Date of Award

8-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management

Major Professor

Wanda M. Costen

Committee Members

Robin Hardin, Rodney Runyan, Rachel J.C. Chen, Youn-Kyung Kim

Abstract

The popularity of college football, specifically Southeastern Conference (SEC) football, is at an all-time high. Extant research analyzes consumer behavior in sport consumption settings; however, the away game sport tourist is often overlooked. Given the economic impacts associated with sport tourism, a deeper understanding of the college football sport tourist is desirable. This study utilized a research model grounded in social identity theory and motivation theory to examine the relationships among various sport consumption motives, subcultural identification, and destination image applied to SEC football away game sport tourists.

The results of the study indicate that SEC football away game sport tourists do not attend games based solely upon individual motives. However, these motives are connected to subcultural identification, and in order to satisfy various self-identity and social identity needs, these consumers attend away games. Away game attendance also relies upon a destination’s image, in that a more favorable image leads to greater likelihood of attending. The results of this study will contribute to the academic knowledge of sport consumers through the application of existing sport consumption motivation models to the away game sport consumer. Additionally, the examination of destination image’s role in predicting away game attendance allows for the extension of established tourism constructs to the specialized domain of sport tourism. The contextual dimensions proposed by this study may add a distinctive set of motives for scholars to utilize in the future. Through an understanding of the away game college football sport tourist, cities and destination management organizations will be more informed regarding the applicable planning and promotion of sport tourism destinations.

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