Influence of Motives and Consumption of Sport Video Games on Sponsorship Effectiveness

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021107/00001

Material Information

Title: Influence of Motives and Consumption of Sport Video Games on Sponsorship Effectiveness
Physical Description: 1 online resource (152 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Cianfrone, Beth A
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007


Subjects / Keywords: effectiveness, game, motivations, sponsorship, sport, video
Health and Human Performance -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Health and Human Performance thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: Sport video games (SVGs) are a highly consumed and growing media source. Sport fans, typically the 18-34 year old male demographic, are turning to SVGs as a preferred form of leisure, creating a powerful media outlet. With the rising entry costs, and often over saturation, of sport sponsorships for live or televised events, SVGs allow corporations another unique medium to reach the same target market in a way that often offers more exclusivity. The high levels of SVG consumption by a crucial target market have prompted corporations to become sponsors of SVGs to reach sport consumers. This study provided an initial examination of the relationships among SVG motives, SVG consumption levels, and SVG sponsorship effectiveness. These relationships were tested in a structural model to determine the effectiveness of SVGs. As a unique new medium for sport sponsorships, SVGs were shown to create moderate levels of awareness in gamers. Attitudes and intentions of sponsoring brands were not influenced much by the sponsorships. The consumption of SVGs was influential in predicting awareness levels, but should be examined further in relation to the gamer?s flow. Also, the findings indicated eight motives were significant in determining SVG motivation. Researchers and sport industry practitioners may utilize the tested model to further examine the relationships among motivation, consumption, and sponsorship effectiveness in SVGs.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Beth A Cianfrone.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Zhang, Jianhui.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021107:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021107/00001

Material Information

Title: Influence of Motives and Consumption of Sport Video Games on Sponsorship Effectiveness
Physical Description: 1 online resource (152 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Cianfrone, Beth A
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007


Subjects / Keywords: effectiveness, game, motivations, sponsorship, sport, video
Health and Human Performance -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Health and Human Performance thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: Sport video games (SVGs) are a highly consumed and growing media source. Sport fans, typically the 18-34 year old male demographic, are turning to SVGs as a preferred form of leisure, creating a powerful media outlet. With the rising entry costs, and often over saturation, of sport sponsorships for live or televised events, SVGs allow corporations another unique medium to reach the same target market in a way that often offers more exclusivity. The high levels of SVG consumption by a crucial target market have prompted corporations to become sponsors of SVGs to reach sport consumers. This study provided an initial examination of the relationships among SVG motives, SVG consumption levels, and SVG sponsorship effectiveness. These relationships were tested in a structural model to determine the effectiveness of SVGs. As a unique new medium for sport sponsorships, SVGs were shown to create moderate levels of awareness in gamers. Attitudes and intentions of sponsoring brands were not influenced much by the sponsorships. The consumption of SVGs was influential in predicting awareness levels, but should be examined further in relation to the gamer?s flow. Also, the findings indicated eight motives were significant in determining SVG motivation. Researchers and sport industry practitioners may utilize the tested model to further examine the relationships among motivation, consumption, and sponsorship effectiveness in SVGs.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Beth A Cianfrone.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Zhang, Jianhui.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021107:00001

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Full Text







2007 Beth Anne Cianfrone


In completing my dissertation I was blessed to have people around me who guided me and

supported me throughout the process. I thank my committee and sport management colleagues

for their knowledge. Also, I thank my advisor, Dr. James Zhang, for pushing me to achieve my

best, as a scholar and person. Through all of this, my friends and roommates reminded me to

laugh and enjoy the small moments. Most importantly, I thank my family. My mom showed

me not to sweat the small stuff and to live strong. My dad offered support by always telling me

to be "true to myself". Finally, I thank Joe and John for making my extra time in Gainesville

worthwhile and enjoyable.



A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ...............................................................................................................3

L IS T O F T A B L E S ................................................................................. 6

LIST OF FIGU RE S ................................................................. 7

LIST OF TERMS .................................................................8

ABSTRAC T ...........................................................................................


1 IN TR O D U C T IO N ................................................................................ 10

S tatem en t o f P rob lem ....................................................................................................17
P u rp o se ............................................................................1 9
H ypotheses....................................................... 19
S ig n ifican ce o f S tu d y ........................................................................................................ 2 0
D e lim ita tio n s ..................................................................................................................... 2 1
L im itatio n s ................... ...................2...................2..........

2 L IT E R A TU R E R E V IE W ................................................................ ...............................26

Sport Video Game Sponsorship............................. .......... 27
Sport Video Games as a Sponsorship Form ...........................................27
Sp ort Sp on sorship T h eory ......................................................................................... 30
Cognitive response Brand aw areness ................................................................ 34
Affective response Attitude toward a brand ................................................... 38
Conative response Purchase intention ...........................................................39
Sport Video Gam e Consumption................................................ 40
R repeated exposure................................................... 43
Involvement/Interaction ................................. .......................... .. ....... 44
M otivation and M otivation Theories .............................................................. .............45
Sport Spectator M motives .............................................................51
Salubriou s effects theories ................................................................................. 52
Stress and stimulation seeking theories................................ .. .........53
Catharsis and aggression theories ................................ ............... 54
E ntertainm ent th eories ........................................................................................ 54
A chievem ent seeking theories................................................... 56
S u m m ary ................................................................5 8
Sport Participant Motives ................................. ........................... ... ......59
M otivation T heory in M edia ..................................................................................... 60
Televised sport m motives ..................................... ......... .. ...... .............. ... 60
Video gam e m motives .................. .................. ............ .. ...... ................. 61


Sport V ideo G am e M motives .......................................................................... ....................63
S o cial In tera ctio n ....................................................................................................... 6 4
F a n ta sy ................... ...................6...................4..........
K now ledge A application .......................................................................... ................... 65
C o m p e titio n .....................................................................................................................6 5
In te re st in S p o rt ............................................................................................................... 6 5
E entertain m ent ................................................................6 5
D iv e r sio n .........................................................................................................................6 6
A ro u sa l .........................................................................6 6
C h a lle n g e .........................................................................................................................6 6
T eam Id en tificatio n ................................................................................................... 6 6
M otiv es an d C on su m option ......................................................................................................67
S u m m ary ................... ...................6...................8..........

3 M E T H O D O L O G Y ........................................................................................................... 7 3

P ilo t S tu d y ..........................................................................7 3
P articip an ts .........................................................................7 4
In stru m e n ts ....................................................................................................................... 7 5
Consumption Levels .......... ......... .. ......... ................. 76
M o tiv a tio n .......................................................................................................................7 6
Sponsorship Effectiveness.................................. 78
Demographics .............................................. 80
D ata A n a ly se s ................................................................................................................... 8 1

4 R E SU L T S .............. ... ................................................................84

D descriptive Statistics ................................................................... 84
C on su m option V ariab les .............................................................................................. 84
Motivation Variables .................... ......................... 84
Sponsorship Effectiveness Variables ................................... ...... ...............84
Measurement Model ............................................................................................................85
Motivation Confirmatory Factor Analyses ............. ........... ........... ............ 85
Consumption and Sponsorship Effectiveness Confirmatory Factor Analysis ................86
Structural M odel Test ..................................................................88

5 DISCUS SION ....................... .. ................................... .... .................. 10

APPENDIX -- INFORMED CONSENT AND QUESTIONNAIRE ................ ..... .......120

L IST O F R E F E R E N C E S ......... .............. ................. ..........................................................136

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............. .... .... ....... ........................... 152


Table page

4-1 Descriptive Statistics for the Personal Background Variables (N= 259)..........................93

4-2 Descriptive Statistics for Current College Student Gamers (n = 164)..............................94

4-3 Descriptive Statistics for Non-college Gamers (n = 77)...........................................95

4-4 Descriptive Statistics for the SVG Consumption Variables. ...........................................95

4-5 Consumption Variables for Madden NFL 07 Participants. .............................................96

4-6 Consumption Variables for NCAA Football 2007 Participants. .....................................97

4-7 Unaided Recall Descriptive Statistics for Cognitive (Sponsor Awareness) Variables......98

4-8 Aided Recall Descriptive Statistics for Cognitive (Sponsor Awareness) Variables..........99

4-9 Summative Percentage of Sponsorship Awareness Variables .........................................99

4-10 Brand Attitude Descriptives for NCAA Football 2007Game...................................100

4-11 Brand Attitude Descriptives for Madden NFL 07 Game...............................................102

4-12 Descriptive Statistics for the Purchase Intention Items. .............................................103

4-13 Mean Scores, Standard Deviations, and Skewness and Kurtosis Values for the Items
Composing the SVG M motivation Scale ............... ............................. ............... 105

4-14 Factor Loadings (B), a, and Average Variance Extracted (AVE) of SVGMS,
Consumption, and Sponsorship Response Items .................................. ............... 107

4-15 Correlation Matrix for SVG Motivation Factors from the Measurement Model. ...........109


Figure p e

1-1 Theoretical Model--Relationships of Motives, Sport Video Game Consumption, and
Sponsorship E effectiveness ........................................................................ ...................23

1-3 Proposed M odel. ...........................................................................25

2-1 Theoretical Relationship between Sport Video Game Consumption and Sponsorship
E effectiveness .................. ........ ......... ..........................................70

2-2 The Development of Sport Video Game Motivation Theory. .........................................71

2-3 Sport Video Game Consumption Motivational Factors...............................................72

4-1 Confirmatory Factory Analysis for the Sport Video Game Motivation Scale...................90

4-2 T ested M odel. .............................................................................91

4-3 Motives, Consumption, Sponsorship Hierarchy Model Fit. ............................................92




Sport Video Game Consumption

Sport Sponsorship

Cognitive Domain/
Cognitive Response

Affective Domain/
Affective Response

Attitude toward the
sponsoring brand (Ab)

Conative Domain/
Conative Response

Purchase intention (PI)

The psychological feature (an emotion, desire or need) that
acts as an incitement to action (American Heritage
Dictionary of the English Language, 2000).

Refers to an activated state within a person--consisting of
drive urges, wishes, and desires--that leads to goal-directed
behavior (Mowen & Minor, 1998).

Operationally defined as an individual's frequency of
playing a sport video game. Frequency is defined as the
number of hours playing a game per week and number of
days per week playing.

The acquisition of rights to affiliate or directly associate
with a product or event for the purpose of deriving benefits
related to that affiliation or association (Mullin, Hardy, &
Sutton, 2000, p. 254).

The intellectual, mental, or "rational" state (Lavidge &
Steiner, 1961). Operationally defined in this study as an
individual's awareness of the sponsoring brand.

The "emotional" or "feelings" state (Lavidge & Steiner,
1961). Operationally defined in this study as an
individual's attitude toward the sponsoring brand (Ab).

An individual's internal evaluation of a brand (Mitchell &
Olson, 1981, p. 318).

The "striving" state, relating to the tendency to treat objects
as positive or negative goals (Lavidge & Steiner, 1961).
Operationally defined in this study as the intent to behave
in a certain manner, in this case purchase the sponsoring
brand (PI).

The person's motivation in the sense of his or her conscious
plan to exert effort or carry out a behavior (Eagly &
Chaiken, 1993, p. 168).

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy


Beth Anne Cianfrone

August 2007

Chair: James J. Zhang
Major: Health and Human Performance

Sport video games (SVGs) are a highly consumed and growing media source. The high

levels of SVG consumption have prompted corporations to become sponsors of SVGs to reach

18-34 year old sport consumers. This study provided an initial examination of the relationships

among SVG motives, SVG consumption levels (game play), and SVG sponsorship effectiveness.

These relationships were tested in a structural model (n = 219) to determine the effectiveness of

SVGs. The fit indices showed the model fit the data well, indicating a series of significant

findings. The model suggested that motivation to play a SVG influenced game play (13%

variance explained), consumption of the SVG predicted awareness of sponsoring brands (6%

variance explained), awareness influenced attitude toward the sponsoring brands (9% variance

explained), and the attitude influenced future purchase intentions (49% variance explained).

These results support previous research findings derived from segmented studies. Also, the

findings indicated eight motives (Team Identification, Knowledge Application, Interest in Sport,

Fantasy, Social Interaction, Diversion, Competition, and Entertainment) were significant in

determining SVG motivation. Researchers and sport industry practitioners may utilize the tested

model to further examine the relationships among motivation, consumption, and sponsorship

effectiveness in SVGs.


Sport video games (SVGs) have become a popular entertainment medium and a large

segment of the $24.5 billion worldwide gaming industry (King, 2005). The video gaming

business is a $7 billion industry in the United States alone [Entertainment Software Association

(ESA), 2006]. Within this leisure activity, the SVG genre is leading the charge in gaming

popularity. SVGs represented 17.3% (approximately 33 million games) of the total console video

game units sold in 2005 (ESA, 2006). A football game, Electronic Arts (EA) Sports' Madden

NFL 06, was the top selling video game of all genres (ESA, 2006). In fact, five of the top 10

selling video games in 2005 were sports games, including games representing the NFL (Madden

NFL 06), NCAA (NCAA Football 06), MLB (MVP Baseball 2005), and NBA (NBA Live 06)

(ESA, 2006). In 2006, in its first week of sales, Madden NFL 07 grossed $100 million in retail

sales ("First-Week", 2006). The gaming industry is thriving with no indications of slowing, as

most players (known as gamers) intend to continue consuming video games in the future as

much as they do today (ESA, 2006). It is apparent that SVGs are a growing segment of both the

sport and entertainment industry.

