Team Identification and Perceptions of College Athletes

Faculty Motivation to Attend Intercollegiate Athletic Events


  • Alison Fridley The University of Southern Mississippi
  • Sarah Stokowski Clemson University
  • Skye Arthur-Banning Clemson University
  • Thomas J. Aicher University of Colorado – Colorado Springs
  • Chris Croft The University of Southern Mississippi



college sport, faculty, relationship marketing, sport marketing, intergroup contact theory


College campuses are unique spaces, with college towns having their own distinctive culture. However, attendance at intercollegiate athletic events has declined in recent years. Long-term strategies for building faculty fanbases are uncommon, yet, faculty maintain high organizational identification, positively impacting brand loyalty and purchase intentions. As such, university faculty may be an ideal target market for athletic departments through relationship marketing. Utilizing Allport’s (1954) Intergroup Contact Theory, this study examined faculty motivation to attend university athletic events regarding their university identification, perception of college athletes, and motivation for sport consumption. Two hundred and thirty-eight faculty members at Power Five institutions completed the Motivation Scale for Sport Consumption, the Points of Attachment Index, and the Perceptions of Athletic Departments Questionnaire. Descriptive statistics suggested that faculty are motivated differently than other fans, as the physical skills of athletes served as the strongest motivator for faculty. The multiple regression analysis provided evidence to conclude higher levels of both faculty university athletic team identification and their perceptions of student-athletes contributed to increased athletic event motivation scores. Based on the results, in order to increase faculty motivation to attend athletic events, marketers should consider designing innovative marketing efforts specifically for faculty members and utilizing marketing techniques to increase faculty’s perceptions of college athletes.

Author Biographies

Alison Fridley, The University of Southern Mississippi

Alison Fridley, PhD, is an assistant professor of sport management in the School of Marketing at the University of Southern Mississippi. Her current research examines sport spectator motives of marginalized identities, impacts of coaching transitions on student-athletes, and mental health within the student-athlete population.

Sarah Stokowski, Clemson University

Sarah Stokowski, PhD, is an associate professor of athletic leadership in the Department of Educational and Organizational Leadership Development at Clemson University. Her research interests focus on college athlete development with an emphasis on the personal development literacies.

Skye Arthur-Banning, Clemson University

Skye Arthur-Banning, PhD, is an associate professor of sport management in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at Clemson University. His research interests are centered around amateur sport and specifically sport development and para/adaptive sport programs and mental health and sport.

Thomas J. Aicher, University of Colorado – Colorado Springs

Thomas J. Aicher, PhD, is an associate professor and dean of the College of Business and Adminstration at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. His research interests include the consumer behaviors of sport participants and the impact of events within the host community.

Chris Croft, The University of Southern Mississippi

Chris Croft, EdD, is an assistant professor of sport management in the School of Marketing at the University of Southern Mississippi. His research interests include intercollegiate athletics, coaching, and sport security.


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