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Development and validation of the Sport Rivalry Fan Perception Scale (SRFPS).

Authors:

Abstract

Rivalry plays an integral role in the allure and excitement of following sport and favorite teams. Disposition of mirth theory (Zillmann & Cantor, 1976) states that people will experience joy if someone they admire is successful and someone they loathe is unsuccessful. Additionally, sport disposition theory (Zillmann, Bryant, & Sapolsky, 1989) asserts that fans will cheer when their team is successful and their team's opponent is unsuccessful in direct competition. However, little research exists measuring what rivalry means to Sportfans, how fans perceive teams identified as a rival, or how fans feel about the success and failure, of a rival team in indirect competition. Previous research has used rivalry as a variable to explain fan behavior, but has not investigated the phenomenon by itself For this reason, the purpose of the current study was to develop and validate the Sport Rivalry Fan Perception Scale (SRFPS). The scale was psychometrically tested on two samples of 457 and 374 intercollegiate football and basketball fans and demonstrated good reliability and validity as a measure of fan perceptions toward a favorite team's rival. The resulting SRFPS consists of four factors and 12 items, and can be used by both academics and practitioners. Implications for application are discussed along with directions for future study.
Development and Validation of the
Sport Rivalry Fan Perception Scale (SRFPS)
Cody T. Havard
The University of Memphis
Dianna P. Gray, James Gould, Linda A. Sharp, and Jay J. Schaffer
University of Northern Colorado
Rivalry plays an integral role in the allure and excitement of following sport and favorite
teams. Disposition of mirth theory (Zillmann & Cantor, 1976) states that people will ex-
perience joy if someone they admire is successful and someone they loathe is unsuccess-
ful. Additionally, sport disposition theory (Zillmann, Bryant, & Sapolsky, 1989) asserts
that fans will cheer when their team is successful and their team's opponent is unsuccess-
ful in direct competition. However, little research exists measuring what rivalry means to
Sportfans, how fans perceive teams identified as a rival, or how fans feel about the success
and failure, of
a
rival team in indirect competition. Previous research has used rivalry as
a variable to explain fan
behavior,
but has not investigated the phenomenon by itself For
this reason, the purpose of the current study was to develop and validate the Sport Rivalry
Fan Perception Scale (SRFPS). The scale was psychometrically tested on two samples of
457 and 374
intercollegiate
football and basketball fans and demonstrated good reliability
and validity as a measure of fan perceptions toward
a
favorite team's rival. The resulting
SRFPS consists of four factors and 12 items, and can be used by both academics and prac-
titioners. Implications for application are discussed along with directions for future study.
Address Correspondence to: Cody T. Havard, Health and Sport Sciences, The Univer-
sity of
Memphis,
310 Ehna Roane Fieldhouse, Memphis, TN 38152-3480. Phone: 901-678-
5011,
Fax: 901-678-3591, Email : chavard@memphis.edu.
45
46 /Journal of Sport
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36, No. 1
In college sport, fans dedicate large amounts of resources to show their affiliation with
their favorite teams and schools (Gibson, Willming, & Holdnak, 2002). One way to display
that affiliation is by following the rival(s) of the favorite team. The relationship between
fans,
favorite teams, and favorite team rivals add to the excitement of consuming sport.
For this reason, it is short sighted to address sport spectatorship without a discussion of the
rivabies that occur between teams, players, and fans. At the collegiate level, rivahies fill out
season schedules, make for entertaining contests, and add fervor to the competitive nature
of
sport.
Further, many rivalries date over 100 years, and have become engrained in the cul-
tures of their respective schools (Corbet & Simpson, 2004; Shropshire, 2006; Tucker, 2007).