SVGs are an interactive, virtual media outlet through which people play a fantasy-based

game. There are numerous SVG titles; some mimic traditional sports, such as football, baseball,

golf, and tennis, while others appeal to fans of untraditional sports, such as bass fishing,

skateboarding, and motocross racing. The games are sold in various platforms, through which the

games can be played on computers or with console gaming systems. A video game console is a

computer system used exclusively for gaming purposes (Forster, 2005). The emergence of these

interactive entertainment systems began with Magnavox in the 1970s, Atari in the early 1980s,

and transgressed to Nintendo and Sega in the early 1990s (Forster, 2005). Within the past 10

years, Sony (PlayStation2 and PlayStation3), Microsoft (Xbox and Xbox 360), and Nintendo

(Gamecube) have been the key console manufacturers (Forster, 2005). Handheld devices are also

popular, such as the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) and the Nintendo DS. However, SVGs are

sold more often as console platforms than computer or handheld platforms. Console systems are

more popular for sport video gaming for a few reasons. Consoles are developed completely for

gaming usage, so they work at faster processor speeds, allowing the athlete's game movements

to be more realistic. The nature of console gaming also allows the player to use a handheld

controller to play the game, rather than a keyboard or joystick, while the game is displayed on a

television, rather than a computer monitor. This benefits gamers who enjoy watching their games

on large screens. Console manufacturers are also keeping pace with technological advances. The

Xbox 360 and PlayStation3 consoles have capabilities to utilize high definition gaming formats

in conjunction with high definition televisions (HDTV).

Regardless of console type, gamers can play alone in a one-player mode against the

console (the opponent) or play against many other people. Console gaming is more appealing for

those who prefer playing against other gamers. The ability to sit in front of a television with a

controller (which can be wireless) is more conducive to group play than sitting at a computer.

Gamers can play against opponents who are sitting next to them in the same room or they can

compete with others across the country or world via broadband online gaming. The 2005

introduction of the Xbox 360 console has further increased the online gaming capabilities and

ability for gamers to compete against others. Nearly 60% of the Xbox 360 users play through a

broadband connection. By 2009, online video game subscriptions will top 28 million users

(Browne, 2006). The appeal of playing against gamers in other regions of the country or world

raises the competition level and social level. This convenience has made it possible for those

even without friends present to still play a competitive game. Gamers can even wear head sets,

which let them talk with their opposing online gamers. It is evident that the technological

advances have influenced the social atmosphere and competition of console gaming.

Some of the appeal of SVGs is the resemblance to televised sports and the technological

control that is allowed in the games. SVGs allow the gamer to act as a coach and/or player of the

selected sport. The gamer has control over every aspect of the game, including selecting

teams/players to utilize while playing, assigning starting lineups, selecting uniforms,

stadiums/arenas, weather conditions, play calling, athlete moves, and even celebration dances.

The ability for people to "play" as their favorite player or coach their favorite team has appeal to

many sports fans (Kim & Ross, 2006a). The ability to fulfill a fantasy is a unique characteristic

of video games and has contributed to high volume of SVG consumption and continual

technological improvement by game publishers.

SVGs act as a media source and can be likened to watching a televised sporting event,

due to the games' real-life virtual viewing effects. SVG publishers pride themselves on the

realistic nature of the games, utilizing the latest technology and real-life players to simulate the

game for better effects. Most of the sport games are very realistic because they include an exact

professional league's teams, uniforms, rosters, stadiums, players, and live commentators. Also,

due to the inherent relationship between sport and sponsorships, brand logos or advertisements

inserted within the virtual games create a more realistic game. The realistic features of SVGs

help the gaming industry encompass all major professional and amateur organizations, individual

professional athletes, and corporate sponsors (Fisher, 2006).

SVGs can be very lifelike because of contracts and endorsements by the actual leagues

themselves, which allow usage of league owned rights (i.e., logos, teams, players, stadiums,

etc.). Professional sport organizations, such as the National Football League (NFL), Major

League Baseball (MLB), National Hockey League (NHL), and National Basketball Association

(NBA), have licensing contracts with gaming companies. These contracts allow the games to

utilize the team logos, uniforms, and players of the leagues, adding credibility and realism to the

video games. The exclusivity of a publishing company to create realistic games comes at a high

price tag. As evidenced by the NFL and NFL Players Association's $300 million five year

contract with EA Sports, gaming is a lucrative licensing outlet for leagues or organizations

(Lefton, 2004a). This contract made EA Sports the exclusive publisher of NFL football video

games. In 2004, the NFL earned nearly 50% of its total licensing revenue from video game sales,

suggesting SVGs are a worthwhile marketing tool for them (Lefton, 2004a). Individual

professional athletes also have contracts, endorsing games, such as Tiger Woods'PGA Tour or

Tony Hawk's Pro ,MkAer games. These relationships have created a business venture that

continues to prosper and to be profitable. A critical area of the SVG industry lies with the game's

sponsorships, where corporations aim to advertise within this electronic medium. Considering

that creating technologically enhanced games is costly for game publishers, sponsorships provide

a relatively newer financial resource for the publishers to offset the production cost and generate


Video games are a growing outlet for sponsorships and advertisements, and many

corporations have adopted SVGs as a marketing tool in an effort to reach SVG consumers.

Sponsoring and advertising within a SVG offers companies a way to integrate and display their

brands or products through a heavily consumed virtual medium. In 2005, about $56 million was

spent on game advertising. That figure will likely reach between $400 and $732 million by 2010

(Fisher, 2006; Howard, 2006). Some have even predicted that in-game advertising spending

would reach between $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion by 2010 (Shields, 2006). Although growth

estimates have varied, the widespread utilization of SVGs as promotional outlets is imminent and

certainly a marketing platform on the continued rise.

To a great extent, increased interest in SVG sponsorships can be attributed to the

demographics of the gamers and their consumption levels. The SVG demographic is defined as

the traditional sport demographic: 18-34 year old male consumers. Nearly 60% of men 18-34

years old own a video game system (Media Usage, 2006). The 18-34 year old male demographic

is characterized by their impressionability in brand selection and large spending habits (King,

2006). This group's attention is highly coveted by television networks and their subsequent

advertisers; meanwhile, this age group is also one of the major consumer segments targeted by

sport organizations along with their advertisers or sponsors. Parks Associates found the 18-34

year old male demographic is more open to in-game promotion than other age groups (Business

Wire, 2006).

According to Radia and Harris (2006), the profile of a gamer is a 24 year old adult male

who plays video games 5 days a week for 1.5 hours at a time. He plays Madden Football at the

prime time of 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. on Monday through Friday evenings. In the meantime,

prime time television viewing by this age group of audience is declining by an average of one

hour per week in the U.S. (Radia & Harris, 2006). These contrasting numbers suggests a possible

shift to online and console gaming from traditional television programs. It is apparent that the

ways that young people consume media and sport are changing. In fact, Neilson reported more

men aged 18-34 played console video games than watched major network television (Della

Maggiora, 2006). This shift in electronic media consumption has some profound implications in

that traditional televised promotions (commercials, product placement advertisements, and

virtual advertisements) are not viewed by as many viewers as previously; instead, online and

console gaming as the new media outlets are receiving increased attentions from the gamers.

Logically, it is beneficial for corporations to aim at the 18-34 year olds through SVG

sponsorships (Browne, 2006; Radia & Harris, 2006).

The growth of SVG sponsorships is certainly appealing to sport marketers; yet, the

effectiveness of the sponsorships has rarely been documented. The sponsoring corporations seek

to verify some return on their investment (ROI; Lefton, 2004b). Sport sponsorship studies have

traditionally focused on ROI and effectiveness through intermediate measures (Sandage, 1983).

Many sponsorship theories utilize a hierarchical approach to study sponsorship, following

Lavidge and Steiner's Hierarchy of Effects model (1961). This step model proposes an

explanation for a consumer's response to advertising over four domains (cognitive, affective,

conative, and behavioral). Consumers' awareness of sponsoring brands (cognitive), attitudes or

feelings towards sponsoring brands (affective), and behavioral purchase intentions (conative) of

the sponsoring brands are often studied when determining sponsorship effectiveness; whereas

actual behavioral consumption is difficult for researchers to investigate. Cianfrone (2006)

assessed SVG sponsorship effectiveness over three domains (cognitive, affective, and conative)

through brand awareness, brand attitude, and intent to purchase. She found that sponsorship

awareness levels were moderate to high, but the sponsorships did not seem to create positive

attitudes toward sponsoring brands, nor did they increase intentions to purchase sponsoring

brands. To date, this study was the only investigation related to SVG effectiveness. However,

Cianfrone (2006) recommended exploring contributing variables that led to the phenomenon.

Many factors can contribute to a consumer's response to a sport sponsorship, although

consumption level of sport is usually one of the most influential factors (e.g., Levin, Joiner, &

Cameron. 2001; Madrigal, 2000; Meenaghan, 2001b). A sport fan usually consumes sport

through many avenues, including, but not limited to, live attendance, television, the Internet, and

print media. The consumption of sports and the associated exposure to sport sponsors is assumed

to be a positive relationship that benefits the sponsoring corporations. For example, Cianfrone

and Zhang (2006) determined that sport consumption variables were statistically significant

covariates when studying the effects of advertising and sponsorship in a televised action-sport

event. Due to the inherent relationship of sport consumption level and sponsorship effectiveness,

it is reasonable to assume that an individual's SVG consumption level is likely to influence his or

her responses to SVG sponsorships. The recurring nature of SVG play forces a gamer to view the

SVG sponsorship repetitively. This interactive nature of gaming may lend itself to a different

type of consumption than traditional sport spectatorship, and in fact, repetition may elicit

different sponsorship effects. The only study to date on SVG sponsorships showed SVG

consumption affected a cognitive response, but not an affective or a conative response

(Cianfrone, 2006). However, the effects of sponsorships need to be examined further, because

based on the cognitive responses found by Cianfrone (2006), SVG sponsorships appear to be as

influential as traditional sponsorships.

Considering that SVG consumption may be a factor that affects sponsorship response,

understanding why people play is also an important area that may indirectly influence

sponsorship effectiveness. Sport motivation is concerned with identifying specific motives that

cause, channel, and sustain consumption of sport. Sport motivation has been examined in two

broad areas: sport spectator motivation (e.g., Funk, Mahoney, & Ridinger, 2002; Milne &

McDonald, 1999; Sloan, 1989; Smith, 1988; Trail & James, 2001; Wann, 1995) and sport

participant motivation (e.g., Gill et al., 1983; Milne & McDonald, 1999; Raugh & Wall, 1987;

Youngblood, & Suinn, 1980). Motives to consume sport related media outlets such as television

(Gantz, 1981; Gantz & Wenner, 1991; 1995), websites (Hur, Ko, & Valacich, in press), and

SVGs (Kim & Ross, 2006) have also been studied to a small extent. Although SVG motivation

theory is still in its early stages of development, Kim and Ross (2006) have identified seven

factors that motivate people to play SVGs through both exploratory and confirmatory analyses.

The motives were developed from a Uses and Gratifications theoretical approach (Katz, Blumler,

& Gurevitch, 1974). This theory is used in media motivation literature to explain consumption of

various media outlets. The seven factors that motivated people to play SVGs were Social

Interaction, Entertainment, Diversion, Fantasy, Interest in Sport, Competition, and Knowledge

Application. Many of these motives are general reasons why people consume television, the

Internet, or computer video games, while some, like Fantasy, are specific to SVGs. The

relationship between these motivating factors and SVG consumption remains an area to be


Statement of Problem

In sport sponsorship studies, the relationship between cognition (awareness), affect

(attitude), and conation (intention) is often assumed, but rarely examined. A consumer's

awareness of a sponsoring brand, attitude towards a brand, and behavioral purchase intentions of

a brand have usually been studied independently. According to Lavidge and Steiner's (1961)

Hierarchy of Effects model, there is an inherent sequence in these steps; yet, previous sport

sponsorship studies have rarely investigated this hierarchical relationship. To better understand

SVG sponsorship effects, this linkage was empirically examined.

Previous researchers have found that in traditional sport sponsorships, sport or event

consumption plays a part in affecting the consumer's response to sponsorships (e.g., Levin et al.,

2001; Madrigal, 2000; Meenaghan, 2001b). The relationship between SVG consumption and

sponsorship effectiveness has yet to be determined, although preliminary findings by Cianfrone

(2006) support this speculation. Thus, it was necessary to examine this relationship, as

consumption may be more influential in an interactive and repetitive medium, such as video

games, than the passive medium of sport spectatorship.

The motivation to consume SVGs has also been minimally examined (Kim, Walsh, &

Ross, 2006). Motives to consume sport, via spectatorship or participation, have been detailed

extensively; yet, determining motives to consume SVGs remains a fresh area of research. SVG

motives thus far have been primarily examined under the Uses and Gratification theoretical

framework (Kim & Ross, 2006a), without referencing sport spectator and participant motivation

theories. Considering that SVGs are different than other forms of media in terms of fantasy and

socialization, the Uses and Gratification framework alone may not be adequate for assessing

motives of consuming SVGs. Playing a SVG is an interactive form of participation, which is

different than passively watching sports on television. It is also different than actually competing

in a sport as an athlete or participant. Therefore, some combination of motives from media,

spectator, and participant literature may explain why gamers consume SVGs. Furthermore,

although the constructs of gamer motives has been preliminarily established (Kim & Ross,

2006a), their relationship in explaining consumption should also be explored to better understand

why people consume SVGs. The motivation impacts consumption, which may in turn influence

the measures of sponsorship effectiveness. Also, because of the interactive medium of gaming,

some motivating factors, such as the social interaction factor, may influence sponsorship

effectiveness directly. These speculations were investigated.

Finally, the systematic relationship among SVG motivations, SVG consumption levels,

and SVG sponsorship effectiveness has not been studied. Although previous researchers

examined these three aspects independently, there is a dearth of information on the relationships

among all three aspects. Each concept has been studied in detail relating to sport consumers and

live or televised events, yet there is little empirical research regarding the unique entertainment

medium of SVGs and their consumers. A structural model pertaining to these relationships was

examined for a better understanding of the of SVG consumers response to SVG sponsorships.


The purpose of this study was to understand the influence of SVG motives and SVG

consumption level on SVG sponsorship effectiveness, as determined by awareness, attitude, and

intentions to consume the brand. A theoretical model depicting the relationships between the

psychosocial motives of gamers and SVG consumption, and in turn, their relationships with the

effectiveness of SVG sponsorships was proposed and was tested in this study. The proposed

theoretical relationship is shown in Figure 1-1. This study also took into consideration the

hierarchical relationships among the cognitive, affective, and conative domains. Consequently,

SVG sponsorship effectiveness was tested by the consumers' progression from the cognitive

domain to the affective domain, and finally to the conative domain. This was shown in Figure 1-

2. This would provide a background for future sport sponsorship studies trying to determine the

effectiveness of various sponsorship types. The overall relationships between SVG consumption,

SVG motivation, and SVG sponsorship effectiveness is shown in Figures 1-3.


