Understanding the Value of Social Media in the NBA’s Digital Communication: A Fan(s)’ Perspective

AbstractSocial media (SM) has become sports organizations’ most preeminent vehicle to engage with fans and to enhance relationship marketing. Prior studies have mostly focused on the standpoints of sports organizations; less is known about fans’ SM experience and perspective. This study focuses on sports fans’ SM use during a game, and seeks to understand their popular SM uses and gratifications and the effect of individual characteristics. Informed by the uses and gratifications theory (UGT), we analyze survey data of 400 season-ticket holders of a professional NBA team. Our quantitative data analysis suggests that during a game the NBA sports fans use SM for posting on Twitter & Facebook, on Instagram & Snapchat, and checking emails. The less popular uses and gratifications include accessing teams’ website, downloading video, and accessing mobile Apps. These usage behaviors varied by individual age, gender and household income. Research contribution and implications are discussed.

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