Date of Award

5-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Kinesiology and Sport Studies

Major Professor

Robin Hardin

Committee Members

Steven Waller, Sylvia Trendafilova, Ann Fairhurst

Abstract

Attending sporting events is a popular leisure and recreation activity and more individuals are willing and able to travel greater distances to attend these events. In particular, college football athletics has seen tremendous growth in coverage with conference realignment, television deals, national exposure and other endorsement deals. Students, fans and alumni are spending the weekends in the fall to travel to and participate in college football game day activities including tailgating, socializing and attending the game (Drenton, Peters, Leigh & Hollenbeck, 2009). A subculture within the culture of college football fans are people who travel to games in recreational vehicles or RVs.

Individuals who travel via RV to college football games have rarely been the topic of research in regards to sport consumption and destination image. Destination image can play a major role in the decision of fans to travel to games in addition to loyalty towards their team. Four NCAA Division I Football Bowl Series (FBS) schools were selected and those individuals that utilized the RV parking on each college campus were surveyed. The study aimed to look at and understand the motivations for traveling to and experiencing the college football weekend via the RV on college campuses.

RV tailgaters were similar to typical RV owners with the exception of earning more income. After data analysis, five motivations were revealed to describe why individuals travel to college football game with RVs. These five motivations were analyzed along with destination image to determine if the motivations had an affect on destination image. Only one motivation—family—was not affected. Finally, the RV tailgater showed high satisfaction with their decision to travel to college football games with the RV and had high intentions to repeat travel in the future. Overall, this research will set a base for future research on the RV tailgater and intentions to travel for college sporting events.

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