The following hypotheses were tested in this investigation:

* The SVG motivation factors would be positively related to SVG consumption.

* SVG consumption levels would be positively predictive of sponsorship effectiveness in terms
of brand awareness.

* Sponsorship awareness would be significantly predictive of consumer attitude toward
sponsoring brands, and in turn predictive of the intent to purchase the brands.

Significance of Study

SVGs are a highly consumed and growing media source (King, 2005). Sport fans,

typically the 18-34 year old male demographic, are turning to SVGs as a preferred form of

leisure, creating a powerful media outlet. With the rising entry costs, and often over saturation,

of sport sponsorships for live or televised events, SVGs allow corporations another unique

medium to reach the same target market in a way that often offers more exclusivity. The high

levels of SVG consumption by a crucial target market have prompted corporations to become

sponsors of SVGs as a way to reach sport consumers. Meanwhile, sponsorships in SVGs have

become a major revenue source for sport organizations and game producers. Although little is

known about the effectiveness of SVG sponsorships, their viability in terms of ROI is critical to

continued success of SVG segment of the sport industry. Consumers' response to SVG

sponsorship may be influenced by their consumption levels of SVGs, which could be influenced

by their motivations to play games. Individuals may play SVGs for the competition, social

atmosphere, or virtual features. Since SVGs are a popular media outlet and emerging marketing

tool, it is necessary to understand how the motives to consume and consumption levels are

influencing the gamers' response to SVG sponsorships. Testing the hypotheses helped to obtain

empirical evidence on appropriate means for SVG marketers to motivate people to consume

SVGs and in turn enhance sponsorship effectiveness within the games.

With corporations investing millions to be involved with SVGs, they need scientific

evidence of ROI. This is particularly true if sport organizations and SVG publishers want to

continuously maintain the high interest levels of the corporations investing in SVGs. In the

meantime, the research findings would help SVG publishers and sport organizations justify their

cost and price for sponsorships in SVGs. Most importantly, previous studies examined the

relationships among SVG motivation factors, SVG consumption levels, or sponsorship

effectiveness either separately or in some isolated combinations. In the current investigation,

these sets of variables were examined simultaneously in a hierarchical system through structural

equation modeling analyses. The variables are more likely to resemble the formation of SVG

consumer behaviors than isolated effects. Examining the hierarchical relationships among brand

awareness, attitude toward brands, and intent to purchase would also help to verify the Hierarchy

of Effects Theory (Lavidge & Steiner, 1961) as it was applied to sport sponsorships. Examining

the relationship between SVG consumption levels and sponsorship effectiveness would provide

information on the impact of unavoidably repetitive exposures to sponsorships via the electronic

form of SVGs. Identifying which motives have positive relationships to sponsorship

effectiveness would be beneficial for SVG marketers and sponsors alike to formulate effective

marketing strategies to gamers and corporations.


The study was completed within the following delimitations:

* SVG consumers between 18 and 34 years old were involved in the study. Sport video gamers

were the target participants.

* Both men and women were participants.

* The study was conducted via a paper-and-pencil questionnaire and via an online Internet

questionnaire because of assumed technological preferences of the gamers.

* Participants were recruited from collegiate physical activities classes, undergraduate and

graduate sport management courses, online SVG websites/groups (Yahoogroups.com online

group; MySpace.com Madden group), online list serves, and word of mouth (snowball


* Paper-and-pencil survey participants were recruited from one large university in the

Southeast United States.

* Participation in the study was voluntary.

* Data was collected in spring 2007.

* The two top selling console SVGs were used to assess sponsorship effectiveness.

* Motives were measured with a modified version of the Sport Video Game Motivation Scale
(Kim & Ross, 2006a).

* SVG consumption level was measured with two items as gamers identified the number of
hours played per week and their history of playing the video game.

* Sponsorship effectiveness was measured by a three part questionnaire: brand awareness
(recall, aided recall, recognition), brand attitude, and intent to purchase based on previous
sponsorship studies (Cianfrone, 2006).


The study will have the following limitations, which might hamper the internal and

external validity of the study:

* This study was limited to a convenience sample with volunteer participants.

* The online survey limited the study to those gamers who have Internet access.

* The social environment of data collection could not be controlled through an online survey.
Peer presence could influence gamers who responded to the survey with others in the room.

* Only the top two selling SVGs with noticeable brands were assessed, so the results might not
be generalizable to all SVGs.

SSVG Sponsorship
Consumption Effectivenes

Figure 1-1. Theoretical Model--Relationships of Motives, Sport Video Game Consumption, and
Sponsorship Effectiveness

Figure 1-2. Proposed Hierarchical Effects of Sponsorship Model.

Figure 1-3. Proposed Model.



The popularity of video games has resulted in consumers shifting their preferred

entertainment activity from television viewing to game playing. The loss of television as a

marketing outlet combined with the increasing numbers of sport video gamers has prompted

corporations to use SVGs as a marketing device to reach the coveted 18-34 year old male

demographic. Corporations continually invest millions of dollars in the sponsorships, yet the

consumer's response to the new sponsorships has rarely been studied (Cianfrone, 2006; Nelson,

2002). Industry projections indicate substantial growth of SVG sponsorships in the future and

demonstrate the need to study SVG sponsorship effectiveness.

Similar to traditional sport sponsorships, corporate sponsors of SVGs need to determine

the return on their investment (ROI; Stotlar, 2004). Consumers' responses to sponsorship are

often measured to determine ROI and whether the goals of the sponsorship are fulfilled.

Numerous factors can influence the effectiveness of sponsorships. When receiving the

sponsorship, the consumer is often influenced by factors aside from the sponsorship itself. Since

SVGs are an interactive media source, gamers' consumption level and motives to play may

influence the effectiveness of SVG sponsorships.

Sport sponsorships are discussed in the next section, followed by consumption. The

relationship between consumption and sponsorship effectiveness was also examined. Finally,

SVG motives were explored. Their influence on consumption levels was also considered. Prior

to examining the three areas (motives, consumption, and sponsorship effectiveness) as a

systematic relationship, the theories which explained the areas independently were discussed.

Sport Video Game Sponsorship

In the United States, approximately $6.4 billion is spent each year on sport sponsorships

("About us", 2006). Sport sponsorships are a common marketing tool. The partnership between

sport organizations and sponsoring corporations is fulfilled through many different promotional

forms. A sponsoring corporation pays a fee to be associated with a sport, organization, or team in

hopes of creating or enhancing an association between the consumer and the sponsoring brand

(Mullin et al., 2000). The ultimate purpose of a sport sponsorship is to influence the behavior of

sport spectators and generate sales (Crompton, 2004), which is usually accomplished via creating

brand awareness, enhancing the brand image, and associating the brand with positive feelings or

emotions. The ability and effectiveness of achieving these sponsorship goals are often described

in the advertising and sponsorship theory. Similar to traditional sponsorship, formulation of a

SVG sponsorship relies on the association between a sport organization and a SVG publishing


Sport Video Games as a Sponsorship Form

Sport organizations typically fulfill a corporate sponsorship through promotional forms

such as venue signage, court/field signage, presenting sponsorships, telecasts, or athlete

endorsements (Mullin et al., 2000). Corporations often select the sponsorship type based on the

desired sport consumer they are trying to reach (e.g., live event attendees, television viewers, or

both). Regardless of the sponsorship type selected, corporations invest financially or in-kind with

an expectation of achieving some ROI (Stotlar, 2004). Sport sponsorships in the form of signage

were initially designed to reach event attendees. Now they are strategically positioned and

formatted to optimally influence both the event spectators and the television viewers. In fact,

research findings have confirmed that venue signage has been effective in generating

sponsorship awareness of television viewers (Harshaw & Turner, 1999; Pope & Voges, 1997;

Stotlar & Johnson, 1989). However, Tavassoli, Schultz, and Fitzsimons (1995) found the

television audience had higher levels of distraction and suggested signage was more effective in

reaching live spectators. In an effort to further reach the televised sport audience, virtual

advertising is a popular form of promotional sponsorship. Virtual advertising is fulfilled when

digitally imposed logos are displayed in televised sports broadcasts. Originally intended for

sports with no commercials, such as World Cup soccer, this on screen virtual branding has since

become commonplace in many televised sport broadcasts (Burgi, 1997; Cianfrone, Bennett,

Siders, & Tsuji, 2006; Turner & Cusumano, 2000). Virtual advertising is aimed specifically at

the home viewer and allows sponsoring corporations another way to reach the television

audience without adding clutter to the live event attendees.

Today's fan consumes sport through many forms of media, including television, radio,

print, Internet, and video games. The diversity of the sports media marketplace indicates that

focusing marketing efforts on a repetitive and highly consumed media source, such as video

games, may be beneficial. Likewise, the advent of digital video recorders, such as TiVo, has

further prompted the need for creative marketing strategies to reach the sport consumer

(Fernando, 2004). Some corporations aiming to reach the 18-34 year old sport fans have

abandoned traditional television based sponsorship and advertising in an effort to achieve more

promising results. As male gamers, aged 18-34 years old, are playing SVGs more often than

watching television (Della Maggiora, 2006), sponsors have delved into a different avenue of

marketing. The rise in SVG popularity has suggested a shift in the marketing efforts from

televised medium to the interactive SVG medium (Della Maggiora, 2006).

The increase in SVG consumption has created a new area of sponsorship for companies

targeting the 18-34 year old male sport fan. Video game sponsorships are a new and growing

portion of the promotional mix (Fisher, 2006). SVG sponsorships can be fulfilled via virtually

inserting static billboard signage with a corporation's brand logo to more integrative approaches

(McClellan, 2005). Brand logos of the sponsoring companies have been inserted into specific

segments of the SVGs (e.g., the Halftime, Red Zone, and Player of the Game sponsorships in

NCAA Football). Athletes and coaches through endorsement deals sponsor games (e.g., the Tony

Hawk's Pro ,\awer series and Madden NFL series). The billboard signage insertions or game

segment sponsorships are similar to virtual advertising on television, except for the fact that

video games are all "virtual." Some products are fully integrated into the game; for example, the

ability for a golfer to select specific Nike clubs when playing Tiger Woods' PGA Tour game

(McClellan, 2005). One of the most extensive sponsorships is Burger King's usage of the "King"

character in Fight Club 2007.

Researchers argue that sponsorships can be more advantageous and/or more effective

than traditional advertisements (Meenaghan, 2001a; Rajaretnam, 1993). Meenaghan (2001a)

identified four reasons sponsorships can be advantageous in influencing a consumer. First,

consumers can view sponsorships as beneficial. Due to the inherent relationship between sport

and sponsorship, SVG sponsorships may be viewed as beneficial. It is typical for a venue to have

signage, therefore a SVG that includes venue signage in the virtual stadiums simply adds to the

realism. Parks Associates found male gamers aged 18-34 years old are in favor of in-game

advertisements that enhanced game play (Business Wire, 2006). Similarly, Nelson (2002) found

gamers were open to in-game promotion provided it fit the game. Second, Meenaghan (2001a)

found that consumers view sponsorships as indirect and subtle. SVG sponsorships are subtle

because they are implemented similar to traditional sponsorships. SVG sponsorships typically

are integrated into the game in a manner that does not affect game play, as logos may be

incorporated through a sponsorship of a game segment (e.g., sponsor of the coin toss). Thirdly,

the commercial purpose can be disguised (Meenaghan, 2001a). The intent to persuade the

consumer through sponsorship is less blatant than traditional advertising messages. A SVG

sponsorship that is in the form of a logo that is displayed when a team scores a touchdown in a

football game is not as obvious of a push to purchase the product when compared to a television

commercial explain gin whey a consumer should purchase the product. Finally, sponsorships'

low invasiveness and relationship with sport allows the consumers to experience a low state of

alertness and experience a sponsorship with more ease than a traditional advertisement

(Meenaghan, 2001a). Typically, when a person is in a relaxed state, such as watching a sporting

event, he or she would lower his or her defense mechanisms and respond better to sponsorships.

Likewise, when playing a SVG, a gamer is involved and focused on the game, so being aware of

an integrated sponsorship is a less conscious effort than interpreting an advertisement.

An advantage of SVG sponsorships is the inability for gamers to skip them. Due to the

integration of the sponsorships into the game, the gamers are exposed to the sponsorship when

they play and the sponsorships are unavoidable. For example, a game sponsorship of the coin

toss to start a football game would be integrated into the game in a manner where the

commentators mention the sponsoring company and the gamer must select if they want to kick,

receive, or defer to start the game. These sponsorships are different than a television commercial,

which can be skipped by a viewer changing the channel. Further advantages of SVG sponsorship

include access to a highly coveted demographic, repetition of game use and therefore

sponsorship exposure, and the interactive nature of the games (Lefton, 2004b).

Sport Sponsorship Theory

Although SVG sponsorships appear to positively benefit a corporation, the effects of the

sponsorship on the consumer have yet to be determined. To examine sponsorship effectiveness,

it is first necessary to understand the theoretical framework of how sponsorships are received by

consumers and how sponsorship effectiveness is determined. Sponsorship theories, such as

Lavidge and Steiner's Hierarchy of Effects Model (1961) and Madrigal's Belief, Attitude,

Intention Model (2001), attempt to explain how sponsorships are implemented, how they work,

the effects of sponsorships on consumers, and the ensuing consumer response to the

sponsorships. By understanding how sponsorships work and are received by the consumer,

researchers can ascertain whether sponsorships are effective and determine if the desired

consumer response is generated.

Sport sponsorship theory originally stemmed from the general advertising literature

because it was assumed that the desired consumer response from a commercial message or

promotion is somewhat similar to that of a sponsorship association. Researchers have usually

applied traditional advertising theories, such as the Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA)

Theory and Lavidge and Steiner's Hierarchy of Effects Theory (1961) to explain the effect of

sport sponsorship. Other sport sponsorship research identified differences between advertising

and sponsorships (Meenaghan, 200 la) in an attempt to understand consumers' responses. Some

even attempted to develop specific sport sponsorship theories (e.g., Gwinner, 1997; Madrigal,

2001; Meenaghan, 2001b; Precejus, 2005).

