Uncovering the Drivers of Sports Fan Avidity

Open Access
Cheyne, Katelyn Ann
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Dr Wayne De Sarbo, Thesis Supervisor
  • Wayne Desarbo, Thesis Supervisor
  • Jennifer Chang Coupland, Honors Advisor
  • fan avidity
  • marketing
Fan Avidity is an essential topic in the sports industry - a $400 billion industry that is one of the fastest growing sectors in the United States. It has been defined as the level of interest, involvement, intensity, passion, and loyalty a fan gives to a particular sport, league, team and/or player (DeSarbo, 2009). Research has shown that avid fans are important to the business of sports because among other things they generate more revenue than non avid fans, and are more likely to recognize and buy from league sponsors. Recent research has shown that the single item scales that are currently used by market research companies to measure fan avidity are insufficient in describing the differences in the manifestations or expressions of fan avidity. As such, DeSarbo (2009, 2010) has recommended the direct measurement of the various behavioral manifestations of fan avidity. The objective of this research is to derive market segments that exhibit different pathways to fan avidity, and describe the significant drivers of fan avidity. Students from Penn State University are the focus of this study. A regression analysis will be used to examine the activities that could be significant drivers of fan avidity. Principal Components Analysis will reduce the number of variables studied to get a clearer picture of the latent aspects of the behavioral activities of avid fans. The Constrained Latent Class Regression method will generate market segments and describe the fans that belong to each segment. Drivers of fan avidity will simultaneously be identified and discussed. A discussion of the results will follow, as well as marketing managerial implications. Several other directions for additional research will be recommended.