All Rivals Are Not Equal: Clarifying Misrepresentations and Discerning Three Core Properties of Rivalry
Journal of Sport Management, 31(1), 1-14, 2017.
21 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2018
Date Written: 2017
Rivalry is ubiquitous across sports, yet the representation and specification of rivalry varies widely. Such discrepancy poses problems when distinguishing between multiple outgroups and when employing rivalry to explain related questions such as demand for sport consumption. In this paper, we critically examine the many differing conceptions of rivalry and to discern properties of rivalry across different sports. We survey college football fans (N = 5,304) to empirically test the exclusivity, scale, and symmetry of rivalry; then, we replicate the study twice in the context of professional sports (1,649 NFL fans; 1,435 NHL fans). Results consistently indicate that fans perceive multiple rivals (non-exclusive), rivalry intensity varies among rivals (continuous in scale), and opposing fans rarely share equivalent perceptions of the rivalry (bidirectional). Accordingly, we develop and test a parsimonious 100-point rivalry allocation measure that specifies these three properties of rivalry.
Keywords: rivalry, demand, attendance, sport marketing, social identity, team identification
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