Kilduff,
Eifenbein, & Staw (2010) have identified the antecedents to rivahy, however
, there is little research explaining what sport rivalry means to fans, or how they are affected
by the phenomenon. Additionally, no operational definition of sport rivalry currently exists
in the sport or consumer behavior literature, and it is important to study how fans perceive
teams identified as rivals to further the understanding of intergroup relations. For this rea-
son, the current study sought to address the lack of empirical investigation into the phenom-
enon of sport rivalry by quantitatively identifying factors that explain fan perceptions of
teams identified as their favorite team's rival. The following research question guided the
study: What identifiable factors explain rivahy?
Review of Literature
The psychology of fan and consumer behavior is an area that has received consider-
able attention by academics over the past two decades. Zaichkowsky (1985) indicated with
the Personal Involvement Inventory (PII) that two people could perceive the same product
differently. In sport, people tend to be introduced to the "product" through family (Coakley,
2004;
de Groot & Robinson, 2008; Havard, 2012) and consume with friends sharing similar
team or activity interests (Dietz-Uhler, Harrick, End, & Jacqemotte, 2000). Fan identifi-
cation with a team can offer individuals opportimities to fulfill socialization needs that can
lead to increased mental health and self esteem (Brascombe & Wann,
1991 ;
Crocker & Park,
2004;
Wann, 2006). People tend to identify with others to enhance their social-identity (Ta-
jfel & Turner, 1979) and influence others' perceptions of
themselves.
One way for a fan to
do this is to identify with a sport team (Wann, Brame, Clarkson, Brooks, & Waddill, 2008).
For this reason, literature addressing social and fan identification begins the discussion.
FAN PERCEPTIONS OF
RIVAL
TEAMS .. /
47
Social and Fan Identification
Tajfel (1978) asserted that people strive to build and maintain a positive concept of
themselves, and desire to be favorably viewed by others (Tajfel & Turner, 1979). Social
identity theory explains how this self-concept affects the types of people and groups with
whom individuals associates (Tajfel, 1981). In order to increase self-identity and esteem,
people will jo i n with others who share similar characteristics (Tajfel & Turner, 1979). When
people with similar interests joi n together, they form social groups (Turner, 1982), and these
groups tend to adopt a collective identity in order to distinguish between members and
non-members (Ashmore, Deaux, & McLaughlin, 2004).
Heider (1958) introduced balance theory to help explain how and why individuals
interact with others. Through unit relations, balance theory states that things are connected
in some way and that people engage in dyadic and triadic relationships, whether positive or
negative, in order to maintain a balanced state of
being.
In a dyadic relationship, if person A
likes person B, balance is attained if that feeling is reciprocated (i.e., B likes A). In a triadic
relationship, a balanced state is attained if all three people like each other or if, as posited
by Heider, two negative relationships and one positive relationship are present. This triadic
relationship is of particular interest to the study of sport rivalry, as it helps to explain the
adversarial relationship fans often have with their favorite team's rival. For example, a fan
that has a positive relationship with his or her favorite team will have a negative relationship
with the favorite team's rival because of the competitive, or negative relationship the favor-
ite and rival teams share.
Cialdini et al. (1976) utilized the unit relations principle in balance theory to introduce
Basking In Reflected Glory (BIRGing), which explains how fan association and identifica-
tion with a favorite team is affected by game performance. In a study conducted at seven
schools with prominent college football programs, the authors found that people were more
likely to wear team apparel and use associative words the Monday following a win than a
non-win. Further, Cialdini and Richardson (1980) found that individuals highly identified
with their favorite team or university would rather derogate, or "Blast" (p. 406) the opposing
team, university, or fans than distance themselves from the favorite group when faced with
reflected failure.
In a similar vein, the term Cutting Off Reflected Failure (CORPing) describes the ten-
dency of people to distance from the perceived failure of
a
team, person, or group (Snyder &
Fromkin, 1980; Snyder, Lassegard, & Ford, 1986). Regarding highly identified sport fans.
