Factors That Motivate People to Attend Sports

Introduction

Introduction and Background

Sports bring people of diverse cultural background together for entertainment and cheering up their team. Sports have become a great influence among families and communities thus becoming a strong factor in creating cohesiveness. Over the years, the way sport has affected socialization, behavior and attitude has helped change and bring people of various culture together. This has resulted into bringing peace among various people. The results and implications of sports are not only related to events that occur in the field, but also to a plethora of cultural and social influences that operate throughout the sporting fraternity argues Coakley, (1998).

According to Bush (2002) some people attend sports for profession while others as means of keeping fit. Professional sportsmen earn a living as they take sports as a full time engagement. Sporting activities such as football, rugby, athletics, volley ball, basket ball, swimming, judo, hockey, boxing, horse racing and many others have been taken as fulltime professions. Today one can identify successful individuals in these sports who are doing well financially as compared to some academic related professions.

Many people today are attending sports either as participants or spectators. In the recent times there were a growing number of people who were taking sports to keep fit while others earned a living from it. These sporting activities include swimming, football, gymnastics, rugby, hockey, boxing, judo and others. Some sporting activities are for professionals because they can cause injury to the participants argues Nina (2008).

Statement of the problem

Some sports attract a small crowd, however, FIFA world cup and Olympics attracts a large following due their passion. What cannot be assumed is that there is a clear relationship between a certain sport and motivation of people to attend it. Indeed, over reliance on fame of the game by organizers to secure the motivation of fans and participants could be at the cost of more powerful motivators such as, love of the game, advertising, raising money for social projects, patriotism and celebrity endorsement. However, having said this, it would be unwise to abandon the argument that fame of the sport plays an important role in motivating people to attend a sporting event. The success of sports depends on the number of supporters it has and the attendance it attracts to the venue argues Wilkens (2002).

Statement of Purpose

The main purpose of this study is to provide information about the success and failures of sports attendance. Sports are important in the world of today because it brings people together from various parts of the world thus encourage inter-mixing of culture writes Parks, Quarterman and Thibolt (2006). Therefore, this study will assist sports organizers to understand what they will do to make their sports to be successful in terms of attendance.

In this study, the researcher integrated basic facts and information about the sports motivators, including their historical background, culture and tradition, the changes they brought to the world, and the influences that they created to the inhabitants the world.

Research objectives

The main aim of this research is to determine the strategies which will be used to improve attendance of people in sporting events. The implementation of recommendations of this dissertation will serve as an important step towards increasing sports attendance as people will be motivated.

Keeping the previous paragraph in mind, it means that if the people’s needs are well taken care of then it is very easy to achieve the purpose of the project. It is also in the best interest of sports organizers to take care of the needs of people to avoid failure of their game.

Research methodology

This dissertation relies on secondary research to generate qualitative and descriptive information. To meet the research aim and objectives, a review of available literature has helped to develop an understanding of the issues involved in the determination of how people are motivated to attend sports writes Nesti (2004).

This will be carried out using qualitative means. The results from qualitative research should be presented as percentages; they should also not be subjected to an analysis of statistics or even be projected to wider population. This is merely because those people participating in this kind of research usually do not make a sample which has been randomly selected and the given samples are usually relatively small and not all the participants are normally asked the same questions. And no matter how much qualitative research one or rather a researcher will conduct, he will still not be sure of how exactly the participants feel or of they are experiencing similar things and at this point is where a researcher will have the preference of using a quantitative research wrote Merriam(1998).

According to Merriam (1998) there are those tools which are normally in common use in a qualitative market research and these tools are the focus groups and those interviews carried out on individual basis and are called the in-depth interviews. Additionally, there are many other methodologies that can be used to assist the researcher to know more about his sample group of twenty crane operators. Some of the examples of these include; pairs of friendships from which people who claim to be best friends are picked to have a discussion on the subjects that are more sensitive. The other example is observations made on behaviors and how people interact in the natural environment of the targeted participants.

Limitation of the study

This dissertation focuses on the motivators to watch sports among the citizens. The study is limited to general motivating factors among the fans and participants. Furthermore, the sports’ activities are not being investigated thoroughly to determine their influence. Sports will not be compared and analyzed in terms of their activities, as this is beyond the scope of this dissertation. But they will be analyzed and cross-analyzed on the factors that influence people to attend them.

Outline of Dissertation

The dissertation is broken down into three main parts. The first part, Chapter 1, presents the reader with an introduction of the topic that is researched as well as setting the theoretical foundations of the dissertation.

In the second part, Chapter 2, the literature review is presented whereby all relevant literature concerning the motivation of people to attend sports. Chapter 3 is concerned with the methodology of the study. In this section, a conceptual framework is constructed based on the research questions and literature review. The methodological part of the dissertation elaborates on the reasons for choosing semi-structured interviews as the main data collection method as well as how the data collected with the interviews is analyzed.

Finally, the last part of the dissertation, (i.e. chapter 4, and 5) consist of the presentation of results, conclusions, managerial implications, limitations and areas for future research.

Literature Review

Sources of literature

This is review of literature that focuses on the findings and research that pertains to the motivators to people to attend sports.

Influence of media on sports

The media’s coverage and repeated telecast of sports began growing at a profound rate as more and more households gained possession of televisions and radio something that has contributed heavily to the love of the game. They could follow the sport and cheer for their favorite sportsmen from the comfort of their houses even if the game is continents away. Both parties dwell on the other to make profits wrote Parks, Quarterman and Thibolt (2006, p. 248).

According to de Moragas and Miquel (1996)The relation between sports and mass media is based on three things:

  1. Sports are essential for sports media to grow and develop;
  2. Media gives maximum visibility to sports; and
  3. This relationship sometimes leads to a conflict on both sides.

While sports gets maximum attention from spectators and becomes an assured area of target audience for the media, it promotes media’s market, profitability and competitiveness. Also, all media do not opt for the same sport to promote, all the time. When they make a choice, they take into consideration various factors: possible degree of audience attention, competitiveness of the sport, skill, performance and ability of the players, attraction of sportsmen—as idols, cultural impacts and choice of different countries, etc. Similarly, when a sport chooses a media, it also considers quite a few factors: authority of that medium, its influential power, and the scope to build a trustworthy, co-operative and sustainable tie-up with them. They also take efforts to better their character, reinforce co-operation with media, etc. wrote Geng (2002).

Geng (2002) wrote that when mass media began concentrating—and giving a big share of their publicity space and time—to sports, exclusive sports channels came into existence on television. Radio channels gave commentary hours, while the print media dedicated pages to these cultural events. Sports writing and reporting became a new career in itself, giving birth to exclusive sports writers and reporters. By that time the public began showing undivided attention to sports news, daily newspapers exclusively dedicated to sports began hitting the stores. Among them, the most famous was L’Équipe (Paris), whose origins can be traced to the early 20th century.

According to Carter (1984) a plethora of “sports writing” styles and genres came into existence. Celebrity gossip flashed details of sportspersons’ private lives; journalists found interest in probing sports scandals, official corruption, use of performance-enhancing drugs, and off-field violence committed by not just sportspersons, but their excited fans as well. Print media also devoted considerable space for in-depth profiles and sports issues of sportspersons.

However Bryant and McElroy (1997) argued that Sports photography was another genre of career and media that came to life. In spite of excellent and evocative sports writing, the instant impact of a prominent visual improved the appeal of sports pages, as well as of current-affairs magazines such as Time, Der Spiegel, etc. While journalists, reporters and photographers began gaining their livelihood from this new career, sportspersons became famous overnight. Innumerable people began following them, idolizing them and taking after their ‘portrayed’ character and attitudes.

For fan

According to Wilkens (2002) some people like sports because they get entertained. Some who love sports and who will wish to be entertained feel that it’s worthy to sacrifice time and money to attend sporting events because they enjoy them. In developing countries, sports fans are unable to raise entrance fee to physically attend sporting events end up doing crazy things like forcing themselves into stadiums which has caused stampedes. Other fraudsters have taken advantage of these games fans by preparing false tickets and selling them to these innocent fans. Because of this the management has improved the process of getting tickets by introducing kiosks which specifically sale genuine tickets. Some fans attend sports events because of the splendor and inspiration they perceive is associated with it while others are motivated to attend because of the encouragement and arousal they get when physically watching it such that they feel that they can not miss it. In addition some fans attend because of personal reasons and the pleasure they will achieve if the participant or team they like wins while others have introduced an interest of being a fan of one or more participants or players of the game so that it can be a basis for their curiosity to watch. Therefore the good performance of a player gives them a reason to be there and enjoy it. Other fans view attending as a chance to physically meet the players wrote Rader (1983).

Love of the Game

According to Bryant and McElroy (1997) some people love each sports game differently. Some love Olympics, basket ball, football, marathon, long jump, among them. These people adore the event to that extent they don’t want to miss every pit of it. This motivates them to be present at the game and get full satisfaction. People travel to far countries to attend and watch a game they love. A person who loves a certain game finds it irresistible to attend and cheer up the game. They are further motivated by the performance of the team players in the sense that in most of their competitions their performance is good influencing their supporters to attend and enjoy the way they play the game.

Travel motive

People attend events because they want to travel to different places where the events are held. Events are held in different countries of the world.This countries have different origins. Some people are motivated to attend for reasons of leisure such that they want to break from their daily duties or routine events. People get a chance to spend their time and money doing different activities from what they do normally by attending sports. In addition travelling to attend these sports enables the fans to meet new people and mix with them learning their culture and how they do other things. This has greatly influenced fans enabling them to interact socially creating a community of fans within them and in the process they get to share their game interests. When people travel to new places, they tour different exciting sceneries of that host country and discover origins of those sceneries motivating them to attend. For example Beijing Olympics promoted the tourism industry greatly because visitors from different parts of the world who attended the Olympics visited many other places other than the sports event. Further some people love the way the organizers present the game especially during the opening of the event influencing them to attend and enjoy this presentation. Events like celebrations before and after the match, children’s activities, and normal features of the club in the event are likely to impress the attendants.

To market different company products

According to Schlossberg (1996), and Milne and McDonald (1999 there are those people who attend purposely to make business. They view other attendants as a perfect market for their products due to the large number of spectators. The big crowd will definitely consume some products thus raising revenue for them. This business community takes into account loyalty of most attendants to the sport. This will not only assist to increase market share of the company but also create good image of the product. Here the spectators who attended the last game will be expected to remain devoted and come again. Some companies advertise their products during the event and the attendants are able to be aware of those products in the market. Some companies donate sports items to players so that attendants can easily notice the products. Different companies have stiff competition to sports super stars because every attendant will wish to dress like them. There is a read market for food stuffs because every attendant is most likely to consume something while watching the event or during their stay in the host country. The investors in hotel industry improve the quality of services and goods they offer to their clients to ensure they are attracted to consume their products and make sure that their businesses meet international standards adds Irwin, Sutton and McCarthy (2008).

Support social activities

According to Coakley (2003) some events are held to raise revenues to assist solve a certain social problems in the society. People get motivated to attend and contribute so that they can assist the affected in the society. This will act as a philanthropic activity that is generous contribution. People who are assisted are the disabled, cancer patients, those who need constructive surgery, people with eye problems. These people normally came from poor background or their medical bills are very heavy such that they are unable to receive proper medical care. Event organizers feel that they should be remembered by involving the players and the spectators. This participation makes the general public to be encouraged to attend in large numbers to support others in the society adds Geng (2002).

Patriotism

According to Nesti (2004) people are motivated to go and attend sporting events of their national teams because of patriotism. Their major interest is to participate in supporting this team simply because they are from the same country. Normally these people are stimulated by the good performance of their national team and decide to attend in large numbers to support them. At the end of the day if the team wins the attendants appreciates and they get value for time sacrificed as well as value of their money. Also if the attendants or players most of them are local players, fans from that country will want to support their national team.

Sports and Religion

Before the early 1980s, athletes rarely discussed or displayed their faith or observed religious rituals and prayers during sport participation wrote Czech et al (2004). This may be because the media and other athletes often ridiculed the religious athlete adds Nixon & Frey (1996). This tension has reduced considerably and the religious athlete is not only recognized but also respected. We find coaches and sports psychologists increasingly turning to religion and spirituality as a part of the training and mental conditioning of their wards.

According to Drinkford (1996), and Eitzen and Sage (1997) the use of sport in educational institutions is not limited to church affiliated institutions and colleges, whether catholic or protestant or churches of different leanings. Different public and private schools with no direct affiliation with one religion or the other have also been known to use sport to help students improve performance in academics as well as on the sports field. Christianity has relied on the use of sport for varied purposes that include the utilisation of sport as a function of social service. The use of sport has enabled churches to provide recreation to its members and society at large and to promote fellowship, church growth and discipleship. Sport is also seen as a means of catching the interest of many un-churched people that might generally be reluctant to attend church, but may be much more open to sport wrote Hartzell (1996). Additionally, by providing cheap and healthy sports recreation, churches have provided a positive environment as an alternative to less desirable atmospheres adds Overman (1997).

Religion, represented by churches, has used sport for varied reasons as seen above. On the other hand is the use of religion by sport coaches and athletes to deal with stresses inherent in the pursuit of sport as a discipline adds Eitzen and Sage (1997). For example, utilizing religious practices has been commonly implemented by coaches as a means of supplementing practical athletic techniques wrote Coakley (2003).

Methodology

Common classifications of research purpose include exploratory, explanatory and descriptive. It is important to be flexible when performing this research because it is possible to come across findings, which may unexpectedly change the direction of the research. Therefore, exploratory research often starts with a very broad focus that progressively changes through the course of the research. Descriptive research on the other hand, requires that a descriptive theory be developed before commencing the research. Descriptive research includes identifying and mapping by signifying, registering and documenting based on the researcher’s choice of perspectives, level of depth and definitions. It can be inferred that in order to progress onto exploratory research, the descriptive research needs to be executed well. Lastly, explanatory research aims to make an analysis of cause and effect relationships, which is similar to that of the descriptive stage. In other words, the analysis should be based on various predetermined conditions wrote Merriam (1998).

There are mainly two approaches of conducting research; a quantitative and a qualitative approach. These methods are used to generate, arrange and analyze the information and data that have been collected. The difference between the two ways of conducting research is that quantitative research relies on mathematical and statistical treatment in the evaluation of results, whereas qualitative research relies on description in the evaluation of results. Common quantitative data gathering techniques involve the use of questionnaires and interviews where responses are given a numerical value. Qualitative data gathering techniques on the other hand involve the use of interviews, observations, diaries and even case studies and action research wrote Czech and Bullet (2007).

According to Merriam (1998) researchers who support this approach argue that no two situations are the same and every phenomenon is unique. They state three central aspects in qualitative research, the first aspect is the researcher’s possibility to see and interpret the reality from the respondent’s perspective. The second aspect focuses on studying the relationship between theory and research with the qualitative tradition and finally, the last aspect is to decide on how much of the qualitative research results can be generalized. In other words, the non-standardized and complex data that is collected has to be classified into categories before it can be analyzed in a meaningful way.

Data Collection

Data collection can provide, when properly executed, a rich source of material. The following section presents the data collection methods used to carry out the research needed for the dissertation

Primary & Secondary Data

Information can be classified into primary data and secondary data. Secondary data includes material, which has been published before, such as a textbook. This type of material is less specialized and not up to date, although it tends to provide general background and theory. Conversely, primary data is new and original and tends to be very specialized, such as theses and trade literature. Simply, primary material represents data that has been collected for the purpose of actual research.

Results and Discussion

Many factors influence people to attend sporting activities; however the media plays an important role. There have been many instances where the inter-dependability of media and sports in marketing it and changing popularity the sport. Popularity of one has always led, and always will lead, to the benefit of the other. And as a result, sports and sportspersons will keep benefitting from this symbiotic relationship for a long time to come.

While sports gets maximum attention from spectators and becomes an assured area of target audience for the media, it promotes media’s market, profitability and competitiveness. Also, all media do not opt for the same sport to promote, all the time. When they make a choice, they take into consideration various factors: possible degree of audience attention, competitiveness of the sport, skill, performance and ability of the players, attraction of sportsmen—as idols, cultural impacts and choice of different countries, etc. Similarly, when a sport chooses a media, it also considers quite a few factors: authority of that medium, its influential power, and the scope to build a trustworthy, co-operative and sustainable tie-up with them. They also take efforts to better their character, reinforce co-operation with media, etc. wrote Geng (2002).

Others factors that play an important role for people to attend the games include entertainment, love of a game, travel motive, to market different company products, raising funds to assist the needy in the society, patriotism, demographics, religion and Public Perceptions

Conclusion and Recommendation

From the discussions it is revealed that media and other factors form a vital part of the way people view sport and becomes the main reason why they watch sports. However, the participation and attendance of the Olympic Games and FIFA games constitutes seeking of personal glory and honour as well entertainment.

Some sports are a means through which people and nations transcend cultural differences to unite to celebrate the human race. The literature and reports on past games are rich with stories of exceptional courage, kindness, and perseverance among the athletes through the years. The Games were and continue to be a religious spectacle and experience for the participants as well as the spectators as we see in the following sections.

List of References

Bryant, J., E., & McElroy, M. 1997, Sociological Dynamics of Sport and Exercise, Morton Publishing Company, Englewood.

Bush, 2002, Remarks by the President at State of Utah Olympic Reception – Salt Lake City, 2002. Web.

Carter, J.M 1984, Sports and Pastimes in the middle Ages, Grantwood.

Coakley, J. J. 1998, Sport in Society: Issues and Controversies. (5th Ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby-Year Book.

Coakley, J.J. 2003, Sport in Society (8th Ed.). Irwin McGraw-Hill, Boston.

Craig, S. 2002, Sports and Games of the Ancients, Greenwood.

Czech, D. and Bullet, E., 2007, An exploratory description of Christian athletes’ perceptions of prayer in sport: A mixed methodology pilot study, International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 2(1): 49-56.

Czech, D.R., Wrisberg, C., Fisher, L., Thompson, C., & Hayes, G. 2004, The Experience of Christian Prayer in Sport – An Existential Phenomenological Investigation, Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 1, 1-19.

De Moragas, Miquel 1996, The New Role of the Mass Media in the Construction of Sport and Olympic Values.

Eitzen, D. S., & Sage, G. H. (1997): Sociology of North American Sport (6th ed.) Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Geng, 2002, Sports Marketing—Strategy & Management, Beijing, Renmin Sports Publishing House.

Irwin, Sutton & McCarthy (2008). Sport Promotion and Sales Management.

J. A., & Wulfemeyer, K. T., 2005, Color coded: Racial descriptors in television coverage of intercollegiate sports. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 49(1), 65-85.

Koivula, N. 1999, Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 33, 543-557.

McCallum, I. 1988, Green cars, black cats, and lady luck. Sports Illustrated, 68, p 86-94.

McLuhan, M, 1964, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man.

Merriam, S.B. 1998, Qualitative Research and Case Study applications in Education, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Milne & McDonald, 1999, Sport Marketing.

Nesti, M., 2004, Existential psychology and sport: Implications for research and practice, London: Routledge.

Parks, Quarterman & Thibolt, 2006, Contemporary Sport Management (p. 248).

Rader, B., G, 1983, American Sports: From the Age of Folk Games to the Age of Spectators. Prentice Hall.

Schlossberg, 1996, Sports Marketing.

Sports, 2009, In Encyclopedia Britannica.

Wilkens, S. 2002, Sports and Games in Medieval Times, Greenwood.

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