Gender, Age, and Race as Predictors of Sports-Viewing Behavior of Sport Management Undergraduates

Abstract

In what has traditionally been a white male-dominated industry,
there are a growing number of females and minorities assuming the position
of sport manager. This trend is attributed to increasing opportunities
for female and minority participation in sport organizations at various
levels. Such levels include recreational, interscholastic, collegiate,
and professional athletic involvement. It should be noted that coaching
and management opportunities are also increasing. The purpose of this
study was to determine which, if any, demographic variables of age, gender,
or race could significantly predict the frequency of viewing behaviors
of sport-related media for undergraduate sport management students. Based
upon the literature, credibility in a sport management role can be increased
through sport-related media consumption. Fifty-five students in the undergraduate
sport management program at a research extensive university in the Southeastern
United States participated in the study. The instrument, constructed by
the researchers, was a sixteen question survey. Using multiple linear
regression analyses, only one predictor, gender, was found to have a statistically
significant impact upon the frequency of viewing sport-related media (sport
networks). The predictors of age and race were not found to be significant.

Introduction

“Print, radio, television, the Internet: When
it comes to Americans’ media consumption, it seems just about anything
goes.”

Pamela Paul, Targeting Boomers

Due to changes in education as well as the ever-changing ethnic demographic
of America, entertainment interests have changed, particularly with sport
programming (Paul, 2003). The latest U.S. Census Report indicates there
are 38.8 million Hispanics living in America and have replaced African-Americans
as America’s largest racial minority. Numerous studies have been
conducted to address the parallel between demographics and media viewing
behaviors, however research results are still inconclusive (Jack, 1999).

Where much of the media in the past was consumed by males, the trend
is changing. In fact, women have significantly higher levels of television
exposure than their male counterparts (Besley & Shanahan, 2003). In
regard to sport programming, the number of female viewers (who watch television)
is substantial. Recent studies have indicated that women have an increasing
interest in sport events (Shachar & Emerson, 2000).

Women place more importance on personal gratification exemplified by
such things as a comfortable life, pleasure, and happiness, which in turn
is conducive to an increase in their television viewing habits. According
to McCarty & Shrum (1993), “females may perceive a certain amount
of fulfillment of personal gratification through television viewing”
(p. 92). Men on the other hand, do not find fulfillment of such values
as a comfortable life, etc. in watching television (McCarty & Shrum,
1993). Men tend to be more regular readers of newspapers than women (Besley
and Shanahan, 2003). Men have a tendency to obtain information (including
sports) from newspapers as it is a medium that is seen to produce the
most reliable information (Hudson, 2001).

In regard to age and media, research and surveys conducted by Neilsen
Media Research reveal that households headed by people between the ages
of thirty-five and fifty-four comprise 40 percent of all households (Paul,
2003). Furthermore, while much television is targeted to the youth market,
adults between the ages of thirty-five and sixty-four spend an average
of 248 minutes a day watching television. This is 22 minutes more a day,
on average, than adults eighteen to thirty-four (Paul, 2003). “In
general, television viewership increases with age” (p. 25).

The Baby Boomer generation is comprised of 78 million Americans (Paul,
2003). Considering this, many media outlets are consumed by them. “Radio
is more common to the Baby Boomer generation” (p. 26). For the younger
generation, “radio may seem old-school” (p. 26) and therefore
is not considered a substantial outlet for information.

Regarding the Internet, “adults ages 35 – 54 spend more time
online than any other demographic group” (Paul, 2003, p. 26). In
addition to this group being online, many go on the Internet more than
one time a day, with an average of 22.2 days per month versus an average
of 15.2 days per month for 18-24 year olds (Paul, 2003). Fifty-seven percent
of Baby Boomers have access at work, compared with 45 percent of all adults;
69 percent of Baby Boomers have access at home compared with 64 percent
of adults overall (Paul, 2003). Nevertheless, according to the DDB Life
Style Study, 74 percent of adults younger than Baby Boomers believe that
“the Internet is the best place to get information” (p. 26)
and sports is included in this mix.

In the case of print, a study conducted by the National Opinion Research
Center found that 75 percent of those who are aged 65 to 74 read the newspaper
on a daily basis, compared with 42 percent of the total population (Polyak,
2000). As far as television viewing is concerned, the same study found
that 33 percent of those 75 and older watch five or more hours of television
a day on a regular basis, which is more than any other age group (Polyak,
2000).

Much of the media is targeted toward youth. A study that analyzed surveys
and interviews from 8-17 year olds found that at least 61 percent of children
now have a television in their bedroom (Yin, 2004). Seventeen percent
of these children have their own personal computer (Yin, 2004). Regarding
sports and youth, extreme sports have produced the greatest gains in children’s
sport consumption. (American Demographics, 2001).

