Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This study examines the relationship of Facebook usage with sports team identification using Wann's (2006c) "Team Identification-Social Psychological Health Model" to help identify individuals' needs, or motives, for connecting with the team via Facebook as well as with the team itself. To the extent that the team's Facebook presence is believed to fulfill certain needs for an individual, connecting with a team via Facebook was expected to result in higher levels of team identification with that team. Thus, by determining the uses and gratifications that individuals glean from connecting with the team via the social networking site, marketers may be able to determine how to positively impact fans' levels of team identification and ultimately, discretionary spending on the team. This study also begins to explore the relationships of Facebook use and team identification to consumption behavior in the form of game attendance and merchandise purchase. A Facebook usage survey of 571 individuals on the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club's email list, combined with the Sport Spectator Identification Scale designed to measure team identification, was conducted to test hypotheses based on these propositions. The analyses performed on the results of the survey indicated significant positive correlations between gratifications sought from the Milwaukee Brewers Facebook page and intention to visit the page; intended and past use of the Milwaukee Brewers Facebook page and team identification; and team identification and consumption behaviors. This study also established a reliable and valid set of measures of the antecedents to team identification.