A Comparison of College Football and NASCAR Consumer Profiles: Identity Formation and Spectatorship Motivation

Shaughan A. Keaton
Nichols M. Watanabe
and Christopher C. Gearhart

Knowledge of antecedents and outcomes of identification with teams or athletes, alongside motivations for spectatorship, allow organizations to adopt models of sport consumption that best meet tactical purposes (Stewart, Smith, & Nicholson, 2003). This strategy potentially increases sport consumption (Sutton, McDonald, Milne, & Cimperman, 1997) in part because understanding disparities in market segments is crucial to isolating consumers’ needs, identifying their foundations of loyalty and commitment, and exposing spending patterns (Pitts & Stotlar, 1996; Shilbury, Quick, & Westerbeek, 1998). Strategically targeting social or collective identities has been purported to link to managerial outcomes such as decreased price sensitivity and performance-outcome sensitivity, making it easier to sell tickets at higher prices even in cases when teams do not perform well (Sutton et al., 1997). To achieve these ends, organizations must have the ability to identify psychological, cognitive, and behavioral mechanisms that drive identity processes and motivations for sport consumption. Comprehending these arrangements is especially poignant when considering that sources of identification and sport consumption may differ by sport type (James & Ross, 2004). Essentially, sport consumers “display a bewildering array of values, attitudes, and behaviors” (Stewart et al., 2003, p. 206); thus, it is valuable to classify and explicate disparities between different types of sport so organizations can target each accordingly.