Young girls tend to favor sports in which other females participate.
Girls are twice as likely as boys to watch women’s basketball (American
Demographics, 2001). Eighty-eight percent of girls like watching the Olympics
with gymnastics and ice skating comprising 78 percent of girls’
interest (American Demographics, 2001). Interestingly, football and basketball
made the list of interest among girls with 68 percent and 67 percent respectively
(American Demographics, 2001).

In contrast, 89 percent of boys tend to be interested in football (American
Demographics, 2001). Twice as many boys as girls enjoy watching boxing
(American Demographics, 2001). Soccer is the one sport that appeared to
be relatively equal among boys and girls (American Demographics, 2001).

In regard to race and media, “people may work together during the
day, but at night they’re immersed in their own culture” (Weissman,
1999, p. 16). The different television habits among blacks and whites
continue to be vastly different. However, although differences in viewing
patterns continue among blacks and whites, the gap is closing. Sports
viewing appears to be a vehicle for closing this gap. Programs such as
Monday Night Football are shown to have similarities in viewing patterns
among racial groups (Weisman, 1996). In regard to television, blacks watch
40 percent more than whites, although this gap too is narrowing (Weisman,
1996).

As the Hispanic population in America is growing, it is particularly
important to note their media viewing patterns. Marketers have recently
taken interest in this ethnic group and the question remains whether English-or
Spanish-language programming provides the best vehicle for reaching Hispanics.
Studies indicate that many Hispanics prefer programs that reflect the
first language in which they learned to speak (Mogelonsky, 1995). Print
media are used less frequently by Hispanics. On average, they (Hispanics)
spend 36 minutes a day reading newspapers, while bilingual Hispanics only
devote about 12 minutes a day reading newspapers (Mogelonsky, 1995).

“The average Latino watches 58.6 hours of television per week,
which is 4.4 hours more than the typical non-Hispanic viewer” (Fetto,
2002, p. 14). It has been noted, according to research studies, that “Hispanics
are passionately devoted to their Spanish-language television networks”
(p. 14). However, Hispanics turn to English-language television for what
they cannot get in Spanish (Fetto, 2002). Many sports attract the greatest
number of Hispanic viewers to the six major English networks, “perhaps
because these programs are virtually nonexistent in the Spanish-language
stations” (p. 15).

While television continues to be the media of choice for Hispanics, newsmagazines
are becoming increasingly popular among this group (Fetto, 2002); however,
print has been traditionally viewed as a challenging medium (Hudson, 2001).
This is due, in part to the splintered audience of the American population,
and no single form of print media can reach everyone (Fetto, 2002).

The country of origin and media usage varies for Latinos. For example,
Cubans read, listen, and watch about 7.4 hours of media a day. Dominicans
spend 10.7 hours a day with media, followed by Central and South Americans
at 10.4 hours a day. Puerto Ricans spend 10.3 hours a day with media,
while Mexicans spend 9.2 hours (Mogelonsky, 1995). Interestingly, Central-American
Hispanics watch the most television, while Cubans spend the most time
reading print materials (Mogelonsky, 1995). Listening to the radio and
reading newspapers are the media of choice for Dominicans (Mogelonsky,
1995).

This study considers which, if any, demographic variables of age, gender,
and race significantly predict the frequency of viewing behaviors of sport-related
media among undergraduate sport management students. It is hypothesized
that the demographic variables are significant in predicting viewing behaviors.

Method

Participants
Fifty-five students in the undergraduate sport management program at a
research extensive university in the Southeastern United States participated
in the study. The sample was made up of 15 females (27.3%) and 37 males
(67.3%). 83.6% were between the ages of 21-25. 30.9% were black, 65.5%
were white, and 3.6% were classified as other. 66.7% earned less than
$15,000 a year. Students were selected by the researchers as they were
representative of the sport management undergraduate program population.

Materials
The instrument, constructed by the researchers, was a sixteen question
survey. It was reviewed by a panel of experts for face validity. The approximate
time given to complete the survey was between 10 to 15 minutes. The content
questions addressed the students’ perceptions on: the importance
of reading and viewing sport-related media in obtaining future job roles
as sport administrators, whether prior or current knowledge of a sport
issue has enhanced academic performance, whether credibility is increased
among peers if they engage in consistent viewing or reading of sports
media, whether current knowledge of the athletic industry will assist
in making future business decisions, whether staying current on athletic
trends can potentially enhance business relationships, whether sports
media outlets are able to contribute to overall professionalism, and the
importance for peers to be knowledgeable on current athletic trends. In
addition, the survey was divided into two categories: 1. reading behaviors
of sport media, which addressed the amount of time spent on Internet resources,
journal articles, magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books. 2.
viewing behaviors of sport media, which addressed the amount of time spent
watching sport movies, sport networks, local sport coverage, and national
sport coverage.