Advertising and sponsorship models that examine the mental processing of consumers

are often classified as hierarchical or non-hierarchical (Vakratsas & Ambler, 1999). Hierarchical

models assume the mental process of synthesizing a promotion has an order, whereas non-

hierarchical models assume no order in mental processing. For example, in a hierarchical model,

brand awareness may be necessary before another sponsorship response can occur; whereas, in a

non-hierarchical model brand awareness and another sponsorship response may be separate

entities occurring simultaneously. In either process, it is assumed that various components of

mental processing correspond with one or more of the desired goals of sponsorships (e.g.,

increase public awareness, build goodwill, meet sales objectives, alter/reinforce public

perception, etc.; Mullen et al., 2000). Thus, understanding the process of sponsorships would

lead to uncovering consumers' response to sponsorships and overall sponsorship effectiveness.

The AIDA model (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) was the original hierarchical

model, developed in 1898 by E. St. Elmo Lewis (Vakratsas & Ambler, 1999). This model

assumes a consumer's awareness of a product leads to interest in the product, then a desire to

want or need the product. Finally, the consumer acts on that need or want and purchases the

product. The role of advertising and marketing in this process would be to increase consumer's

awareness, interest, and desire to prompt a purchase. Some sponsorships or advertising are aimed

specifically at raising awareness of the product or brand, while other types are meant to establish

a feeling of interest or creating a need (Gwinner, 1997).

Lavidge and Steiner's Hierarchy of Effects Model (1961) examined the consumers'

response to advertising via a hierarchy of seven steps. Similar to the AIDA theory, this process

begins with the consumer being unaware of the product and ends with the consumer purchasing

the product. The steps are defined through four domains. Cognition is the first domain,

characterized by the thinking stages, such as awareness and knowledge. Affect is the next

domain, defined with attitude and feelings. The conation domain is a motivational state and is

related to the level of desire for consumption action, specifically intent to purchase. The final

domain is the behavioral outcome, or actual purchase and consumption of the product. For

example, if a corporation's goal for sponsoring a sporting event is to create brand awareness, it

would be accomplished when a cognitive response by the consumer is established.

Similar to advertising theories, many sponsorship-based theories are hierarchical.

Madrigal (2001) proposed a Belief, Attitude, Intentions model to explain the effect of a sport

sponsorship. Although this model has yet to be fully tested, Madrigal (2001) proposed that a

consumer's belief about a product influences his or her attitude toward the product. Positive

attitudes would more likely lead to purchase intention of the product. Similar to the AIDA

model, Crompton (2004) proposed a product adoption process, which suggests potential

consumers move from awareness, to interest, to intent to purchase, prior to actually purchasing

the product. Each of these hierarchical models considered one or more of Lavidge and Steiner's

domains (cognitive, affective, conative, and behavioral) and assumed that there is a transition

from one stage to the next. These hierarchical models have rarely been tested in the sport


Non-hierarchical models also suggest at least one or more of the four domains (cognitive,

affective, conative, and behavioral) are influenced by the promotions. Vakratsas and Ambler

(1999) pointed out that advertising research should consider assessing the various domains;

however, they suggest identifying them as separate entities. The majority of sport sponsorship

effectiveness studies assess sponsorship through one or more of the domains, yet all three

domains are seldom assessed in one study. Cognition has most often been researched as a

primary measure of sport sponsorship effectiveness (e.g., Bennett, Henson, & Zhang, 2002;

Cianfrone & Zhang, 2006; Cuneen & Hannan, 1993; Pitts, 1998; Pope & Voges, 1997; Stotlar,

1993; Stotlar & Johnson, 1989). However, typically sponsors' goals are not limited to only

awareness; thus, a few recent studies have assessed sponsorship effectiveness through other

domains (affect and conation; Cianfrone, 2006; Levin et al., 2001; Quester & Farrelly, 1998).

Recently, Koo, Quarterman, and Flynn (2006) assessed the relationship among cognitive,

affective, and conative domains of sponsorship effectiveness. They used corporate image,

consumers' recognition of sponsors, and attitude toward sponsoring brands to explain purchase

intentions of sponsoring products. Cognition was measured as recognition and found to have a

significant effect (at the .05 level) on purchase intention. Affect was measured as brand attitude

and also found to have a significant effect on purchase intention at the .05 level. These findings

further suggest that sponsorship effectiveness should be studied with the cognitive and affective

domains predicting the conative domain.

Recognition of a sponsorship then influences the consumer's attitudes toward the brand,

and in turn the potential purchase of the brand. Awareness is usually deemed the first step in

promotional studies (Lavidge & Steiner, 1961) and followed by attitude and behavioral intention

(MacKenzie, Lutz, & Belch, 1986; Batra & Ray, 1986; MacKenzie & Spreng, 1992). The actual

consumption behavior is known as a direct measure. This is often difficult to study because to

accurately assess the effect of a promotion, the reasoning behind the consumer's purchase would

have to be measured at the point of purchase (Sandage, 1983). Therefore, many researchers focus

on the first three stages prior to consumption, in hopes of predicting and understanding future

purchase patterns. This study will also exam the three stages of cognition, affect, and conation to

determine effects of SVG sponsorships.

Cognitive response Brand awareness

A consumer's awareness of a brand or product represents the cognition stage and is

generally the first step in hierarchical sponsorship models and an underlying goal for sponsoring

corporations. Brand awareness studies often adopt recall and recognition measures to assess

sport spectators' awareness levels (e.g., Bennett et al., 2002; Cuneen & Hannan, 1993; Pope &

Voges, 1997; Pitts, 1998; Stotlar, 1993; Stotlar & Johnson, 1989). Recall and recognition are

intermediate measures (Sandage, 1983), which examine consumer's initial response to

sponsorship (Cuneen & Hannan, 1993; Stotlar, 1989). Recall measures assess the consumer's

ability to name a sponsor without any hints. This is also known as top of mind recognition.

Recognition measures assess the cognitive ability to identify the correct sponsor within a group

of potential sponsors or within a set of cues. Recognition scores are often higher than recall

scores in sponsorship studies because the participants are given the brand to select. Wells (2000)

suggests recognition measures show interest in the promotion, whereas recall measures

determine the memory of the brand name. Because of the distinction between the two measures,

they are often both used in sponsorship studies.

As mentioned previously, sponsorships can be fulfilled in many forms of association with

an event or televised program. Logos displayed as signage (e.g., on-field/court, stadium, virtual

or permanent) and naming rights in televised broadcasts are examples of sponsorship. The

effectiveness of event or venue signage in terms of generating brand awareness has been studied

for a wide range of live sporting events, such as the Olympics (Stotlar & Johnson, 1989), LPGA

events (Cuneen & Hannan, 1993), and the Gay Games (Pitts, 1998). Each of these studies found

sponsorship led to spectators' awareness of event sponsors, depending on the type of

sponsorship. Stotlar and Johnson (1989) found The Olympic Program (TOP) sponsors were

recognized approximately 23.32% of the time; however, some TOP sponsors were recognized by

as much as 64.99% of the time. Cuneen and Hannan (1993) determined LPGA spectators'

recognition of event sponsors depended on sponsorship location. In an event that featured 29

different sponsors, recognition scores ranged from 58% to 80% for the top three recognized

sponsors to less than 10% for six other sponsors. Finally, Gay Games IV attendees correctly

identified event sponsors 57.8% to 83.3% of the time (Pitts, 1998). It is apparent that sporting

event sponsorship has varying results for creating awareness.

Spectators have also been assessed for their awareness of sponsors during televised

events (Cianfrone & Zhang, 2006; d'Ydewalle et al., 1988; Pope & Voges, 1997; Lardinoit &

Derbaix, 2001; Levin et al., 2001). d'Ydewalle et al. (1988) found that signage during soccer

games resulted in less than 5% recognition by the television audience. Pope and Voges (1997)

found rugby sponsorships fulfilled through signs on the field of play and perimeter signage, as

well as telecast sponsorships, to be most recalled sponsorships by viewers of a televised match.

Lardinoit and Derbaix (2001) examined television sponsorship, field sponsorship, and a

combination of the two using three televised sport segments. Television sponsorship was found

to be more recalled than field sponsorship. Levin et al. (2001) studied NASCAR on-car

sponsorships and television commercials. They found a combination of on-car sponsorships and

commercials would be most beneficial in creating awareness. Cianfrone and Zhang (2006)

compared various sponsorships of a televised action sports event. This experimental study

revealed television commercials were most effective in creating awareness (82% recognition),

followed by a combination of commercial and signage (56%), athlete endorsements (30%), and

course/venue signage (26%). Overall, these awareness studies showed that depending on the type

of sponsorship or location, brand awareness can be created for the television audience.

While traditional sponsorship (such as onsite venue signage or television sponsorship)

has been shown to increase awareness of both the television audience and/or live spectators,

technology has encouraged newer forms of sponsorship mediums such as virtual advertising and

video game sponsorships. Both of these sponsorship outlets have only begun to be examined.

Virtual advertising is fulfilled by digitally imposing logos in televised sports. Cianfrone et al.

(2006) showed that virtual advertising created moderate levels of awareness, depending on the

logo location.

Research shows consumer awareness of video and computer game advertisements or

sponsorships is also a promising promotional outlet. Nelson (2002) conducted an experimental

study to determine consumers' awareness of and attitudes towards local and national brand

advertisements in computer and console video games. Recognition of sponsors was examined via

a longitudinal study with 13 console gamers. The console gamers played a car racing game and

were surveyed on recall and recognition. The results of the experiments revealed that

advertisements were somewhat recalled and recognized initially. A follow-up survey five months

later resulted in high levels of decay. The attitude-toward-advertising experiment tested 10

computer gamers on the same race car game. Attitude toward the advertising was generally

favorable. In this study, the gamers' playing habits were not taken into consideration and the

racing game was not a SVG; yet, it provided a foundation for the SVG sponsorship studies.

Recently, Cianfrone (2006) examined SVG sponsorship effects on gamers' awareness,

affect, and purchase intentions. This study was performed as an experimental design comparing

unaided recall, aided recall, and recognition rates of sport video gamers playing EA Sports'

NCAA Football games. Gamers who were just exposed to the sponsorships showed about 40%

recognition rates. Similarly noteworthy, the gamers who were not exposed to the sponsorships

still had relatively high levels of recognition rates, indicating they were so accustomed to playing

the SVG with sponsorships that they did not recognize that they were not present. SVG

sponsorships are a new area of sponsorship and its affect on consumer's cognition needs more

study. While one type of sport video game awareness has been shown to be favorable in one

study, its ability to predict or influence brand attitude remains to be determined.

Affective response Attitude toward a brand

Another goal of sponsorships is to create a positive affective association between the brand

and consumer. Consumer's attitude toward a brand is often a measure of sponsorship

effectiveness because it is useful in predicting future consumption (Mitchell & Olson, 1981).

Attitude can be defined as "a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular

entity with some degree of favor or disfavor" (Eagly & Chaiken, 1993, p. 1); while attitude

toward a brand can be defined as "an individual's internal evaluation of a brand" (Mitchell &

Olson, 1981, p. 318). Consumers' attitudes towards a sponsoring brand represent the affective

stage of Lavidge and Steiner's (1961) Hierarchy of Effects model. The hierarchy suggests that as

a consumer becomes aware of a sponsor, he or she would create or transfer favorable or

unfavorable attitudes toward the sponsoring brand. While this transfer of feelings does not

always require real cognitive elaboration or conscious awareness of the sponsorship, awareness

is likely beneficial to the transfer (Precejus, 2004). Crompton (2004) suggests that a change in

consumer attitude toward a sponsored brand is more meaningful in predicting or creating sales

than pure awareness. Thus, many brand-attitude studies are linked with purchase intention

measures (e.g., Levin et al., 2001; MacKenzie et al., 1986; Quester & Farrelly, 1998).

The ability of sponsorships to influence a consumer's attitude about a brand is often

derived from the association between the sponsorship and the event (or in the current study, the

video game) being sponsored. The change in a consumer's attitude toward a sponsoring brand

can be a result of sheer exposure (Zajonc, 1968), image enhancement (Crompton, 2004), or

image transfer (Gwinner, 1997; Gwinner & Eaton, 1999). Gwinner's (1997) Image Transfer

effect model explains that an event's image influences the perceived image of the sponsoring

brand. If a SVG sponsorship works like an event sponsorship, it may change consumers'

perspectives or attitudes toward a brand. Corporate sponsors aim to establish a goodwill factor,

where consumers' have positive attitudes toward a sponsor because the company supports a

game the consumers enjoy (Meenaghan, 200 b). The goodwill factor can be defined as

consumer's discernment of sponsorship characteristics, such as perceived benefit of sponsorship

and subtle message. The sponsors' association with an event that the consumer likes or enjoys

would then produce positive feelings towards the companies that support/sponsor the event

(Meenaghan, 200 b).

Largely, the effect of sponsorships in SVGs on consumers' brand attitude is unknown.

Nelson (2002) studied consumers' attitudes toward video game advertising, but not specifically

on SVGs. The study did not examine the consumer's attitudes toward the advertised brands;

instead, it studied attitude towards the advertising in general. While researchers have shown that

attitude toward advertising impacts attitude toward the brand (Lutz, MacKenzie, & Belch, 1983;

Mitchell & Olson, 1981), Nelson did not isolate the attitude toward the sponsors. The study

found that gamers were not negatively affected by the addition of advertisements in video games,

provided the ads did not interrupt or change the way the game was played. This suggests that the

goodwill factor of video game advertisements or sponsorships is positive. However, the only

research thus far on sport video gamers' attitudes towards sponsoring brands found the

sponsorships were insignificant in creating positive consumer attitudes (Cianfrone, 2006).

Apparently, the sponsorship effect on brand attitude for SVG sponsorships should be further


Conative response Purchase intention.

Following brand awareness and attitude, intention to purchase is a higher stage for a

consumer's sponsorship response prior to actual purchase. Intention to purchase represents the

conative range (intention to act) in Lavidge and Steiner's (1961) hierarchy model. Intentions can

be defined as "the person's motivation in the sense of his or her conscious plan to exert effort or

carry out a behavior" (Eagly & Chaiken, 1993, p. 168). Purchase intentions provide a useful

indication of the impact of sponsorship on future sales (Crompton, 2004).

