Dimensions of attachment among fans within the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) and the relationship with attendance
In the last decade there has been growing interest in the study of fans to better understand sport consumption behaviours, motives, attachment, loyalty and satisfaction. This study was aimed at ascertaining the various dimensions of attachment of fans within the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL). The secondary purpose of the study was to establish the relationship of the various forms of attachment with game attendance. The study employed a review of related literature on attachment and team identification scales to adapt and validate a reliable measure of fan attachment using a quantitative research approach. Four points of attachments, namely attachment to the team, player(s)/coach, the sport of soccer and the level of sport were extracted from a factor analysis approach. Attachment to the level of sport in general appeared to be the most highly correlated form of attachment with attendance. Fans appear to attach greater importance to the sport, the level of soccer and the team as opposed to specific players or the coach. The study proposes a framework reflecting both its practical application and statistical reliability which can be used to measure and understand fans’ attachment and identification within the soccer fraternity. Limitations and implications for further research are outlined.
Key words: Soccer fans, attachment, identification, loyalty, social identity theory.