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How fans are engaging with baseball teams demonstrating multiple objectives on Instagram

Joon K. Kim (School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)
Kevin Hull (School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 8 May 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Using uses and gratifications theory as a guide, the purpose of this paper is to examine how fans are engaging with Major League Baseball (MLB) teams that are utilizing Instagram postings to demonstrate sporting, business, and social objectives.

Design/methodology/approach

An analysis of 1,500 photos (50 from each team) was conducted. A content analysis analyzed the content of the photo, and a textual analysis was implemented to examine the use of hashtags by the teams on their Instagram photos.

Findings

Posts that overly demonstrated the business and social objectives had some of the lowest numbers of likes and comments, indicating that fan engagement is not often achieved through these methods.

Originality/value

Results of this research demonstrate that while MLB teams are able to address their multiple objectives on Instagram, fans are not necessarily interested in all three of these efforts. Posts about on-field action, consumer buying opportunities, and charitable efforts were all created by the majority of teams, but the sporting objective posts had, by far, the highest average number of both likes and comments when compared to the charitable and promotional objectives of the teams. Therefore, the results provide some best practices for teams looking to use the photo and video sharing network.

Keywords

Citation

Kim, J.K. and Hull, K. (2017), "How fans are engaging with baseball teams demonstrating multiple objectives on Instagram", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 216-232. https://doi.org/10.1108/SBM-01-2017-0002

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited