Connecting It All: Creating Community in Sport and Entertainment

Stacy Warner and Marlene A. Dixon

There is a growing concern that many individuals are no longer living in and experiencing community like previous generations. Today for many Americans, it is common for someone to have thousands of online Facebook friends without knowing his or her neighbors’ names. Despite the technological advances in communication, individuals receive less social support than in the past and are becoming less connected as a result of these shifting societal trends. Overall, individuals are reporting that they have fewer confidants and people they discuss important matters with (McPherson, Smith-Lovin, & Brashears, 2006; Putnam, 2001). Even within families, traditional American family dynamics are also changing as fewer individuals are raised in two-parent households. This is important because social relationships and connectedness are linked to health and overall well-being (Berkman, Glass, Brissette, & Seeman, 2000; Olds & Schwartz, 2010). Experiencing a strong sense of community is fundamental to one’s overall life quality, well-being, and health, which makes the shift away from living in and experiencing community concerning, as people do not have a lessened need for belonging to communities. Thus, if we can find better ways for more individuals to feel strong social support at the group level, then it is possible to improve overall life quality and ensure that this growing need for community is met. Yet it is not only individuals that are well served by communities. Because of this inherent need to feel a sense of belonging to communities, organizations can take advantage of this need by offering the opportunity to their consumers and/or stakeholders to become a part of their community. Doing so would increase the engagement of their stakeholders, and consequently, the commitment to the organization.

Open Access