Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Exercise and Sport Sciences

Major Professor

Robin Hardin

Committee Members

Gene Fitzhugh, Lars Dzikus, Lisa Fall, Rodney Runyan

Abstract

Fantasy sport participation is an online activity consuming the time, energy, and devotion of many sport followers. This activity provides participants a unique way to experience sport aside from simply viewing, listening, or following a sporting contest. Fantasy sport users present marketers and advertisers with a distinct type of sport fan, segmentation strategy, and target market. These users experience sport beyond wins, losses, and championships. They view statistics as fantasy points, individual players as products, and injury reports as team-altering news. These users see sport through a different lens.

The purpose of this research is to gain familiarity with the fantasy sport user by developing an understanding of the motivations behind fantasy sport participation and examining factors associated with participation in fantasy sport; specifically involving media use, message board use, sport participation, overall satisfaction, and future intentions. Data was collected through the use of mixed methods consisting of qualitative online focus groups and quantitative questionnaires.

The findings of the focus groups revealed four major themes associated with the participation and experience of fantasy sport. The themes were Competition, Socializing, Surveillance, and Ownership. These findings assisted in (1) validating past and current research, (2) developing and altering scale items for the quantitative questionnaire, and (3) providing deeper understanding of the fantasy sport experience.

The major results of the quantitative questionnaire indicated top fantasy sport motivating factors as Fanship, Competition, and Social Sport with the lowest factors as Fan Expression, Ownership, and Escape. The factors with the highest significant relationship with overall satisfaction in the activity were Competition, Achievement, and Surveillance. The factors with the highest significant relationship with future intentions were Competition and Camaraderie. Other findings revealed no significant difference in motivations between different levels of sport participation and message board use. Message board use did, however, produce significant differences favoring higher overall satisfaction and future intentions for those using message boards. Other results examine (1) media use and fantasy sport participation and (2) Mavenism and Schwabism and its relationship to fantasy sport motivations, overall satisfaction, and future intentions.

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