Purchase intention is often examined with relation to consumer's involvement (Madrigal,

2000; Pitts, 1998; 2004). Oliver (1999) defined conative loyalty as the behavioral intention to

purchase a brand or product. This loyalty yields a strong conviction to purchase the brand or

product (Oliver, 1997). In sport, the commitment to a product or brand can be based on the

commitment to the team or sport (Madrigal, 2000; Pitts, 1998, 2004). For example, the Gay

Games attendees have very strong purchase intentions (92.3%) for a sponsor's products (Pitts,

1998). Similarly, NASCAR fans have often proven to be very loyal consumers to team sponsors

(Madrigal, 2000). In an examination of SVG sponsorships, Cianfrone (2006) did not find that

sponsorships influenced gamers' intention to purchase sponsoring brands. However, this is the

only study that examined SVG sponsorship and warrants further study.

Sport Video Game Consumption

Consumer behavior can be defined as "the dynamic interaction of affect and cognition,

behavior, and the environment by which human beings conduct the exchange aspects of their

lives" (American Marketing Association, 2006). A major focus of consumer behavior research is

explaining people's use of products or services. Consumption, and ultimately repeat

consumption fostered by loyalty to a brand or product, is the eventual goal of corporations.

Marketing efforts are aimed to create and foster the consumption through the varying levels of

the consumption domains (cognition, affect, conation, and behavioral).

Sporting events are consumed as both a service and product. Event attendance is often

considered the highest form of consumption by a spectator (Mullin et al., 2000; Stotlar, 1989).

For those who cannot attend a live event, following the sport via media broadcasts is considered

another form of sport consumption. Media broadcasts through television, radio, or Internet are a

popular way to consume sports. The broadcasts serve as a marketing tool for sport

leagues/organizations. As people watch more sporting events, they gather information and foster

interest in the sport or athletes (Coakley, 2004; Greendorfer, 1981; Lever & Wheeler, 1984;

Wilson, 1994; Zhang, Pease, & Smith, 1998).

SVGs are an extension of the sport industry and a subsequent media form. Similar to

other media forms, consumption of SVGs concerns many industry stakeholders. Video game

publishers are focused on increasing the sales of SVGs to increase their profits. Sport

organizations, such as the NFL or NCAA, benefit from gamers' consumption because it exposes

their sport brand and generates interest in their organization, teams, players, and coaches.

Likewise, the licensing revenue sport organizations receive from granting usage of their names

and logos is lucrative and reaps from increased consumption. The SVG corporate sponsors are

concerned with the frequency of game play after it is purchased to ensure repeated exposure to

their advertisement/brand.

In traditional sport marketing literature, an individual's sport consumption is often

measured with attendance (at an individual game, over a season, and/or future attendance

intentions) or media usage (amount of time spent following the sport on television, Internet,

radio, etc). These measures of consumption are also defined as behavioral involvement with the

sport or team. Behavioral involvement in sport and recreation studies is often influenced by

amount of time spent, frequency of participation, skill level, equipment owned, and experience

(Donnelly, Vaske, & Graefe, 1986; Kim, Scott, & Crompton, 1997; Schreyer & Beaulieu, 1986).

Similarly, an individual's SVG consumption needs to be examined as a behavioral involvement

construct. As an interactive media source, SVG consumption can be measured by purchasing or

ownership of a video game, frequency of game play, or duration of game play. In assessing sport

video gamers involvement, Cianfrone (2006) examined SVG consumption through frequency of

play (hours per week) and ownership.

Industry sales reports have indicated SVG consumption is booming. Recently, scholarly

research has confirmed the high levels of consumption. Kim et al. (2006a) found gamers spent

more than 7 hours per week playing SVGs. When studying the consumption of the NCAA

Football game series, Cianfrone (2006) found that gamers played the game on average 2.2 hours

per week. The SVG consumption patterns of 18-34 year old males are critical for SVG sponsors.

Sponsoring companies want their in-game advertisements to be seen repeatedly by as many

gamers as possible in an effort to create some sort of effect on the consumer's awareness,

attitude, or purchase intention towards the sponsoring brands.

Consumption Level and Sponsorship Effectiveness

Consumption or behavioral involvement can affect a consumer's response level to

sponsorship (Levin et al., 2001; Madrigal, 2000; Meenaghan, 2001b). Increased consumption of

a sporting event has been shown to create more exposure to the event's sponsorship, and

consumer involvement level can influence the effectiveness of sport sponsorships. Due to the

impact of consumption levels on sponsorship response, it is often a controlled variable, allowing

isolation of the sponsorship effects (Cianfrone & Zhang, 2006; Levin et al., 2001). While it is

often assumed that increase in consumption will lead to increase in sponsorship effectiveness,

this may not always be true. This has rarely been assessed in sport sponsorship literature and

never for an electronic medium such as SVGs. This concept in relation to SVGs is further

depicted in Figure 2-1. Due to the assumed sponsorship hierarchy, attitude toward and intent to

purchase sponsorships are influenced by awareness. Consequently, if awareness is influenced by

consumption, it will also affect attitude and intent.

Repeated exposure

Assuming that a hierarchical effect model exists, with awareness leading to feelings to

intent to consume, the influence of SVG consumption on sponsorship response needs to be

assessed beginning with awareness. It is assumed that increased game consumption (behavioral

involvement) will produce increased exposure to the sponsorships. For example, the more

someone attends a baseball team's games, the more they will be exposed to the baseball stadium

signage or team sponsors. Similarly, the more often someone plays a SVG, the more often they

are exposed to the sponsorships. Repeated exposure of a promotion is often assumed to increase

consumer's awareness of the brand (Harrison, 1977; Sawyer, 1981; Zajonc, 1968), although

some research dismisses this point (Calder & Sternthal, 1980). Regardless of the sponsorship

goal, corporations often seek to measure the impact and effectiveness of the sponsorship. One

way of doing this is through seeking the number of impressions the sponsorships have during a

live or televised event (Pitts & Stotlar, 1996). "Impression time is the length of time an ad or

message is displayed within the consumer's line of vision" (Pitts & Stotlar, 1996, p. 216). It is

generally assumed that the more often a consumer is exposed to a sponsorship (i.e., the higher

number of impressions), the more effective it will eventually be in eliciting some consumer

response. Since creating or enhancing brand awareness is often a goal of sport sponsors, many

corporations are searching for ways to increase awareness to create a competitive advantage

(Gwinner, 1997).

However, the benefits of repeated exposure are rarely determined in sponsorship studies.

Advertising is replete with studies that assess the effect of mere exposure on consumers'

response to advertising (Sawyer, 1981). The mere exposure effect suggests exposure to

advertising increases consumer's awareness and attitude toward the advertised brand (Harrison,

1977; Sawyer, 1981; Zajonc, 1968). Conversely, the advertising wearout literature explains there

is a point of "over-learning" in which the repetition generates a negative consumer response.

This relationship between advertising repetition and effect is depicted by an inverted-U shape

(Calder & Sternthal, 1980). The effect of advertisement repetition has been studied numerously

on brand attitude (Gorn & Goldberg, 1980; Naples, 1979; Ray, Sawyer, & Strong, 1971; Winter,

1973). Repetition has also been shown to be detrimental to consumer's awareness, attitude, and

intention. Sponsorship studies utilizing this theory are limited although they do measure

involvement to influence sponsorship effectiveness.


Similar to exposure, some researchers have examined involvement and sponsorship.

Involvement can be defined as a behavioral construct, with varying operationalizations such as

repeat attendance or a cognitive construct, such as interest in a sport. This involvement level may

lead to higher repetition of exposure to the sponsorship.

Some researchers have determined that highly involved consumers are affected the most

by sport sponsorships, in terms of awareness levels and change in attitude and image (Lascu et

al., 1995; Levin et al., 2001; Madrigal, 2000; Meenaghan, 2001b). Yet, sporting events are often

cluttered with sponsors, so distinguishing event sponsors versus ambush sponsors is sometimes

problematic. Pham (1992) found involvement had a curvilinear (inverted-U) effect on

sponsorship recognition. Similar to the inverted-U advertising results, the curvilinear sponsorship

effect indicates that the highly involved fans did not necessarily recognize the most sponsors and

that moderate ranged fans were the most influenced. The influence of involvement and/or

repetition clearly affects sport sponsorships, however, the degree to which it does impact a

consumer continues to be an area of study.

For interactive media, such as SVGs, the effect of increased playing time (game

consumption) and, thus, sponsorship exposure has yet to be determined. SVG sponsorships are

unique because of the interaction of the gamer. Gamers are the ones being influenced by the

sponsors, whereas in traditional sports the athletes are not the target of the on field or venue

signage. The SVG interaction and sensory immersion (Vorderer, 2000) creates an environment

where gamers are stimulated to think and be more creative (Nelson, Keum, & Yaros, 2004). This

interactive medium is unlike any sport event and may lend itself to more receptive sponsorships.

It has yet to be determined if the SVG sponsorships have the same effect as previous

traditional sport sponsors, where more consumption would lead to more exposure, and in turn

more brand awareness. On the other hand, increased exposure (via increased consumption) could

potentially negatively affect the sponsorship effects, if SVG sponsorship response follows the

inverted-U assumption. In assessing SVG sponsorship effectiveness and controlling for SVG

consumption levels, Cianfrone (2006) found SVG consumption was significant in influencing

sponsorship awareness. However, the effectiveness of sponsorships, in terms of affect and

conation, was not influenced. Possibly, more exposure to the sponsorships could lead to less

effectiveness in terms of attitude and purchase intention due to a few potential factors. If gamers

are playing often, they may be annoyed by the brands and have unfavorable attitudes toward the

advertising, and therefore unfavorable attitudes towards the brands. They also may be so

accustomed to playing the specific game that they do not notice the sponsorships. These

speculations need to be further examined.

Motivation and Motivation Theories

Motivation can refer to "an activated state within a person-consisting of drive urges,

wishes, and desires-that leads to goal-directed behavior" (Mowen & Minor, 1998, p. 160). A

person's motivation is important in predicting behavior, thus is often examined in consumer

behavior literature. When a person's motivation to consume a product (goal-directed behavior)

can be identified, marketers can implement various tactics to optimize this motivation.

Motivation theory is a complex area that has been studied, analyzed, defined, and adapted

in nearly every academic domain, including, but not limited to, philosophy, psychology,

management, consumer behavior, and sport marketing. The desire for researchers to understand

the psychological reasons for behavioral actions is the crux of the literature. While the literature

on motivation theory is extensive and diverse, much consumer research originated from need

based theories, primarily Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, or goal based theories, including the

mean-end chains theory, social identity theory, behavioral decision theory, and attitude theory.

Maslow's (1943) Hierarchy of Needs Theory is a foundational piece for motivation

literature. The Hierarchy of Needs Theory details five levels of human needs: biological and

physiological (air, food, drink, shelter, etc.), safety (security, order, law, etc.), belongingness and

love (work group, family, affection, etc.), esteem (self-esteem, independence, status, etc.), and

self-actualization (self-fulfillment, realizing potential, seeking personal growth, etc.). The theory

suggests that the levels must be realized in a hierarchical sequence; hence, an individual's

motives to obtain each need are driven by order. It assumes a person would behave a certain way

(e.g., purchase a product) to satisfy one or more of the needs that is most important to them at the

time. The idea that human motivation is based on need has been a core part of consumer

behavior research.

Numerous psychological theories have been developed or adopted to explain consumer

behavior, specifically consumption motivation. In addition to need-based theories such as

Maslow's theory, goal based theories, such as the means-end chain theory, social identity theory,

behavioral decision theory, and attitude theory have all been applied to analyze why people

consume. In these theories, the individual's goal of consumption is mediated by variables such as

personal values or product attributes. Two of these theories, the means-end chain theory and

social identity theory, utilize a hierarchical model, similar to Maslow's, however with goals

rather than needs.

Means-end chain theory explains the hierarchical process through which an individual

achieves goals, relying heavily on personal values and product attributes (Claeys & Abeele,

2000; Gutman, 1982). This theory has been applied to both consumer behavior and media

consumption (Howard, 1977; Kahle, Beatty, & Homer, 1986; Kamakura & Novak, 1992;

Richins, 1994). Rokeach's (1968, 1973) value system, Vinson, Scott, and Lamont's Centrality of

Beliefs model, Howard's means-end chain model, and the Grey Benefit Chain (Young & Feigin,

1975) served as the basis for Gutman's (1982) consumer behavior examination of the means-end

chain theory. This view indicated that consumer choices depend first on a person's values,

defined as "desirable end-states of existence" (Gutman, 1982, p. 60). The values create meaning

for a person's decision-making consequences. Knowing the desired consequences of a purchase,

a person selects a product based on the product's ability to achieve the desired consequence. The

individual categorizes brands or products based on their assumed consequences. Means-end

chain theory claims the product attributes may produce desired consequences leading to

achievement of values (Claeys & Abeele, 2000).

The social identity theory is characterized by people classifying themselves and others into

a social category (Tajfel, 1982; Tajfel & Turner, 1985; Turner, 1982). A social category could

include demographic classifications (e.g., race, gender) or organizational membership (e.g.,

educational, religious, or social institutions; Fink, Trail, & Anderson, 2002). A person typically

can have more than one identity, for example, a man can be a husband, father, son, employee,

sport fan, or part of a club, but acts in a way that is most salient to the group that is necessitated

by the situation. The individual utilizes these social categories to define him or herself and acts

in the identity most salient to the situation. The person's social identity fosters the consumption

of products relative to fulfilling this identity. Thus, the identity is the motivating factor which

drives an individual to behave and consume in a particular manner. Consumption choices are

made for whichever product fulfills the needs of fitting with the identity (Tajfel, 1982; Tajfel &

Turner, 1985; Turner, 1982).

According to Bettman, Luce, and Payne (1998), the behavioral decision theory is another

prominent theoretical basis used in explaining consumer choice. An individual's consumption or

choice of a product or brand relies on many factors, beginning with goals. Bettman (1979)

submitted goals have a hierarchy that is developed in the moment of decision making, just prior

to a potential purchase. From these goals, consumers utilize their personal strategies (heuristics)

to determine the best purchase decision. The complexity of the decision, the context of the

purchase, the method of elicitation, and how the choice is displayed all influence the heuristics

(Bettman et al., 1998).

