Looking at Gender Differences Through the Lens of Sport Spectators

Lynn L. Ridinger
Daniel C. Funk

This paper explores common assumptions about the intrinsic differences between male and female consumers within a subset of leisure consumption ?sport spectating. This research utilized the Sports Interest Inventory (SII) (Funk, Mahony & Ridinger, 2002) to examine differences between spectators (N = 959) attending men’s and women’s basketball games at a NCAA Division I institution. MANOVA results revealed nine differences for Team-Gender, seven differences for Spectator-Gender, and three interaction effects. Multiple linear regression analyses revealed that three core interest factors (university pride, team interest, and vicarious achievement) explained a significant proportion of variance in commitment and attendance behavior for fans of both teams. However, a number of interest factors related to Team-Gender and Spectator-Gender emerged to differentially explain levels of commitment and behavior. The results indicate that while there are some commonalities that motivate people to attend college basketball games involving athletes of each gender, there are also differences that make women’s basketball unique from men’s basketball.