The purpose of this research is to examine the impact of social media and sports fan engagement and explore whether social media engagement has a mediating effect on the relationship between fan engagement behaviour and fan loyalty. The research employed an explanatory research design to explain the cause-and-effective relationship among fan behaviour and fan loyalty. Self-administered questionnaires were employed in collecting the data. The target population for this study was fans of Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko, who were active on social media during the sample time frame. After a two and half month period of data collection, three hundred and twenty-five (325) questionnaires were valid for statistical analyses. The Partial Least Square (PLS) method was used to test the hypothesis. The study revealed that social media engagement has a positive and significant influence on fan behaviour and fan loyalty. Sport organisations predominantly use social media to increase their brand visibility and to develop fan relationships. The study found that loyalty in this population was more multifaceted than the unvarying consumer markets. Fans of the two clubs appeared to hold a higher sense of loyalty and control in their devotion to the club. The study contributes to new knowledge regarding the potential and limitations in the use of social media in marketing and relationships. The substantial use of social media seems to be primarily directed towards club's visibility and relationship development. Social media usage is significant in improving fan loyalty in football clubs. The study provides evidence of how a fan's behaviour and the club's effort to engage via social media lead to fan loyalty and commitment.
This chapter provides a background to social media and sports fan engagement and presents the concept of social media and how it has evolved to the overall concept of engagement. Furthermore, the research gaps that this study seek to address are stated. The chapter also outlines the objectives and hypothesis of the study, purpose of the study, significance of the study, scope of the study and the chapter disposition.
Background to the Study
social media helps football clubs in accruing revenue and acquainting with prospective fans and setting up connections swiftly and smoothly.
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