Attitude theory, traced back to Fishbein (1963, 1967), states that attitude measures affect

toward an object. In consumer behavior literature, this attitude theory suggests consumption of a

product is based on the consumer's attitude about the product or brand. The attitude toward the

object is comprised of the intensity in belief about the object and the evaluation of the concept

relating to the object (Fishbein, 1967). This affective component has further been interpreted to

include expectancies regarding the object or purchase (Oliver, 1980). A person's attitudes or

feelings regarding a product are the underlying factor in purchasing the product. Attitudes are

often noted to be comprised of affective, cognitive, and behavioral parts (Zanna & Rempel,

1988), and create affective, cognitive, and behavioral responses (Eagly & Chaiken, 1993; Olson

& Zanna, 1993). Thus, attitude as a motivating factor has led marketers to try to influence a

change in personal attitude through promotions in hopes of influencing the consumer's

attitudinal responses. Advertising and sponsorships consistently try to shape a consumer's view

of a brand, in hopes of establishing a positive attitude about a brand which could lead to purchase

of the brand (Mitchell & Olson, 1981).

Huffman, Ratneshwar, and Mick (2000) reviewed these four theories and the consumer

motivation literature to establish the Hierarchical Model of Consumer Goals. The Hierarchy

Model of Consumer Goals strives to strengthen a few areas of the previous theories. The focus of

the means-ends chain theory is on cognitive aspects, but does not include affective dimensions,

such as attitude or feelings. The social identity consumption theory is not hierarchical and does

not explain how goals of consumption are developed (Huffman et al., 2000). The process of

developing goals may be beneficial to understand the reasons why and the order to which

identity salience is deemed important. Framing effects and decision making over time are viewed

as limitations to behavioral decision theory (Bettman et al., 1998). Attitude theory does not

thoroughly consider goal determination or a hierarchy of goals (Huffman et al., 2000). From

these studies, the Hierarchical Model of Consumer Goals theory is based on a hierarchy goal

levels which explain consumption. Huffman et al. (2000) identify six goal levels: life themes and

values, life projects, current concerns, consumption intentions, benefits sought, and feature

preferences. Consumers pass through a cognitive process called goal determination in which

goals are aligned and adapted. Depending on the level of hierarchy, consumer purchases are

influenced and completed.

The seminal motivation literature strongly influences the sport motivation literature.

Research on motivation is typically concerned with defining the factors that motivate someone to

do a specific behavior and then examining the relationships of the motives and behavior (Foxall

& Goldsmith, 1994). Sport motivation literature aims to understand the reasons why people

engage in sport through spectator or participation. Hence, motivation theory has been applied in

the two areas of sport: sport spectator motivation (e.g., Funk, Mahoney, & Ridinger, 2002; Milne

& McDonald, 1999; Sloan, 1989; Smith, 1988; Trail & James, 2001; Wann, 1995) and sport

participant motivation (e.g., Gill et al., 1983; Milne & McDonald, 1999; Raugh & Wall, 1987;

Youngblood & Suinn, 1980). Motives for sport spectators are usually based on social and

psychological needs (Trail & James, 2001); while motives for sport participants combine social,

psychological, and physical needs (e.g., Gill, Gross, & Huddleston, 1983; Milne & McDonald,

1999; Raugh & Wall, 1987; Youngblood & Suinn, 1980). This research suggests humans

consume sport to satisfy one or more of their needs, through the experience, either physically or

emotionally. Identifying specific motives for each of these areas, as well as how the motives

relate to the consumptive behaviors of spectators or participants, are the focal point of the sport

motivation studies.

The motivations for sport spectators and why people attend sporting events or follow

sports through media outlets is a critical area of research for sport marketers and managers.

Motivational information can be useful when developing marketing tactics aimed to increase

attendance, retain fans, and generate revenues for the organization. The motives of athletes to

participate in sports are likewise necessary for youth sport organizations, college athletics, and

the future of professional sport organizations. In turn, examining sport video gamer motives

would be beneficial for the game publishers, associated sport organizations, and sponsoring


Sport video gamers are both spectators in the very act of playing the video game and

participants actively involved in the games. Thus, to determine motives of sport video gamers it

is necessary to examine both sport spectator and sport participant motivations. In addition to

sport motivations, the Uses and Gratifications approach identifies personal needs to consume

media sources (Katz, Blumler, & Gurevitch, 1974). The motives for an individual to play a SVG

are developed from the general motivation literature, sport spectator literature, sport

participatory, and media literature. This relationship is further discussed in the next sections and

is noted in Figure 2-2.

Sport Spectator Motives

Sport spectator motivation literature is often focused on why consumers attend live

sporting events. While motivational differences have been shown between sport spectators and

sport fans (Sloan, 1989; Trail, Robinson, Dick, & Gillentine, 2003), their consumption of sport is

ultimately fulfilling some need of an individual. The sport consumption is the resulting factor of

individual psychological or social motives. Sport spectator motivation theory is often divided

into two categories-internal motives (e.g., Trail & James, 2000) and external motives (e.g.,

Zhang, Pease, Hui, & Michaud, 1995). Internal motives are categorized as interpersonal factors

or push factors (e.g., Funk, Mahony, Nakazawa, & Hirakawa, 2001; Harris, 1973; Kahle,

Kambara, & Rose, 1996; Wann, Melnick, Russell, & Pease, 2001). External motives are

categorized as pull factors or market demand factors (e.g., Braunstein, Zhang, Trail, & Gibson,

2005; Hansen & Gauthier, 1989; Zhang et al., 1995). Internal sport spectator or fan motives have

included areas such as why people attend games from a psychological standpoint, like seeking to

meet various needs, similar to general motive literature. Conversely, external motives tend to

rely on assessing the influence of outside factors, such as ticket prices, venue attributes, and team

characteristics, on a person's willingness to attend or watch a sport or event (e.g., Baade &

Tiehen, 1990; Hansen & Gauthier, 1989; Zhang et al., 1995). Since SVGs are a media outlet and

not likely influenced by market demand factors, internal sport spectator are most influential to

identifying SVG motives. In an effort to determine the internal psychological motives that are

most salient to SVG players, it is essential to review the major motivational theories and

motivational constructs that have been studied in sport consumer behavior literature.

Sloan (1989) identified five theoretical approaches to studying sport behavior and

consumption. The salubrious effects theories, stress and stimulation theories, cathartic and

aggression theories, entertainment theories, and achievement seeking theories have tried to

explain why people consume sport and, in turn, how sport affects these consumers. The theories

have been the frameworks for the sport spectator motivation literature and provide a basis for

study of SVG motivation. Based on these five theoretical frameworks, researchers have

identified numerous motives to consume sport. It is important to understand these theories and

general motivating factors prior to discussing the ones most pertinent to sport video gamers.

Salubrious effects theories

Salubrious effects theories suggest that spectators are attracted to sport for the pleasure and

physical and mental benefits (Sloan, 1989). The Recreation Theory and Diversion Theory are

two of the common salubrious effects theories adopted to explain consumption of sports. The

Recreation Theory explains that people seek to play sports to reduce fatigue or boredom (Sloan,

1989). Diversion Theory speculates that event attendees use sports as an escape or diversion

from routine life activities (Sloan, 1989). Some of the sport spectator motives that have been

defined based on salubrious effects theories include: mental well-being need, self-expressive

experience, escape, and excitement.

Mental well-being needs are defined as motivations that help people keep balance on their

life (Milne & McDonald, 1999). The mental well-being needs are comprised of the following

categories: self actualization (desire for self fulfillment), self-esteem (holding oneself in high

regard), and value development (building of loyalty, character, and altruism; Milne &

McDonald, 1999). The desire for a unique self-defining experience has been suggested as a

motive called self-expressive experience (Kahle et al., 1996). This motivating factor has not been

utilized much in sport.

The escape motivation factor identifies viewing sports as a way to relieve the boredom or

fatigue associated with everyday life (Sloan, 1989; Wann, 1995). It was shown to be a

motivating factor for spectatorship (Shamir & Ruskin, 1984), identification (Wann, 1995; Wann

et al., 1999; Trail & James, 2001), and fan behavior (Trail & James, 2001). This may also be

defined as Diversion. SVGs may provide a diversion or escape from reality. Some sport

consumers follow sports due to the excitement of the games or events (Funk et al., 2001; Funk et

al., 2002). It has been shown that larger events (e.g., Olympics) have greater levels of excitement

than a midseason baseball game (Sloan, 1989).

Stress and stimulation seeking theories

These theories propose that sport provides both eustress and arousal for people. Those

individuals who need to achieve positive and socially acceptable stress in their lives can turn to

sports (Elias & Dunning, 1970; Klausner, 1968; Prisuta, 1979; Sloan, 1989; Wann, 1995). The

spectator's involvement with a crowd provides an avenue to release this stress and arousal.

Sports are inherently dramatic in nature, with opponents battling in an organized competition. A

spectator often feels tension while watching the event unfold and then releases the tension

emotionally. The desire to fulfill a need of experiencing drama or eustress are often motivating

factors for people to attend sporting events. A person's need to experience stress in a socially

acceptable way would characterize the eustress motivating factor (Elias & Dunning, 1970;

Prisuta, 1979; Sloan, 1989; Wann, 1995). The eustress motives were positively related to sport

fan involvement (Wann, 1995), fan behavior (Trail & James, 2001), sport fanship (Trail &

James, 2001), ticket purchase intention (Pan, Gabert, McGaugh, & Branvold, 1997; Trail &

James, 2001), spectatorship (Shamir & Ruskin, 1984), television viewing (Wenner & Gantz,

1989; Trail & James, 2001), and attendance (Gantz & Wenner, 1991; Trail & James, 2001).

Catharsis and aggression theories

Catharsis and aggression theories suggest spectators watch sports for the violent and

aggressive acts that are inherent to many sports. The catharsis theory, frustration-aggression

theory, and social learning theory are three types of theories which fall under this framework.

The ensuing motive from these theories is catharsis. People who are motivated by catharsis tend

to watch sports to reduce their aggression. This motive has not been examined much in sport

literature although some consider sports to raise aggression levels, while others found sport

reduces aggression levels (Sloan, 1989). Milne and McDonald (1999) define many of the

catharsis and aggression theoretical frameworks in the sport-based needs motive. The motivation

factor of sport-based needs includes risk-taking, aggression, competition, and achievement

(Milne & McDonald, 1999). Many of these motives overlap with previous factors discussed,

although Milne and McDonald define them as one single factor. Motives developed from the

catharsis and aggression theories may not be applicable to SVG consumption.

Entertainment theories

Entertainment theories suggest sports are attractive because of the pleasure, sensation,

satisfaction, and happiness that spectators receive from watching (Anderson, 1979; Branscombe

& Wann, 1991; Hansen & Gauthier, 1989; Murrell & Dietz, 1992; Schwartz, 1973; Sloan, 1989;

Wann & Branscombe, 1990, 1993; Zillmann & Paulus, 1993). Likewise, these theories imply the

skill and aesthetic appreciation of the athletes establishes sport as an art form (Sloan, 1989).

Sloan also implies sports are attractive due to their values, entertainment, aesthetics, physical

attractiveness of players, skill level, technical aspects, camaraderie, social interaction, family

interaction, wholesome environment, and role model. The associated motives were developed

based on entertainment theories. A common reason many fans watch or attend sporting events is

simply the desire to be entertained (Funk et al., 2001; Pease & Zhang, 2001; Wann, 1995).

Entertainment has been a motivating factor for identification and support level. Certainly, SVGs

are an entertainment option for the player.

The motivating factor of aesthetics can be described as the mastery exhibited by

athletes/teams during competition. The beauty and artistry exhibited in competitive sport can be

a motivating factor for people to attend sporting events (Guttman, 1996; Sloan, 1989; Wann,

1995; Zillman & Paulus, 1993). Aesthetics as a motivating factor for people to watch sports has

been shown to be a positive relationship by many scholars (Funk et al., 2002; Trail & James,

2001; Wann, 1995). Somewhat similar to aesthetics, the actual physical appearance of players

has been considered a motive for some sports. Essentially, the sex appeal of athletes draws some

people to watch sports (Duncan & Brummett, 1989; Guttman, 1996; Hofacre, 1994).

Some people are motivated to watch sports simply to appreciate the excellent physical skill

shown by the athletes (Trail & James, 2001). Game statistics and records are prevalent in sports

on all levels. According to researchers (Deighton, 1992; Duncan & Brummett, 1989; Holt, 1995)

some people are motivated to watch sports to fulfill their need to monitor and follow these

quantifiable numbers.

Many people watch sports for the social interaction that occurs as a result of the game.

People attend sporting events to socialize with friends or family. The social needs motivation

factor is comprised of social facilitation and affiliation and has been shown to influence sport

spectators (Milne & McDonald, 1999). Wanting to spend quality time with a significant other

and/or family members has shown to be a motivating factor on why people attend sporting

events. The family needs motive has proved to have a positive relationship with identification

(Trail et al., 2000; Wann, 1995). However, Trail and James (2001) found family needs as a

motive had no influence on fan behavior. Further, sports often provide a family-oriented, social

atmosphere that is viewed as wholesome. Some people would be motivated to attend events

which present a wholesome environment that a family can enjoy (Funk et al., 2002). Also,

athletes are often considered role models for young children. This has influenced some parents to

attend games with their children, so their children could be exposed or see their heroes

(Armstrong, 1999; Funk et al., 2002). This has been assessed in relation to soccer support level

(Funk et al., 2002).

Achievement seeking theories

Achievement seeking theories suggest sports are attractive because of the feelings

associated with winning, including identifying with a team, achieving through a team or sport,

and gaining knowledge. Other personal needs of achievement or prestige (Maslow, 1954;

Murray, 1938) are part of achievement seeking theories. Vicarious achievement, interest in a

team, specific player, or team, identification with winning, camaraderie, obligation, compliance,

internalization, acquisition of knowledge, economic gains, national pride, nostalgia, and need to

support women's sport are all motives that are based on achievement seeking theories. Sports

provide an outlet for many people to feel like they are a part of something special. The need to

live vicariously through something that is successful, such as a sports team, enhances people's

self-esteem. Therefore, people who are motivated by this idea are considered to be fulfilling their

vicarious achievement.