Wann and Branscombe (1990) found that fans possessing a strong identification with their
favorite team were morecely to BIRG and less likely to CORF for long periods of time
as compared to fans possessing a weak identification with their favorite team. Bizman and
48 /Journal of Sport
Behavior,
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Yinon (2002) assert that highly identified fans may be more likely to CORF but continue,
and even increase their involvement with the favorite team after feelings associated with
a loss have dissipated. Groups of opposing fans varying in levels of identification often
interact when supporting their favorite teams, and these interactions lead to a review of
intergroup relations and rivalry.
Intergroup Relations and Rivalry
It is an inherent attribute of humans to strive for high self-esteem (Crocker & Park,
2004),
and the mere presence of another can motivate an individual to act in a certain way to
display mastery (Deci, 1975), or somehow compare favorably with someone else (Mowen,
2004;
Triplett, 1897). For this reason, people will participate in activities where they can
exhibit a level of self-efficacy, and one way for a sport fan to do this is through the vicari-
ous experience of supporting their favorite team (Bandura, 1977). By BIRGing, sport fans
feel as though they are part of
the
successful team, and that they can achieve personal goals
(Cialdini et al., 1976).
When groups form and share a collective identity (Ashmore et al., 2004), they tend to
show favoritism toward in-group members and ostracism toward out-group members. This
is known as in-group bias (Tajfel & Turner, 1979), and the Robbers Cave Experiment (Sher-
iff, Harvey, White, Hood, &
Sheriff,
1961) was one of the first studies to investigate this
phenomenon. Participants in the study were grade school boys in a summer camp setting
split into two teams and given the opportunity to compete against each other. During the
competitive phase of
the
study, the teams displayed in-group bias (e.g., team shirts) and out-
group ostracism (e.g., vandalizing campsites of the other team) to the point that researchers
had to separate the boys on multiple occasions.
In-group bias is also present in the descriptions individuals give of other people
(Brewer, 1979). This is known as Linguistic Intergroup Bias (LIB), and asserts that individ-
uals tend to describe in-group actions more favorably and abstractly than out-group actions
(Maass, Arcuri, Salvi, & Semin, 1989). LIB is present in sport in the way fans evaluate team
and player performance (Wann &Thomas, 1994), and the sportsmanship of in-group and
out-group fans (Wann & Dolan, 1994; Wann & Grieve, 2005).
The disposition of mirth and sport disposition theories further help to explain in-group
bias in intergroup relationships, and the feelings between fans of rival teams in particular.
Disposition of mirth theory (Zillmann & Cantor, 1976), similar to the German term schaden-
fireude (Kahle & Close, 2011), states that a person will feel joy if someone he or she likes
is successful and displeasure if that person experiences failure. Particular to sport, sport
disposition theory asserts that fans will cheer when their favorite team is successful and the
FAN PERCEPTIONS OF RIVAL TEAMS .. /
49
favorite team's opponent is unsuccessful when the two teams are playbg each other (Zill-
mann et al., 1989).
Rivalry b sport can affect a person's physiological reactions (Hilbnan, Cuthbert,
Bradley, & Lang, 2004), perceptions of
a
team's sponsors (Davies, Veloutsou, & Costa,
2006),
and the likelihood to help others b distress (Levbe, Prosser, Evans, & Reicher,
2005).
Additionally, Lee (1985) asserts that rivakies have the ability to strengthen b-group
bias and result b hostility among fans of rival teams. This has certably been the case with
rabid soccer fans commonly referred to as soccer hooligans (Spaaij, 2008). Some authors
have asserted that team identification or the presence of
a
rival did not necessarily bcrease
fan aggression (Dimmock & Grove, 2010; Lewis, 2007), while other research has found that
fans would be willbg to commit anonymous acts of
violence,
even murder, agabst the star
player and coach of a rival team (Wann, Haynes, McLean, & Pullen,
2003;
Wann, Petersen,
Cothran, & Dykes, 1999). The unfortunate story of
a
University of Alabama fan poisonbg
the Toomer's Comer trees near the Aubum University campus is an example of fans display-
b g antisocial behavior toward a rival team (Schlabach, 2011).
