Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Kenneth Killebrew, Ph.D.

Keywords

Television, Social identification theory, Fandom, Interpretive communities, Football

Abstract

The media play a major role in every part of American society by distributing content that has value to individuals, and a National Football League (NFL) sports fan club is no different. This study examines how members of a Kansas City Chiefs' fan club use media to stay connected to their team and socialize with fellow members. Social identification theory explains that when an individual comes together with one or more individuals with like-minded interests, they form social bonds. Their shared interests allow them to disseminate Chiefs' information through content gathered from media usage. To understand how the Chiefs' fans use media, the author conducted research at a Kansas City Chiefs' sports club at a local bar in a large Southeastern city in the United States. The researcher used observation, participation, and interviews to collect information on the media usage of fan club members. The results find that the majority of members logged on to KCStar.com and KCChiefs.com when they wanted to read about the team from sources that lived in the Kansas City Region. When the members wanted to follow the games live, one person listened to play-by-play on their cellular phone, while others followed Internet updates on sports Web sites, or watched the games on television with the other fan club members.

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