Identifier

etd-04122011-102759

Degree

Master of Mass Communication (MMC)

Department

Mass Communication

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Sports fandom research often states sports fans know and understand facts surrounding various sports, teams, leagues, and players. College sports literature argues that media involvement increases popularity and revenues, and as a result, competition, controversy, and complexity. The Elaboration Likelihood Model posits that when involvement in a subject is high, so too is motivation and ability to comprehend, and as a result, cognition increases. Given this, results show that sports fandom acts similarly to issue involvement, leading to increased sports-media consumption. Together, both fandom and consumption lead to increased knowledge of facts surrounding college sports. Results imply that general interest in sports leads to knowledge acquisition of facts related to college sports, independent of a preference for college sports. Due to the pervasiveness of college sports in sports-media, those who value sports and attend to sports-media as a result, come to learn about college sports through mere exposure. Results speak to the popularity of college sports and indicate that sports fans remain aware of characteristics unique to college sports and accompanying discussion that takes place within sports-media. Results, however, also indicate that college sports-media consumption is niche-specific, as individuals who placed the most value in college sports scored the highest, signifying that selective exposure to college sports leads to heightened knowledge. Thus, results imply that media do provide incisive information about the complex nature of college sports and fandom does influence behaviors and reinforces preferences. Individuals ultimately control the information they receive, selectively attending to content that coincides with their preferences while avoiding exposure to that which does not. Sports remain another way for individuals to reinforce niche preferences and ultimately learn.

Date

2011

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Porter, Lance

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