The preceding literature review helps explab the underlybg theories of rivahy b
sport however, there is currently little research addressbg how fans feel about their favorite
team's rival. It is difficult to properly measure the effects of sport rivalry on fan psychology
and behavior absent a valid measurement tool. Thus, the followbg section details the meth-
ods used b the development and validation of
the
scale.
Methods
Instrument Development
In order to address the perceptions of fans toward their favorite team's rival, the
technique for developbg marketbg measures identifled by Churchill (1979) was used.
Churchill's technique requires the researcher
to:
1) specify the cónstmct(s) bebg explabed,
2) generate sample items, 3) collect data to bitially test items, 4) purify the measure, and 5)
collect data to assess reliabilify and validify.
Specify Construct. In order to identify the construct of rivalry b sport, a review of the
existing literature regardbg fan behavior and team identification was conducted (Creswell,
2005).
Utilizbg the existbg literature, general bterview questions regardbg rivalry b sport
were developed. In particular, these questions gauged participants' feelbgs regardbg their
favorite team and the rival team b direct and bdirect competitive situations.
50 / Journal of Sport
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Generation of Sample Items. In order to generate sample items to be tested, 15
semi-structured interviews using the constructivist viewpoint (Crotty, 1998) and grounded
theory (Creswell, 2007) were conducted over one calendar year. Interview participants were
asked to identify their favorite team's rival to provide personal context for the study, and
transcripts were used to identify trends regarding fan perceptions of favorite and rival teams.
A list of 112 statements was compiled to address the on-field successes and failures of the
favorite and rival teams, and the indirect competition (i.e., when the rival team is playing
someone other than the favorite team) of the favorite team's rival. Next, in order to ensure
the statements properly measured the construct, an expert panel was utilized (Churchill,
1979).
The five individuals that served on the expert panel are well known for their work in
the areas of fan identification, consumption, and behavior.
Initial Item
Testing.
Following an initial review by the expert panel, a sample of fans
reached through online web sites of teams competing in the football bowl season during De-
cember 2010 and January 2011 was used for the first sample. Participants in the first sample
were directed to take the survey on formsite.com, and completed surveys were analyzed
using Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) in SPSS 18 (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2007).
Purify the
Measure.
Following the data analysis of the first sample, the expert panel-
ists again reviewed the construct, and identified factors and items to determine any areas of
concern regarding question clarity and redundancy. During the second expert panel review,
some items were deleted or added to ensure that the scale properly measured the sport rival-
ry construct.
Collect data to assess reliability and
validity.
A second sample of
374
fans was
collected during February and March of
2011
using participants reached through in-person
Self-Administered Questionnaires (SAQ) (Lohr, 2008) and online protocol. SAQ partic-
ipants were reached at three National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I
men's basketball games in the Mountain West region. Online participants in the second
sample were reached through team-specific fan web pages and administered the survey via
formsite.com.
Instrumentation and Distribution
The final version of the survey sent to the first sample contained items measuring ri-
valry (37 questions), combined with demographic (3 questions), favorite team (8 questions),
and rival team information (3 questions). Participants were asked to identify their favorite
team's rival, and indicate their perceptions toward the rival using a 7-point Likert-type scale
(
1
- Strongly Disagree, 3 - Neutral, 1 - Strongly Agree).
FAN
PERCEPTIONS OF RIVAL TEAMS .. /51
SAQ protocol was used because it gives participants freedom to respond in the manner
they desired (de Leeuw & Hox, 2008). An online protocol was utilized because it allowed
for a wider sample to be reached (Gaiser & Schreiner, 2009), and visitors to a specific site
were given the opportunity to complete the survey (Manfreda & Vehovar, 2008). Online
participants in the first and second sample were given one reminder to take the survey during
collection, and SAQ collection took place at three college basketball games in an attempt to
reach the most respondents (de Leeuw, Hox, & Dilhnan, 2008; Miller & Smith, 1983). At-
tempts to ensure no one under the age of 18 completed a survey were taken in both the SAQ
and online distribution methods. As an incentive, participants in both samples and collection
methods were given a chance to enter for one of eight $25 VISA gift cards.
