Building on the findings of previous related literature, this paper adopts the uses and gratifications (U&G) theory to analyze how social media users engage with content posted by European football associations (FAs). The purpose of this paper is to identify various post attributes that would aid national sports organizations (NSO) in reaching their online audiences and excelling their media presence.
A coding framework was designed to differentiate Facebook posts by topic, post design and content type. A sample of 2,450 posts from the official Facebook accounts of 49 FAs was collected. Engagement was measured using three metrics: likes, comments and shares. The derived categories of content were coded as dichotomous dummy variables and ran through a multivariate OLS regression analysis. Three regression analyzes were conducted, where each of the engagement metrics served as the dependent variable.
The findings of this paper show that relevance of post topics has a significant effect on engagement. Users interacted most with posts related to the male national A-team, while club football news had a negative response from the followers. Graphic elements such as images and videos positively impact an FA’s ability to generate post likes. Exclusive and behind-the-scenes content made users react extremely well, affecting all engagement metrics. Raw news (match reports, team line-ups) was of little interest to Facebook users.
U&G theory has yet to have been applied to social media studies in the NSO context. Previous studies have either looked at specific case studies of a single NSO or NSOs within a single country, while this paper reviewed the social media practices of 49 NSOs under the umbrella of a single continental sports federation.
The authors sincere thanks goes to Ilya Solntsev for assisting in the coding process and providing valuable theoretical insights. A great deal of appreciation is due to the two anonymous reviewers that helped enhance the quality of the paper.
Osokin, N. (2019), "User engagement and gratifications of NSO supporters on Facebook: Evidence from European football", International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 61-80. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSMS-11-2017-0115Download as .RIS
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