“I Pledge Allegiance”: Examining Motivations for Sport Fanship and Fandom in the American South

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University of Alabama Libraries

There are a number of motivations that exist in the formation of collegiate fanship and fandom. Through a mixed-method approach, this dissertation provides an in-depth examination into the motivations individuals have when establishing allegiances for collegiate sports teams. Through a qualitative investigation of 20 interviews of collegiate sports fans, deep meaningful descriptions of motivations were discovered. Qualitative results were then empirically tested through a survey administered to 411 collegiate sports fans that reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and South Carolina. Social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1986) was used as the theoretical framework for this dissertation to further understand the formation of groups and the in-group/out-group dynamic. Academic, as well as applied, implications for team identification, fan identification, rivalry, Basking in Reflected Glory, Glory Out of Reflected Failures, and state pride are all present. Family, social viewing, age, as well as many other motivations, emerged as strong motivating predictors.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Collegiate Sports, Fan Identification, Mixed-Methods, Social Identity Theory, Team Identification