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Factors impacting the decision to attend soccer games: an exploratory study

Fahri Karakaya (Department of Management and Marketing, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Dartmouth, Massachusetts, USA)
Peter Yannopoulos (Department of Marketing, International Business, and Strategy, Brock University, St. Catherines, Canada)
Margarita Kefalaki (Department of Communication and Management, Open University of Greece, Athens, Greece)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 11 July 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

As an exploratory study, the purpose of this paper is to examine the underlying motivations for attending soccer games.

Design/methodology/approach

Attendees at two soccer games in Athens, Greece were surveyed about their frequency of attendance at soccer games and their attitudes toward soccer. In total, 252 people from five randomly selected sections of the stadiums participated in the survey.

Findings

The results indicate that there are three major motivations – emotional excitement, socialization, and soccer atmospherics – and two identity salience factors – ardent soccer fans and rational soccer fans – for attending soccer games. The most important factor for attendance is being an ardent soccer fan closely followed by the emotional excitement factor. Among the demographic factors considered, only gender significantly affects soccer game attendance.

Originality/value

In contrast to previous studies that are somewhat descriptive, this research explicitly introduces factors related to social identity theory and attempts to predict soccer game attendance on the basis of a scale of factors that focus on the major motivations for attendance of soccer games, identity salience reasons, and demographic factors. The inclusion of social identity theory as a factor in the attendance of soccer games is a major contribution of this study. Contrary to most of the earlier studies, this study showed that the socialization factor is not related to attendance at soccer games.

Keywords

Citation

Karakaya, F., Yannopoulos, P. and Kefalaki, M. (2016), "Factors impacting the decision to attend soccer games: an exploratory study", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 320-340. https://doi.org/10.1108/SBM-05-2014-0024

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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