Results
An operational definition of sport rivalry was developed and refined through the
expert panel process in the current study along with the scale, and it is helpfijl to introduce
such definition at this point. Sport rivalry is defined as a fluctuating adversarial relationship
existing between two teams, players, or groups of fans, gaining significance through on-field
competition, on-field or off-field incidences, proximity, demographic makeup, and/or histor-
ical occurrence(s). With the preceding definition, it is now pmdent to present the results of
the scale development process.
Following a pilot study conducted on the popular online social networking site Face-
book, the first expert panel reviewed the scale and survey containing the list of
37
items
addressing rivahy along with the extemal questions (14 items). It was suggested by the ex-
pert panel that the Out-group Consumption (OC) factor be deleted from the survey because
the factor was measuring consumption rather than perception. It was also suggested that the
Out-group Linguistic Bias (OLB) factor be renamed to better represent the items explaining
the factor. For this reason, the factor was renamed Out-group Sportsmanship (OS). Addi-
tionally, it was advised that team identification information be added to the survey for future
use.
For this reason, the Team Involvement Inventory (Til) was added to the survey (Trail,
Fink, & Anderson, 2003).
Of
the
587 participants in the first sample who initially started the survey, 457 com-
pleted the instrument and provided useable data, for a completion rate of
78%.
Male
(89.7%) football fans (98.2%) made up the vast majorify of respondents in the first sample,
and 59.4% of participants were 18 to 40 years of
age.
The data were analyzed using EFA
with promax rotation in SPSS 18 and factors were identified using the Kaiser criteria, which
identifies eigenvalues over 1.0 (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2007). The promax rotation consisted
52 /Journal of Sport
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of four factors, 15 items and explained 72.2% of
the
variance. Items were identified by load-
ings greater than .40, which represent component salience (Guadagnoli & Velicer, 1988),
and not double loadings greater than .50.
Results from the EFA were submitted to the second expert panel, and it was suggested
that the CompetitionA'icarious Achievement factor be renamed Sense of Satisfaction (SoS).
An additional item was added to both the Out-group Sportsmanship (OS) factor and the SoS
factor. Further, one SoS item was replaced because it did not properly measure the factor. It
was also suggested to add questions addressing favorite and rival team consumption habits
to the survey. The survey distributed to the second sample consisted of 45 questions, with
17 items addressing rivalry in sport.
The second sample consisted of fans following their favorite teams online and
attending live games. Of
the
387 participants that started the online survey, 292 finished
the survey and provided usable data, for a 75% completion rate. In addition, 82 of the 100
participants that started the SAQ survey provided finished instruments with usable data,
for a completion rate of
82%.
Using both the online and SAQ distribution methods, 374
participants provided usable data from the second sample. Again, male participants (85.3%)
made up the majority of
respondents.
Participants followed football (44.9%) and basketball
(42.5%) teams at about the same rate and 65.2% were 18 to 40 years of age.
Data from the second sample were analyzed using Confirmatory Factor Analysis
(CFA) in LISREL 8.8. The final model consisted of four factors and 12 items, which are
presented in Table 1. The factors identified were 1) Out-Group Competition against Others
(Indirect) (OIC), 2) Out-Group Academic Prestige (OAP), 3) Out-Group Sportsmanship
(OS),
and 4) Sense of Satisfaction (SoS).
Fit indices showed good fit for the model, and can be found in Table 2. The Non-
Normed Fit Index (NNFI) was acceptable according to Tabachnick and Fidell (2007).
Another method commonly used to evaluate model fit, the Comparative Fit Index (CFI)
was also acceptable (Hu & Bentler, 1999). The Standardized Root Mean Square Residu-
al (SRMR), and the Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) also indicated
stt-ong fit for the model. The
x-'
va lue (74.64) for the model was statistically significant at/?