The answers to these content questions were based on a five-point
Likert type scale, with a rating of one indicating strongly agree and
a rating of five indicating strongly disagree. The frequency of viewing
and reading behaviors were also based on a five-point Likert type scale,
with a rating of one indicating never and a rating of five indicating
always.

The researchers assessed the internal reliability of the
survey. The resulting Cronbach’s alpha of .626 (after the variable “journal
article” was deleted from the survey) demonstrates that the survey
was acceptably reliable.

Procedures
The researchers obtained approval from the university’s Institutional
Review Board. Students signed forms stating that their participation in
the study was voluntary. Permission from the students’ instructors
was also obtained. Students were given a survey to complete at the beginning
of class, after a brief description of the study. Ten to fifteen minutes
was given to complete the survey. No students required any type of accommodation
in completing the survey.

Prior to running the statistical analyses, the researchers
determined that the predictors of age, race, and gender should be recoded
as effect-coded variables since they are categorical.

Results

Standard multiple linear regression analyses were conducted
to see which, if any, of the demographic variables could significantly
predict the frequency of viewing behaviors of sport-related media.

Thirty-six usable surveys were included in the statistical
analyses. The mean indicates that the participants on average view sport
networks approximately 4 times a week (Table 1).

Table 1

Sport Network Viewing
Mean Standard Deviation Sample Size
Sport Networks 4.41 .84 36

It was indicated that there was a significant correlation among gender
and sport networks with a p<.05. The Pearson Correlation is r=-.624.
The direction of this relationship indicates that females on average,
view fewer sport networks per week than males. Furthermore this r value
indicates a strong relationship between the two variables. No other variables
were significant with a p< .05 (Table 2).

Table 2

Correlations between demographics
Subscale 1 2 3 4
1. Sport Networks .000* .271 .073
2. Gender .297 .233
3. Age .451
4. Race
* p<.05

The multiple correlation coefficient (R) is .65 and the multiple coefficient
of determination (R squared) is .35. This indicates that 35.2% of the
variance is accounted for in the summary. The Durbin Watson statistic
is between 1.5 and 2.5, which suggest normality. The linear combination
of predictors are significant: F(4,35)=5.758, p<.05 (Table 3)

Table 3

Analysis of Variance for Gender
Source df F p
Gender 4 5.758 .001*
Within 31 .458
Total 35
* p<.05

Discussion

The researchers investigated which, if any, of the demographic variables
of age, race, and gender significantly predicted the frequency of viewing
behaviors of sport-related media. The dependant variable, “frequency
of viewing behaviors” was comprised of six behaviors that were representative
of both reading and viewing behaviors of sport media. The behaviors included
sport networks, sport movies, Internet resources, books, newspaper articles,
and magazine articles. Only one behavior, “sport networks”
was found to have any statistical significance. As stated earlier, the
analysis found that only one predictor, “gender” was statistically
significant in predicting the frequency of viewing sport networks among
the sample.

The sample size was relatively small, thus increasing the likelihood
of a Type II error in determining that most predictors did not have a
significant effect on the frequency of viewing sport-related media. The
study targeted undergraduate sport management students at one southeastern
university, thus reducing the pool of participants. Future recommendations
would include expanding the sample size by targeting multiple universities
with similar undergraduate programs. Also, the sample size could be expanded
by targeting graduate students in sport management programs at other universities.

Furthermore, the sample was relatively homogeneous in nature; most participants
were between the ages of 21-25. Another consideration is that homogeneity
existed in regard to all of the participants being enrolled in a sport
management program; it can be assumed that an interest in sports is the
norm. The study could again be expanded by targeting other students in
programs that are non-sport related. Perhaps a comparative analysis could
be conducted to determine the differences in viewing behaviors of sport
management students and non-sport management students.

Regarding the survey, the breadth of questions could be expanded to increase
reliability as well as provide more meaningful insight to the study. The
use of focus groups could also be helpful in determining the researchers’
interest in the factors that contribute to viewing sport media.

The survey questionnaire also revealed that the juxtaposition of reading
and viewing sports-related media is conducive to credibility in the sports
industry. Research studies indicate that education is a factor in determining
the frequency of viewing media in general; it can be surmised that sport
managers are well-educated, thus increasing their engagement in consuming
sport-related media. Future studies could focus on the perceived credibility
of sport administrators who engage regularly in sport media consumption.

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