Being a fan of a specific player, sport, or team can be a motivating factor for many people.

For spectators who have a favorite player or attachment to a specific player, watching them

compete would be a motive to attend or watch an event (Mahony & Moorman, 2000). This has

been defined as a motive called personalities by some researchers (Higgs & Weiller, 1994;

Whannel, 1992). The motives of 'attachment to a specific sport' or 'a specific team' were

introduced by Nakazawa et al. (1999). The private type of identification with a specific team or

what it represents was defined as self-defining experience by Kahle et al. (1996). The attachment

to a player, specific sport, or specific team was shown to be related to interest and level of

support (Funk et al., 2001; Funk et al., 2002). Internalization defines a motivation factor where

someone has a deep personal bond with a sport or team (Kahle et al., 1996). This motive has

been studied in predicting attendance (Kahle et al., 1996).

Similar to being a fan of a player, sport, or team, camaraderie is a motivating factor where

one's social identity is derived from a reference group, such as being a fan of the team (Kahle et

al., 1996). The motivating factor of compliance suggests that people attend sporting events to

conform publicly to a reference group's norms (Kahle et al., 1996). Likewise, many people

attend a sporting event sport to maintain the relationship with a winning team (Kahle et al.,

1996). Another related motive is obligation, introduced by Kahle et al. (1996). People who have

a strong sense of belonging to the team would utilize this as a motive for them to attend sporting


Nostalgia refers to an individual's desire for something in the past. For individuals who

watch sports to fulfill some need to relive memories associated with sporting events in the past,

nostalgia is the motivation factor (Holt, 1995; Snyder, 1991). It has been shown applicable with

Spring Training baseball attendees (Braunstein et al., 2005).

The motivating factor that drives spectators to learn about the sport, team, or players

through media consumption is known as acquisition of knowledge (Gantz & Wenner, 1991; Trail

& James, 2001; Wann & Branscombe, 1995). The idea that spectators want to attend a game

because it enhances their knowledge has been found to be positively related to identification

(Wann & Branscombe, 1995; Trail & James, 2001). It has also been linked with media

consumption (Gantz & Wenner, 1991; Trail & James, 2001) and ticket purchasing (Trail &

James, 2001). Since SVGs are a media source, acquisition of knowledge may be a motivational

factor for those playing games to learn more about the sport or players.

For some individuals, the potential for economic gains through sport wagering can be a

motivating factor (Wann, 1995). The motive of betting has been examined with identification

(Wann, 1995; Wann et al., 1999; Kwon, 1999), attendance (Kwon, 1999), and media

consumption (Kwon, 1999). People who are motivated to support their's own country's team can

be said to have national pride (Funk et al., 2001. Armstrong (1999) introduced the motivation for

supporting women's events. The idea that many women or minorities are motivated to watch

women's events to show support has been shown to influence the level of support (Armstrong,

1999; Funk et al., 2002).


Sport spectator motives encompass many of the sociological needs that Maslow described

and fall under many of the theories previously explained (salubrious effects, stress and

simulation seeking, catharsis and aggression, entertainment, and achievement seeking theories).

Based on these five theoretical frameworks, researchers have identified numerous motives to

consume sport. Likewise, some of these proposed motives to consume vary based on sport type

(e.g., men's sports versus women's sports), level (e.g., collegiate versus professional), and type

of consumer (fan versus spectator). Nonetheless, there are often strong commonalities between

the numerous sport motivation studies. The motivating factors have been defined, developed, and

tested via a variety of scales to determine the relationship with spectator/fan behavior. Some of

the major sport motivation scales are Wann's (1995) Sport Fan Motivation Scale, Trail and

James' (2001) Motivation Scale for Sport Consumption, Milne and McDonald's (1999) Sport

Spectator Motive Scale, Funk et al.'s (2001) Sport Interest Inventory, and Pease and Zhang's

(2001) Spectator Motivation Scale. Recently, James, Trail, Wann, Funk, and Zhang (2006)

determined the scales overlapped on some factors and items, yet also differed on others. This

indicates that sport spectator motives are refined and researchers are closer to explaining why

people consume sport. Since SVGs are an extension of the sport industry, it is likely that many of

the same reasons that draw people to watch sports also motivate them to play SVGs. The

individuals who seek to fulfill needs, such as competition and social interaction, may turn to


Sport Participant Motives

An individual's motives to participate in a sporting event or competition are often the same

as the motives to be a sport spectator (Sloan, 1989; Trail & James, 2001; Milne & McDonald,

1999; Zillmann, Bryan, & Sapolsky, 1989). Competition (McKee, Mahoney, & Kremer, 1994;

Youngblood & Suinn, 1980), Affiliation (McKee et al., 1994), Diversion, Stress Release, Social,

Mental Well Being Needs, and Interest have all been defined as motivating factors for both sport

participation and sport spectatorship. Like watching a sporting event, participating in a sport

fulfills a person's need for competition, affiliation with a team or other athletes, an escape from

reality, an outlet for stress release, a social environment, a way to relax a person's mind, and

fulfills an interest in a sport. However, despite many similarities, there are a few inherent

differences between participating in a sport and watching a sport, thus creating a few different

motives. Some researchers, such as Milne and McDonald (1999), established motivational

constructs for both participants and spectators, with many overlapping motives. Milne and

McDonald's participatory motives included all of the same broad factors (Sport-Based, Social,

Mental Well Being), but added Fitness and Skill Development. The motives that differ from

spectator motives indicate the major difference between watching and playing a sport-the

component of physical fitness.

Physical activity related motives have been labeled terms such as Fitness, Energy Release

(Raugh & Wall, 1987), or even some combination of the mental and physical motives-Psycho-

Physiological Health (McKee et al., 1994). These motives suggest people participate in athletics

to fulfill the need to be physically active. Likewise, the motivating factor of Skill Development

for an athlete is different operationally than Skill Development for a sport spectator (Gill et al.,

1983; Milne & McDonald, 1999; Youngblood & Suinn, 1980). Participating in a sport allows for

physical growth and development of technical athletic skills, such as improved throwing or

catching. The motive for participants to play a sport would be to improve upon such skills.

As a sedentary activity, playing SVGs will likely not utilize the physical fitness motive, yet

skill mastery may be considered a motivating factor and physical arousal levels can be debatable.

It is evident that many of the spectator or participant motives may not be applicable to SVGs,

based on the unique technological medium of game playing, but some motives may be important.

Motivation Theory in Media

The motivating factors that cause and channel people to continually play SVGs may be

derived from the general sport consumer behavior literature to some extent; however, according

to Kim and Ross (2006a), as a media device, it is also necessary to examine media based

motivational theory. Television consumption and traditional video game consumption motives

served as the foundation to the only attempt to assess sport video gamer motives.

Televised sport motives

SVGs may be more similar to a televised sport program than attending a live sporting

event. Both are electronic mediums that rely heavily on each other in terms of stylistic view.

SVGs aim for authenticity and have a visual appearance analogous to broadcasts of televised

sports. Conversely, many televised sport program views have been physically altered in terms of

filter usage and camera angles to appear more like video games (Coakley, 2007). Quite simply,

"In the past video games wanted to look like TV. Now TV wants to look like video games",

claims Greg Lasssen, the NBA's senior director of interactive and electronic licensing (Isidore,

2003, para. 1). These visual similarities suggest the need to look at motivational factors for

people watching televised sport. Thus, an individual's motives to consume televised sport should

also be examined when studying SVG consumers.

Although somewhat limited, a review of literature has indicated the motives to watch

televised sport are essentially the same as attending an event live. Gantz (1981) identified four

motivational factors to consume televised sport: (a) to thrill in victory, (b) to let loose, (c) to

learn, and (d) to pass time. These motivational factors equate with sport spectator or

consumption motives of (a) Achievement, (b) Enjoyment, (c) Knowledge Acquisition, and (d)

Diversion. This study relied on the Uses and Gratifications paradigm (Katz et al., 1974), which is

a theory attempting to explain media based consumption. An example of the Uses and

Gratifications approach is in McQual's (1987) study to determine why people watch televised

programs. For general television programming, McQual (1987) found four different motives to

watch: (a) Information, (b) Personal Identity, (c) Entertainment, and (d) Integration/Social

Interaction. This theory may be applicable to SVG consumption, since it is a media form.

Video game motives

The Uses and Gratifications paradigm that was utilized by Gantz (1981) to assess motives

to watch televised sports can also be used to describe video gaming motives. This theory

explains the motives to consume media and interprets how media is used by consumers (Katz et

al., 1974; Rosengren, Wenner, & Palmgreen, 1985; Rubin, 1994). The media consumers, or

audience, are considered active and their consumption of media is considered a goal oriented

process. The idea that people consume media for various reasons, similar to a product, to fulfill

some need, is the basis for the Uses and Gratifications Approach. Historically, this theory

applied to traditional media such as magazines, television, and radio; however, the approach has

been modified to recent technologies, such as the Internet and video games.

Selnow (1984) provided one of the first studies on video games and Uses and

Gratifications. This study examined 244 gamers, aged 10-24 years old, about their usage of

arcade games. At the time, home console gaming systems were not as prevalent. An EFA

revealed five video arcade game play factors: (a) game play is preferable to human companions,

(b) game play teaches about people, (c) game play provides companionship, (d) game play

provides activity/action, and (e) game play provides solitude/escape. These factors are notable

due to the socialization and psychological needs desired by the gamers. These factors were also

found to be significantly correlated with amount of game play.

Griffiths (1991) also studied adolescent arcade game players. Through observational

research, Griffiths identified many different motives of arcade game play, and termed seven

broad motivational categories: Fun, Choice Limitation (e.g., reasons like "they had no where else

to go"), Control (e.g., mastery of play or achievement), Social Factors (e.g., meeting new

friends), Atmosphere (e.g., arcades are relaxed and unsupervised by adults), Escapism (e.g.,

"take your mind off of things"), and Winning Money (e.g., the results of the bets which took

place in the arcades).

The first study specifically on home console game use was by Philips, Rolls, Rouse, and

Griffiths (1995). The video game playing habits of 868 11-16 year olds were assessed through a

questionnaire. The general survey found four motives were most popular: "just for enjoyment

sake" (72.8% of respondents), "to pass the time" (36%), "to cheer oneself up" (12.2%), "to avoid

doing other things" (12.1%) and "other reasons" (9%). This study did not determine a

theoretical framework for examining the motives, but conducted an exploratory study to find

general video game consumption habits.

Sherry, Lucas, Greenberg, and Lachlan (in press) studied video game motives with the

Uses and Gratifications theory. The purpose of the study was to identify a set of uses and

gratifications traits and determine their predictability of game consumption (usage). Sherry et al.

(in press) used a research design that was based on Greenberg's (1974) study of determining

theoretical traits for television use. Following this framework, Sherry et al. (in press) conducted

focus groups with 96 young adults to identify their reasons for playing console video games. Six

motivation factors for video game play were found: Competition (to prove gaming skills),

Challenge (to push to a higher level of skill), Social Interaction (to play with others), Diversion

(to avoid stress), Fantasy (to do things that cannot normally be done), and Arousal (to stimulate

of emotions). Next, a scale was developed based on these six factors and a factor analysis

determined 27 items were usable. Finally, they used the scale to find the levels of uses and

gratifications traits and their relationship with video game consumption, among college, eleventh

grade, eight grade, and fifth grade students. Diversion, social interaction, and arousal were

significant predictors of game consumption. The motives examined in these studies are all

similar to the previous sport and participant motives, except for the idea of fantasy. These traits

explained 28% of the variance in game play (Sherry et al., in press).

Sport Video Game Motives

Kim and Ross (2006a) were the first to identify motives and develop a measurement scale

for SVG players. They proposed analyzing sport video gamer motives with the Uses and

Gratifications Approach (Katz et al., 1974). A two step research design was implemented. First,

a focus group identified possible reasons for play, followed by an exploratory factor analysis

(EFA) on survey data from 207 undergraduate students, and finally a review of those factors by a

panel of experts. Next the Sport Video Game Motivation Scale (SVGMS) was developed and a

confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted on 214 respondents' data to validate the scale.

Through this approach, they identified seven factors of motivation for gamers to play SVGs:

Social Interaction, Fantasy, Competition, Entertainment, Pastime, Knowledge Application, and

Interest in Sport. Knowledge Application and Interest in Sport were two factors that had not been

used in previous video game motivation research. Each SVG motive was introduced as sport

spectator or participant motives in the previous sections of this paper, except Fantasy and

Knowledge Application.

Social Interaction

According to Kim and Ross (2006a), social interaction refers to the "desire for

individuals to be with others while playing the games". A typical image of SVG players is a

group of college students sitting in a dorm room playing and watching the game in a social

atmosphere. The social interaction that occurs when playing against someone, either in person or

online, is often a motivating factor for people to play SVGs.


The ability for a gamer to control the nature of SVGs necessitates the fantasy motive.

SVGs allow a gamer to fulfill a different role (alter ego), such as acting as a coach or player of

his or her favorite team, in a virtual medium. This fanatical management is a motivating factor

for many gamers and differentiates playing a video game from watching sports. People who

enjoy controlling the destiny of their team or player would be drawn to play sport video games

and fulfill their fantasy need.

Knowledge Application

It has been shown sport video gamers are sport fans (Coakley, 2004; Kim et al., 2006), so

their consumption of sporting events is often high. The knowledge accrued through watching live

or televised sports and consuming other forms of sport media can be applied when playing a

SVG. Sport knowledge, such as awareness and understanding of various sport strategies, athlete

skills, and team selection, would be beneficial in succeeding in SVGs. Likewise, repetitive play

would provide gamers with an opportunity to apply any learned knowledge specifically about the



Some gamers are motivated to play a SVG because of their desire for competition.

Competition can be created by playing against another player or even alone. Games have one

player modes, where individual based goals or records can be tested and succeeding to the next

level of play is an underlying goal. Repetitive game play typically increases a gamer's skills and

proficiency, so playing against someone or breaking one's own records can be a motivation.

