Award Date

5-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Sports Education Leadership

Department

Sports Education Leadership

First Committee Member

Nancy Lough, Chair

Number of Pages

169

Abstract

Up to this point, numerous studies have been done on sport consumption behavior among spectators. However, few studies have been done on participant consumption behavior and no research has focused on soccer participant identity. The purpose of this study is to examine soccer identity among youth soccer players, including their level of identity as a soccer participant, soccer spectator and fan. Additionally, identity development of youth soccer participants relative to MLS marketing efforts of soccer was investigated.

Sport is intimately intertwined with the American lifestyle. Experts conservatively estimate sport as an over 400 billion dollar industry. This places the sport industry in the top ten industries in the United States (Retrieved April 21, 2009 from http://sportmanagement.rice.edu/Content.aspx?id=32& linkidentifier=id& itemid=32). Soccer is widely accepted as the most popular spectator sport in the world, but not in the United States. Still, in the United States millions participate in soccer. This study will seek to examine and classify the soccer identity of select youth participants, based on Wann and Branscombe's (1993), instrument developed to measure sport identity and bit's (1995), instrument utilized to measure sport consumption behavior.

Wann and Branscombe's (1993) instrument measures how fans identify with a team based on the following factors: attends games, watches games, reads about the team and engages in conversations about the team. These factors were investigated among 35 purposefully selected youth soccer participants through personal interviews. Additionally, Holt's (1995) instrument measures sport consumption behavior through classification of consumers into four categories including those who: (1) consume for experience, (2) consume for integration, (3) consume for classification, and (4) consume as play. These factors will be qualitatively analyzed relative to youth soccer participant's responses to the interview questions. Data analysis included use of qualitative software (Atlas.ti), after transcription of the interviews had transpired. After the interviews have been conducted, recorded and transcribed. Emerging themes were identified. The themes identified included: identified as participants, foreign team loyalty, Los Angeles Galaxy team loyalty, soccer affiliation as sense of self, favorite soccer moment, not reached by MLS advertisement, lack of MLS knowledge, and participant suggestions to improve MLS.

Keywords

Consumer behavior—Research; Education; Identity; Marketing; MLS; Social sciences; Participants; Soccer; Soccer fans—Psychology; Sport; Sport identity; Sports spectators—Psychology; Youth

Disciplines

Marketing

Language

English


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