teams ranges from the very casual (those who might view parts of matches on television when their schedule suits) to being an avid fan and organising one’s life around the activities of the team. The varying strength of this connectedness has been captured in Funk and James’ Psychological Continuum Model (PCM; 2001).  Four stages of increasingly deep connection were proposed (Awareness, Attraction, Attachment and Allegiance), and have now been explored thoroughly with Beaton and Funk (2009) developing an algorithm that relies on facets of the involvement construct (Beaton, Funk, Ridinger & Jordan, 2011) as a staging mechanism for placement along the PCM.

One way in which sport fans now connect to the teams they follow is through social media.  With the proliferation of social media, consumers are able to connect to teams more easily and more often. As early adopters of social media, organisations within the sports industry have embedded social media into marketing (Eagleman, 2013), communication (Thompson, 2013), and public relations (Sanderson, 2010) mix.  The purpose of the current research is to explore a professional sport team’s social media community and segment based on connectivity.

Data (n = 311) for the study were collected online over several days during the second half of the New Zealand Breakers’ most recent ANBL season. The sample was predominantly female (58%) and the mean age was 36.  Most respondents reported using Facebook (98%) and Twitter (42%) at least once a week, while a significant majority of respondents (77%) reported engaging with the Breakers’ social networking sites at least “a few times per week”.  Exploring the underlying psychology and behaviours of a professional sport team’s social media community using the PCM and involvement construct represents an important contribution to sport management literature.  In addition to questions that generated the above demographic and behavioural profile, individuals were also asked to respond to questionnaire items designed to measure the involvement construct (Beaton, et al., 2011) and resistance to change (Pritchard, Havitz & Howard, 1999).  The involvement construct dimensions (Hedonic Value, Centrality, Symbolic Value) and resistance to change were measured with three items each.  These items were included so that data could be fed into the staging algorithm that was to be used in subsequent analysis.

A larger than expected segment (40%) of those within the Breakers’ social media community who completed the questionnaire were placed within the Attraction stage of the PCM.  This finding has significant implications for those working to enhance the depth of the relationship between a professional sport team and its fans.  Indeed, important processes like attitude strengthening and the development of relationship meaning are believed to be ongoing at this stage so social media can be used to nurture that growth.  Less than 15% of questionnaire respondents were placed in the Allegiance stage.  These findings may help to dispel the myth that social media is nothing more than an additional means to connect with already deeply loyal and identified fans.

October 8 Live Tweet topics starting at 2:45PM Perth time

Topic 1:

At the beginning of August, A-League club Sydney FC announced its new major sponsor: Webjet (See: http://www.footballaustralia.com.au/sydneyfc/news-display/Sydney-FC-and-Webjet-Agree-Major-Partnership/48392 andhttp://sportsbusinessinsider.com.au/news/category/sponsorship-and-marketing/sydney-fc-ceo-pignata-secures-webjet-as-main-sponsor-for-two-years/and http://theworldgame.sbs.com.au/news/1115100/sydney-fc-announces-webjet-deal)

Topic 2:

As discussed and defined in class, a brand is “a name, symbol or design, or a combination of these, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors”

Recently, NRL player Greg Inglis has announced that he will create his own personal branded clothing line (in the line of Michael Jordan and/or Greg Norman).

http://sportsbusinessinsider.com.au/news/category/sponsorship-and-marketing/20-years-after-the-shark-brand-inglis-is-the-next-big-thing-to-fend-for-himself/

We will discuss how the Inglis brand can help to position Inglis in the marketplace and which positioning tactics will be employed.

Topic 3:

In week 7, we discussed the proliferation of mainstream media and the hours that sport is on TV. Further, there was a short discussion on netcasting, which was characterised by: a potential to compete with television’s dominance in sport broadcasting and providing netcasts of past games can be another service to strengthen the interaction of customers with sport website.

Recently, the NBL announced that the league would retain their online rights and have made most (if not all) game available online through the NBL.TV service. See www.nbl.com.au

We will discuss how the retention of Internet broadcasting rights by the NBL enables the league to increase advertising revenue streams through online broadcasts and enable fans to watch their favourite (or any) team via the Internet; thus increase fan engagement with the NBL.

Topic 4:

In week 8, we discussed the many reasons why organisations sponsor teams/events/athletes and it was found that “sponsorship is usually undertaken to encourage more favourable attitudes towards the sponsoring company or its products within a relevant target audience”

In recent event, A. Del Piero was signed by Sydney FC and then Destination NSW sponsored the team. We’ll talk about why Destination NSW would sponsor the team and how it relates to the Del Piero signing.