South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation

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Why do fans attend world Wrestling Entertainment?

Martinette Kruger, Melville Saayman


This research examined the travel motives of South African World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) fans at a live Smackdown event in July 2011, which was part of the WWE’s world tour. Based on these motives, different market segments at the events were identified and profiled. This was the first time that the motives of WWE fans in this country were identified and compared to previous research. A total of 450 questionnaires were distributed, of which 414 were completed and included in the analysis. The results showed that WWE fans in South Africa are motivated by four reasons: Unique experience and entertainment, Socialisation, Wrestling enjoyment and Known-group affiliation and novelty. Based on these motives, three distinct clusters of fans were identified: Recreational fans, Avid fans and Aficionados. The travel motives and behavioural characteristics of these fans differ significantly and results showed that WWE fans are a heterogeneous market. Therefore, marketing campaigns directed at these fans should be designed according to their individual needs and preferences in order to sustain the WWE’s success and popularity in South Africa.

Keywords: World Wrestling Entertainment; Fans; Motives; Sport entertainment; South Africa

South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation, 2012, 34(2): 63-81

AJOL African Journals Online