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The downside of being irrelevant and aloof: Exploring why individuals do not attend sport


  • Lock, Daniel
  • Filo, Kevin


Understanding what influences an individual to transition from awareness that a sport team exists to attraction to that team is of critical importance in the management and development of consumer bases. Determining the factors that prevent individuals at a stage of awareness from becoming attracted is of equal importance. In this paper we use a social identity approach to explore reasons for non-attendance. Qualitative data were gathered from a mixed-method online survey administered to registered participants in a large football (soccer) association in New South Wales. The questionnaire included an open-ended question allowing individuals who had not attended a match during the previous 12 months to elaborate on the reasons that they did not attend. The seventy-five individuals who responded to this open-ended question comprise the sample for this research. Data highlighted that cognitive apathy and disidentification were both salient cognitive responses associated with individuals who did not attend. Furthermore, club values and characteristics were shown to influence team-based perceptions. The findings present implications for sport teams to overcome cognitive apathy and disidentification through organisation-initiated efforts to disseminate information and promote the team, as well as efforts to align team characteristics and values with consumer perceptions.

Suggested Citation

  • Lock, Daniel & Filo, Kevin, 2012. "The downside of being irrelevant and aloof: Exploring why individuals do not attend sport," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 187-199.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:spomar:v:15:y:2012:i:2:p:187-199
    DOI: 10.1016/j.smr.2011.08.006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Funk, Daniel C. & James, Jeff, 2001. "The Psychological Continuum Model: A Conceptual Framework for Understanding an Individual's Psychological Connection to Sport," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 119-150, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dwyer, Brendan & Mudrick, Michael & Greenhalgh, Gregory P. & LeCrom, Carrie W. & Drayer, Joris, 2015. "The tie that blinds? Developing and validating a scale to measure emotional attachment to a sport team," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 570-582.
    2. Kunkel, Thilo & Doyle, Jason P. & Funk, Daniel C., 2014. "Exploring sport brand development strategies to strengthen consumer involvement with the product – The case of the Australian A-League," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 470-483.
    3. Doyle, Jason P. & Lock, Daniel & Funk, Daniel C. & Filo, Kevin & McDonald, Heath, 2017. "‘I was there from the start’: The identity-maintenance strategies used by fans to combat the threat of losing," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 184-197.
    4. Goldsmith, Andrew L. & Walker, Matthew, 2015. "The NASCAR experience: Examining the influence of fantasy sport participation on ‘non-fans’," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 231-243.


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