Date of Graduation

8-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education in Recreation and Sport Management (MEd)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Health, Human Performance and Recreation

Advisor

Steve Dittmore

Committee Member

Gregory Benton

Second Committee Member

Merry Moiseichik

Keywords

Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Athletes; Awareness; Charity; Media; Perception; Professional

Abstract

This study examined the perception of professional athletes in local and neutral media markets. The purpose of the study was to determine how people in Philadelphia and people in Arkansas feel toward the Philadelphia Eagles' Nnamdi Asomugha. It was expected that the study's participants in Philadelphia would feel more positively toward Asomugha and would be more aware of his off-the-field contributions. Additionally, it was expected that there would be a positive relationship between team identification level and both positive feelings toward Asomugha and awareness of his efforts away from the field. Finally, it was anticipated that participants near Philadelphia would be more likely to support the Eagles in the future because of Asomugha. The study was conducted using a questionnaire that measures team identification, awareness, positive feelings and future behavior.

The present study's findings supported each of the hypotheses. Overall, the local market participants were more aware of Asomugha's off-the-field contributions (mean=2.9756) and felt more positively toward him as a person (mean=3.6341) than the neutral market participants (means of 1.8734 and 2.4684, respectively). There were significant correlations between team identification and positive feelings toward Asomugha as a person (r=.621)and between team identification and awareness of his contributions off the field (r=.633). Additionally, there was a significant correlation between awareness and positive feelings (r=.846). The local market participants also scored higher than the neutral market participants on each of the future behavior items (means of 2.78, 2.46, 2.35 & 2.51 vs. means of 1.82, 1.47, 1.46 & 1.91).

Because these hypotheses were supported by statistical data, sports teams and leagues could use the present study to justify promoting their athletes' charitable contributions on a more national level.

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