< .05 idf= 48).
Chi square scores showing correlations among factors are presented in Table 3 and
among items in Table 4 (Glass & Hopkins, 1996). The reliability of
the
scale was accept-
able,
indicated by the Chronbach's a for the four factors ranging from .77 to
.91.
The mea-
sure proved to demonstrate acceptable convergent and discriminant validity, as indicated by
the Average Variance Extt-acted (AVE) scores (Fomell & Larcker, 1981).
FAN PERCEPTIONS OF RIVAL TEAMS .. / 53
Table 1.
Factors and Items identified from Maximum Likelihood
CFA
Factors and Items Factor
„„^
Loading
Out-Group Competition against Others (Indirect) OIC (3 items)
Sample mean = 2.52 Std. Deviation = 1.67
I would support my favorite team's rival in a championship game. .880
I would support my favorite team's rival in out-of-conference play. .870
I want my favorite team's rival to win all games except when they play my favorite .750
team.
Out-Group Academic Prestige OAP (3 items)
Sample mean = 3.87 Std. Deviation = 1.64
The academic prestige of my favorite team's rival is poor. .970
I feel people who attended school where my favorite team's rival plays missed out on a .850
good education.
I feel the academics where my favorite team's rival plays is not very prestigious. .830
Out-Group Sportsmanship OS (3 items)
Sample mean =3.87 Std. Deviation = 1.64
Fans of my favorite team's rival demonstrate poor sportsmanship at games. .920
Fans of my favorite team's rival are not well behaved at games. .900
Fans of my favorite team's rival do no show respect for others. .810
Sense of Satisfaction SoS (3 items)
Sample mean = 5.96 Std. Deviation = 1.04
I feel a sense of belonging when my favorite team beats my favorite team's rival. .760
I feel a sense of accomplishment when my favorite team beats my favorite team's rival. .750
I feel I have bragging rights when my favorite team beats my favorite team's rival. .680
54 /
Journal
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Table 2.
Fit Indices for Four-Factor Model of Sport Rivalry
Fit Indices
Normed Fit Index (NFI) 0.98
Non-Normed Fit Index (NNFI) 0.99
Comparative Fit Index (CFI) 0.99
Standardized Root Mean Square Residual (SRMR) 0.037
Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) 0.040
Chi Square (degrees of fi-eedom) 74.64* (48)
* significant at the.
05
level
Table 3
Correlations among Factors
Factor OIC OAP OS SoS_
OIC l.OO - - -
OAP
-.153**
1.00
OS
-.321**
.455**
1.00
SoS -.159** .244** .237** 1.00
' Correlation is significant at.
001
(2-tailed)
FAN PERCEPTIONS OF RIVAL TEAMS ../55
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56 / Journal of Sport
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The Sport Rivahy Fan Perception Scale (SRFPS) demonstrated good model fit, and is
a reliable and valid measure of fan perceptions toward a favorite team's rival. Table 5 iden-
tifies the final SRFPS, which contains four factors and 12 items, and can be used to properly
measure fan perceptions of rival teams.
Table 5
Final Sport Rivalry Fan Perception Scale (SRFPS) with factors, factor
descriptions,
and items.
Out-Group Competition against Others (Indirect) OIC - Likelihood that a fan will support
the athletic efforts of the favorite team's rival in indirect competition.
I would support my favorite team's rival in a championship game.
I would support my favorite team's rival in out-of-conference play.
I want my favorite team's rival to win all games except when they play my favorite team,
Out-Group Academic Prestige OAP - The amount of respect a fan has for the academic
prestige of the institution where the favorite team's rival plays.
The academic prestige of my favorite team's rival is poor,
I feel people who attended school where my favorite team's rival plays missed out
on a good education.
I feel the academics where my favorite team's rival plays is not very prestigious,
Out-Group Sportsmanship OS-
The
perceptions of fan sportsmanship of the favorite team's rival.
