Attitude towards materialism in sport and materialism tendencies amongst black Generation Y students

  • AL Bevan-Dye
  • J Surujlal
Keywords: Professional athletes, materialistic tendencies, materialism in sport, black Generation Y students


In today's media-rich world sport celebrities are viewed as potential role models and are often used as marketing vehicles. When they display materialistic tendencies they draw severe criticism as this is believed to be in contradiction to their role model obligations. Modern media has commoditised professional athletes, turning them into role models with significant celebrity status and making them a central force driving today's materialistic consumer culture. This study investigates the relationship between black Generation Y students' level of acceptance of materialism in sport and their materialistic tendencies. The black Generation Y cohort comprises African individuals born between 1980 and 1994, and constitutes a significant percentage of the South African population. Students enrolled at tertiary institutions constitute a particularly attractive target market for marketers and a powerful influential force on society in that tertiary education is correlated with a higher earning potential and a higher social class status. The study involved a convenient sample of 400 students across the four South African public higher education institutions situated in the Gauteng province. Questionnaires, designed to measure acceptance of materialism in sport and materialism tendencies of black Generation Y students, were hand delivered to lecturers at each of these campuses who were requested to ask their students to complete them. The collected data were analysed using z-scores and Pearson's correlation coefficient. The findings suggest that while black Generation Y students do exhibit strong materialistic tendencies they are not very receptive of materialism in sport and there is no significant relationship between the two constructs.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2411-6939