Interest in Sport

Most gamers tend to play SVGs that mimic the sports they consume in real life. For

example, Cianfrone (2006) found NCAA Football video gamers had high identification and

consumption levels with football on a whole. The motive of Interest with Sport "reflects a desire

for the vicarious participation and experience associated with a favorite sport" (Kim & Ross,



SVGs are an entertainment media source; therefore, gamers often simply desire to play

games for their enjoyment. This motivating factor falls under the entertainment theories, which

describes the pleasure of the game as the desired outcome of playing.


According to Kim and Ross (2006a), the motivation of 'pastime/diversion' refers to

avoiding stress and relieving boredom. Previous researchers utilized motivations similar to this,

but defined them as avoidance of stress (eustress) or escape. The Diversion factor is based on the

salubrious effects theories and the Diversion Theory.

In this study, we will incorporate Kim and Ross' seven motives as the foundation.

However, Sherry et al. utilized nine motives, seven that were used and modified by Kim and

Ross. The two remaining motives, Arousal and Challenge, will be included in this study, to

ensure full coverage of potential reasons why people consume SVGs. Finally, Team

Identification was an important factor shown by Cianfrone (2006) to influence SVG

consumption and sponsorship, so it will also be considered. The ten motives to consume SVGs

are depicted in Figure 2-3.


Arousal was defined by Sherry et al. (in press) as the motive to play to stimulate one's

emotions. Since this motive was influential in general video game play, it is necessary to

determine its influence in motivating those who play SVGs.


The motivating factor of Challenge was defined by Sherry et al. (in press) as when

gamers pushed themselves to a higher level of skill or personal accomplishments. In Sherry et

al.'s study, Challenge was deemed the strongest motivating factor with a mean score of 4.22 on a

7-point scale (in press).

Team Identification

Team identification was found to be a strong indicator of sport consumption (Fink et al.,

2002). In an analysis of consumption behaviors associated with sport video game playing, Kim et

al. (2006) studied an individual's identification with the team. They found that an individual

highly identified with a team may act differently than less identified fans, which may affect the

recall and recognition patterns of video game sponsorships. Consumers that indicate stronger

feelings towards their teams typically have higher recognition of sponsors. The sponsoring

brands in the video games are often league sponsors, and fans highly attached with the team or

league may already be aware of the sponsors. Likewise, the fans aim to be a part of the group (or

team) and may follow suit by purchasing associated brands. Madrigal (2000) also found

identification to be a determinant of purchase intention of sponsored brands. According to

Oliver's conative loyalty definition (1997), the more attached the fan is, the higher his or her

behavioral involvement, indicating that the relationship between a sport consumer's behavioral

involvement and fan identification is correlated. Robinson and Trail (2005) identified the need

for studying points of attachment when examining behavioral experiences of the individuals.

Motives and Consumption

The relationship between motives and consumption is often a predictive one, as

researchers aim to determine what drives people to consume. Motives as a whole construct often

are significant in explaining consumption levels. Sometimes, individual motives play a

significant role in determining consumption levels. The relationship between motives and

consumption (amount of game play) has been shown in the video game literature. Selnow (1984)

found arcade video game motives significantly explained game play. Sherry et al. (in press)

utilized the Uses and Gratifications Traits (motives) to predict hours of video game play among

college students, eleventh grade students, eighth grade students, and fifth grade students. For

college students, 28% of the variance of game play was determined, and Diversion, Social

Interaction, and Arousal were the most influential factors in explaining time played. For eleventh

and eighth grade students, 36% and 38% of the variance in game play was explained,

respectively. Finally, for fifth grade students, 28% of the variance of game play was explained.

After the development of the SVG Motivation Scale (Kim & Ross, 2006a), Kim and

Ross' (2006b) examined the relationship between motives and game play. The seven motives

accounted for 23% of the variance in game play (Kim & Ross, 2006b). Fantasy, Entertainment,

Knowledge with Sport, and Interest in Sport were the most significant factors (Kim & Ross,



SVG sponsorships are a growing marketing tool, but have only begun to be assessed

(Cianfrone, 2006). Cianfrone (2006) assessed SVG sponsorship effectiveness through the

cognitive, affective, and conative domain, controlling for identification and involvement levels.

That study found gamers were aware of game sponsors; however, did not find a difference in

attitude or intent to purchase the brands. Also, the study did not show increased consumption led

to SVG sponsorship effectiveness on the affective or conative domain; however, consumption

did influence the cognitive variables. Those results indicate that further study is needed to

examine the domains of sponsorship response and factors aside from consumption that may

influence SVG sponsorship effectiveness.

Sport video gamer motives are a recent topic of research (Kim & Ross, 2006a). Motives

in sport are typically related to consumption in terms of sport spectator motives and sport

participation motives. However, motives to play SVGs stem from sport spectator motives, sport

participation motives, and media consumption motives, since SVGs act as a sport (where gamers

watch and participate) and media entertainment source.

Previous studies have revealed that SVG motives were predictive of SVG consumption

levels (Kim & Ross, 2006b). Consumption levels were also found to be related to sponsorship

effectiveness (Cianfrone, 2006). However, these previous studies examined the relationship in a

pair of variable sets. The interrelationship among these three sets of variables has not been

examined in a structural model. Thus, findings of these preliminary studies may be partial,

biased, and with potentially high inferential errors.

To further understand the influence of motives and SVG consumption on sponsorship

effectiveness a model needs to be developed and tested. The relationship between motives,

consumption, and sponsorship discussed in the previous sections outline the basis of this

proposed theoretical model and is depicted in Figure 2-4. The model shows the relationship

between motives and sponsorship effectiveness fully mediated by SVG consumption. The ten

motives (Arousal, Challenge, Competition, Diversion, Entertainment, Fantasy, Interest in Sport,

Knowledge Application, Social Interaction, and Team Identification) will be tested to see how

influential they are in predicting SVG consumption (Figure 2-5). The next stage of the model

provides explanation of SVG consumption's effect on sponsorship response (Figure 2-1). This

would indicate which consumption levels led to the most sponsorship effectiveness. Because

SVGs are an electronic and interactive source of media entertainment, individuals who play a

SVG may have to play a specific amount of time to be affected by the sponsorships. Likewise, it

is not understood if the gamer's response to the sponsorship is positive (high recognition

measure, positive attitude, positive intent to purchase) or negative. This part of the model would

clarify the sponsorship effectiveness.

Sponsorship effectiveness is described in a hierarchical fashion, with a gamer's

awareness of the brand leading to attitude toward the brand and finally to purchase intention of

the brand (Figure 2-5). This relationship indicates that sport video gamers need to see and realize

the sponsorship prior to it having influence on their attitudes or purchase intentions.

Figure 2-1. Theoretical Relationship between Sport Video Game Consumption and Sponsorship

Figure 2-2. The Development of Sport Video Game Motivation Theory.

Figure 2-3. Sport Video Game Consumption Motivational Factors.



The method of this study is presented in the following sections: (a) Pilot Study, (b)

Participants, (c) Instruments, and (d) Data Analyses. A survey design was implemented to assess

the motives, consumption levels, and effect of sponsorships of SVG players. Participants

completed either an online survey or a paper-and-pencil survey.

Pilot Study

For the purposes of examining the reliability of the brand attitude and intent to purchase

items, a pilot study was conducted. A total of 91 participants with ages ranging from 18-34 years

old (M= 21.3, SD = 3.5) participated. A vast majority of the gamers were male (79.1%),

white/non-Hispanic (63.3%), and college students. Participants were recruited via undergraduate

and graduate sport management courses.

Descriptive statistics and alpha reliability were calculated through the SPSS 15.0

program. Participants played the video games an average of 3.8 hours per week (SD = 3.6) and

had been playing the version of the game for at least 4 months (SD = 2.1). The gamers typically

played as their favorite team (approximately 70%). The motive "I play because it is fun"

had the highest mean for the motivation items (M= 6.42; SD = 1.05).

The five brand attitude items for six sponsors (Sprint, Snickers, Coca-Cola, ESPN,

Pontiac, and Old Spice) were of Cronbach's Alpha reliability scores equal to .91, .87, .87, .75,

.90, and .89, respectively; these items were deemed acceptable to be included for the attitude

subscale (Nunnally & Bernstein, 1994). For the three brand intention items of the six sponsors

(Sprint, Snickers, Coca-Cola, ESPN, Pontiac, and Old Spice), Cronbach's Alpha reliability

scores were .72, .61, .71, .40, .69, .49, respectively. Although reliability scores for brand

intention of Old Spice and ESPN were lower than .50, they were not too far off (Baumgartner,

Jackson, Mahar, & Rowe, 2003). Considering that these two brands were sponsors of the game,

they were kept in the questionnaire for further examination during the actual investigation.


Hair, Anderson, Tatham, and Black (2002) recommend a total of 200 subjects for the

structural equation analysis. The sample size of 253 gamers was adequate. They recommend a

total of 200 subjects for the structural equation model analysis. Gamers were volunteers recruited

via collegiate physical activities classes, undergraduate and graduate sport management courses,

online SVG websites/groups (Yahoogroups.com online group; MySpace.com Madden group),

online list serves, and word of mouth (snowball sampling). The online sampling occurred from

January until March 2007. A uniform email with an informed consent letter was sent out to these

organizations/groups. A total of 281 logins were made to the online survey, but 91 were invalid

attempts (no responses). Consequently, a total of 190 valid responses were recorded through the

online data collection procedure which represented 75% of the total participants. For those

completing the paper-and-pencil questionnaire, the same informed consent letter was utilized.

For this format, a total of 63 respondents were recruited via physical activities and sport

management courses.

Descriptive statistics for personal background variables and demographics are presented

in Tables 1, 2, and 3. The average participant was a White/Non-Hispanic (53%) male, with a

mean age of 23 years old. The gamers were residents of 17 different states in the U.S.; five

gamers were Canadians. A majority (63%) of gamers were college students from 14

colleges/universities and nearly 50 academic degree programs. Those who were non-students

typically worked as a professional/manager.


To assess the model accurately, two SVGs, EA Sports' NCAA Football 2007 and Madden

NFL 07, were utilized as the medium of study. These two games were selected because they are

the top two selling sports video games at the time of the study ("Top 10", 2007). Most

importantly, a focus group of 32 sport video gamers, aged 18-24, were recruited. Based on the

information provided by the focus group, these games were played most often. Each game had a

number of in-game sponsorships, also justifying their need to be studied. NCAA Football 2007

had four sponsoring companies: Coca-Cola, Pontiac, ESPN, and Old Spice. These sponsorships

were fulfilled via six different formats. Coca-Cola sponsored three segments of the game: the

coin toss, the Offensive Production (Game) statistic, and the Players of the Game (selected at the

end of the game). Pontiac sponsored the Drive Summary, which was shown after every scoring

drive, detailing the number of plays, yardage, and time covered. ESPN sponsored the Stats and

Scores section of the game, where a player could read about their specific players and

accompanying statistics at any point during or after the game. Old Spice sponsored the Red

Zone, when a team enters the 20 yard line (Red Zone). Madden NFL 07 had two sponsoring

companies, Sprint (Scoring Drive Summary) and Snickers (Hungriest Player of the Game).

Based on a comprehensive review of literature, a survey instrument was formulated to

measure sport video gamers' motives, consumption levels, and response to sponsorship

(Appendix A). Demographic characteristics of gamers were also measured. Two questionnaire

formats, NCAA Football 2007 questionnaire with 80 questions and the Madden NFL 07

questionnaire with 69 items, were formulated with identical questions and setup, yet modified

appropriately for the different sponsorship brands in the games and motives questions relating

specifically to the game in question. Gamers were asked to choose the game that he/she normally

plays, and complete the survey with respect to that game. Participants were pre-screened with the

first question identifying if they had played at least one complete game of the specific video

game. This pre-screening ensured only sport video gamers were participants, as these consumers

are the ones sponsors and sport organizations are concerned with. One person had not played a

complete game and was not included in the data analysis. To avoid contamination of participants

who had previously participated in similar studies, 11 people were excluded from this study.

Consumption Levels

Based on previous consumption/involvement literature (Lardinoit & Derbaix, 2001;

Levin et al., 2001; Madrigal, 2000; Meenaghan, 2001b), SVG consumption was defined as

frequency of game play (Cianfrone, 2006). Because playing a sport video game is a behavioral

activity, the best measure of their consumption is simply the frequency of their playing. To

accurately measure the amount of time played in a typical week, gamers were asked an open

ended question on hours played per week. Also, to measure their playing history with the game,

gamers are asked "how long have you been playing this version of the game?" The length of play

was taken into account assuming that those who had played the game for a longer period of time

had more experience and repetition with the game, thus also have been exposed more frequently

to the sponsors.


The Sport Video Game Motivation Scale (SVGMS) developed by Kim and Ross (2006a)

was adopted to measure motives to play the specific video game. The original motivating factors

for the SVGMS were developed from a focus group, followed by an EFA on survey data from

207 undergraduate students, and a review of those factors by a panel of experts. The scale was

developed and validated through a CFA on 214 respondents' data. The SVGMS includes a total

of seven factors (Fantasy, Social Interaction, Sport Knowledge Application, Enjoyment,

Diversion, and Identification with Sport) and 20 items in a 7-point Likert scale, with responses

ranging from 'Strongly Disagree' to 'Strongly Agree'. The SVGMS scale has shown preliminary

evidence on construct validity and internal consistency. All seven motivation factors had an

alpha reliability of at least .70 (ranged from .85 to .93), as suggested by Nunnally and Bernstein

(1994). Likewise, the average variance extracted (AVE) for each of the factors ranged from .65

to .85. An AVE discriminant validity test also indicated the seven factors are unique and distinct

(Kim & Ross, 2006a).

A minor modification was made for the SVG Motivation Scale to enhance its relevance

to the present study. In an effort to ensure that each factor is measured with at least three items

(Hair et al., 2002), three questions were added for our study. The Diversion and Interest in Sport

factors each had only two items. Two items were adopted from Trail and James' (2001)

Motivation Scale for Sport Consumption to represent the Diversion factor ("