Fans of my favorite team's rival demonstrate poor sportsmanship at games.
Fans of my favorite team's rival are not well behaved at games.
Fans of my favorite team's rival do no show respect for others.
Sense of Satisfaction SoS -
The satisfaction a fan gets when the favorite team defeats the favorite team's rival.
I feel a sense of belonging when my favorite team beats my favorite team's rival.
I feel a sense of accomplishment when my favorite team beats my favorite team's rival.
I feel I have bragging rights when my favorite team beats my favorite team's rival.
FAN
PERCEPTIONS OF
RIVAL
TEAMS .. / 57
Discussion
The purpose of the current study was to develop and validate a scale to measure fan
perceptions toward the team identified as their favorite team's rival. The four-factor, 12
item SRFPS was validated on two groups of college football and basketball fans, and was
determined to be an acceptable measure of fan perceptions toward their favorite team's rival.
This discussion will address the theoretical implications of the SRFPS, limitations to the
current investigation, and areas for future study.
Implications
Previous research has used rivalry in sport as a variable to explain fan behavior
(Davies et al., 2006; Hilman et al., 2004; Luellen & Wann, 2010; Mahony & Moorman,
1999;
Sierra et al., 2010;' Spaaij, 2008; Wann et al,
2003;
Wann et al., 2006), but until now
virtually no research existed explaining what a sport rivalry means to fans or how they per-
ceive their favorite team's rival. Providing an operational definition of sport rivahy, along
with the development and validation of
the
SRFPS provides the theoretical basis for ftittire
researchers to properly measure fan perceptions toward a rival team. Although further use
and validation of
the
SRFPS is recommended, it can be used in its current form by academ-
ics and practitioners studying variables of fan behavior to differentiate fans based on their
perceptions of
a
rival team in collegiate football and basketball.
One way the scale can be used is in the study of fan behavior toward a favorite team or
conference. If academics can properly measure the perceptions fans have for their favorite
team's rival, they can begin to use the scale in conjunction with other variables and scales to
gain a better understanding of how the presence of
a
rival affects fan behavior. The SRFPS
provides another way for academics to continue the study of intergroup relationships, and
lends support to the disposition of mirth theory (Zillmann & Cantor, 1976). The various
forms of rival derogation stated by fans in the current study (e.g., "Texas Shorthorns",
"Kuck Fansas", "Dirty Hillbillies") is consistent with prior research (Wann et al., 1999;
Wann et al., 2003).
Limitations
The distribution method through online surveys and in-person SAQ is a possible lim-
itation, as potential respondents were inevitably missed. This is a product of the availability
of fans through online and in-person mediums. The SAQ was distributed at college bas-
ketball games in reasonable proximity to the researcher, and attempts to distribute at more
high-profile games was not logistically possible. Another limitation worthy of mention is that
58 /Journal of Sport
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rival te am names
were
piped
(i.e.,
visible) throughout the online survey to add salience for the
participant (Luellen & Wann, 2010); this option was not available on the SAQ instrument.
The online version of the survey was posted on fan pages that did not require a paid
subscription. It was decided that this method was the best way to reach fans that may not
have the financial means or desires to pay for subscription content of their favorite team, but
this approach may have resulted in missed potential participants. Some people paying for
subscriptions to favorite team content could have different rival perceptions.
Future Study
First, further study is needed to determine the validity of
the
Out-Group Academic
(OAP) factor, or the refinement of
the
SRFPS to three factors and nine items (Isreal, 1992).
For example, some populations in future study (e.g., professional teams) may not lend them-
selves to the use of
the
OAP factor. Another area for further study is to compare college
sports fans perceptions of rival teams by sex, sport, and competition level. The current scale
was developed on fans of college football and men's basketball, and comparing data from
women's sports may reveal interesting results. Football and men's basketball are known
as revenue producing sports in high-profile intercollegiate athletics, and a comparison of
revenue versus non-revenue sports may also provide interesting findings. Rival perceptions
may differ at the Division II, III, or NAIA level. It is asserted that the construct, or concept
of rivahy remains constant anywhere there is competition, but the extent of perceptions may
differ between these groups.
