Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Health, Sport and Exercise Science (PhD)

Degree Level



Health, Human Performance and Recreation


Sarah E. Stokowski

Committee Member

Stephen W. Dittmore

Second Committee Member

Anne M. Velliquette

Third Committee Member

Samantha E. Robinson


Booster Club Memberships, Faculty Perceptions, Relationship Marketing, Sport Boosters, Sport Management, Sport Marketing, Team Identity


The first article, a case study on a NCAA Division I Power Five university in the southeastern United States, employed a case study framework, explored target markets and exposure techniques through both the planned behavior theory and social identity theory theoretical lenses. This study aimed to better understand how university students and booster club members identify as a social group. The data emerged into four distinct themes, including communication, social interaction, connection, and hospitality. The findings suggested booster club members are primary fans and help the team generate fan interest. The importance of sociability was clear and the implications for target marketing and team exposure to acquire fans are discussed within. The second study utilized a transcendental phenomenological framework and focused on a Division I tennis team booster club and eight participants’ experiences of reality versus expectation regarding booster involvement. This study used the social identity theory as the theoretical lens to better understand how the booster club members identify as a social group and the relation to team identity and brand equity. Multiple themes emerged from the data, including reciprocity, investment, and connection and belonging. Each of these themes fell under both reality and expectation but were experienced differently under the two categories. The invariant essence emerged as a desire for purpose and engagement with the team and athletes. The importance of connection to team identity was clear, and implications for marketing the booster club to enhance team identity and brand equity are discussed within. The final study explored the influence of relationship marketing in college athletics on Power Five faculty members. It aimed to investigate the motivation impact of a faculty member’s team identification or relationship with college athletes in their respective class(es) on intercollegiate athletic event attendance. Results showed a significant difference in motivation scores from faculty participants, and higher levels of both faculty identification with university athletic teams and faculty perceptions of student athletes contributed to increased athletic event motivation scores.