Motivational variables that influence fan attendance in domestic rugby matches
Sport is a powerful tool and if well managed and promoted can unify and build a nation. It is the support of sport fans that underpins the sports industry, where they are in supreme authority and without which the golden core of the game has no currency. Whilst an array of research in sport and fans amongst the various codes of sport has been widely researched in other continents, research on fan attendance and motivation undertaken within a South African context is limited. The primary aim of this study is to establish the influencing variables that motivate fans in attending rugby matches. A convenience sample of 180 fans was surveyed from a Gauteng based team. A factor analytical approach revealed seven dimensions of fan motivation, namely, social, physical skill, achievement, aesthetics, escape, drama and knowledge of the game. Findings regarding the dimensions of fan motivation are consistent with previous studies undertaken in other countries. The reliability of the scale was found to be acceptable with regard to each dimension (above 0.70). The physical skills of the players seem to be the most important motivator in rugby fan attendance. The motivational measures revealed in the study may be used by sport marketers to develop marketing communication strategies in various aspects of fan attendance. From a management perspective the results suggests that greater gains in fan attraction and attendance can be achieved by segmenting the sport fan according to the dimensions extracted through factor analysis. Limitations and implications for further research are outlined.
Key words: Fan, fan motivation, rugby, sport consumption, fan attendance.