Also,
administering the survey to fans with
a
priori teams identified to determine if
fan rival perceptions differ toward various teams within a league or conference would pro-
vide valuable results. This was evidenced in the current study by the inconsistencies with
which fans identified rivals. For example, Texas A&M fans identified the Texas Longhoms
as their biggest rivals, while Texas fans placed the Oklahoma Sooners in the same category.
Administering the SRFPS at the professional level may reveal interesting results.
Doing so would allow the validity and reliability of
the
scale to be tested at the professional
level, and may tap into fan perceptions regarding teams in these leagues. For example, an
investigation of the New York Yankees/Boston Red Sox rivalry or the intense relationship
between the religious-tied Celtic and Ranger football clubs of the Spanish Premier League
would provide a wealth of information.
As previously mentioned, it is imperative that the SRFPS be administered to more fan
groups so that discernable differences among groups may be identified. It is also recom-
mended that the SRFPS be used in cooperation with other fan identification scales to test
for differences in rival perceptions. The SRFPS should also be used to determine favorite
FAN
PERCEPTIONS OF RIVAL TEAMS .. / 59
team consumption habits among fans. For example, fans of btercoUegiate athletics could be
admbistered the survey to determbe if and how the rival team's performance affects their
likelbood to support their favorite team through the purchase of licensed products, mediated
viewership, or monetary support b the form of donations.
Qualitative research into rivalry can also provide areas for future research. With the
recent conference expansion and changing conference affiliation of college teams, academ-
ics may be able to determbe how fans feel about the end of traditional competitive rivalries
and the beginnbg of new ones. Qualitative research would also help to shed light on how
fans feel toward rival teams when a coach or player from the team gets bto trouble with
the NCAA or legal system. A Michigan fan billboard aimed at derogatbg former Ohio
State football coach Jim Tressel for an NCAA bvestigation is such an example (Michigan
billboard, 2011).
Outside of
sport,
the SRPPS adds to the intergroup relations literature and with further
refinement may lend itself
to
the contbued study of groups sharbg adversarial relationships
(e.g., gangs, factions). Through the understanding of what causes adversarial relationships,
we can also gab knowledge on what may dimbish some of the negative attributes of such
relationships. The participants b the Sheriff et al. (1961) study were able to work together
on tasks when the group competition was removed. Aside
fi-om
f e w situations bvolvbg
nattiral or manmade disasters such as the 2011 storms b Tuscaloosa, Alabama (Auburn
offers aid, 2011) or the bonfire tragedy at Texas A&M University (Rivalry takes back seat,
1999),
it is yet to be seen if rival fan groups would be willbg to work cooperatively toward
common goals. It is also important that academics and practitioners note the social responsi-
bilities owed by teams and fans to communities and sport.
It is with caution that the SRFPS is presented as a scale to measure the perceptions
fans feel toward a rival team. Further research should focus on how the SRFPS can be used
to better understand the adversarial relationship between rival fans and teams and regu-
late potentially negative encounters b and out of the competitive arena. The graphic fight
between Cbcinnati and Xavier men's basketball players illustrate what can happen when
negative feelbgs b a rivaby are not properly controlled (Katz, 2011).
In conclusion, the SRPPS was demonstrated as a reliable and valid measure of fan per-
ceptions toward a favorite team's rival. The area of sport rivahy has received little attention
b the sport literature, and the SRFPS provides academics and practitioners a tool to properly
gauge perceptions toward a rival and possible affects to fan behavior and consumption. It is
important for academics and practitioners to gain a better understandbg of rival perceptions
b order to contbue study bto the phenomenon, and the current study provides such a basis.
60 / Journal of Sport
Behavior,
Vol.
36, No. 1
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