Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

College of Education and Human Development

Committee Chair

Hums, Mary A.

Author's Keywords

Sport consumption; Asian; Acculturation; Fan identification; Ethnic identity; Ethnic player


Asian Americans--Cultural assimilation; Acculturation--United States; Sports spectators--United States; Consumer behavior--Social aspects--United States


According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2011), ethnic minority populations in the U.S. constituted over one-third (approximately 126 million) of the total U.S. population in 2010 (approximately 300.8 million) (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). With such rapidly increasing diversity of the U.S. population, sport marketers and researchers have become interested in targeting ethnic minority groups as niche markets to expand their fan bases. While the literature on sport consumption behaviors have solely focused on sociodemographic, individual, and psychographic factors, very limited attention was paid to cultural-related factors, such as acculturation and ethnic identity. Thus, the need to investigate the role of the two cultural factors in attracting various ethnic minorities to a sport consumption setting was identified. The primary purpose of the current study was to develop sport consumption models for the Asian population living in the U.S., based on (a) ethnic identity, (b) acculturation, (c) identifications (points of attachment), and (d) consumption for the respective identification. Specifically, three different models were developed and tested according to types of identification [identification with an ethnic player (IEP), identification with a popular sport in a native country (IPSNC), and identification with a popular sport in a host country (IPSHC)] and types of consumption [consumption for a team with ethnic player (CTEP), consumption for a popular sport in a native country (CPSNC), and consumption for a popular sport in a host country (CPSHC). The current study also examined the impact of four acculturation strategies (integration, assimilation, separation, and marginalization) on identifications and consumption behaviors, based on Berry's (1990) bi-dimensional model of acculturation. Survey data (N = 291) were collected from four Asian subgroups: (a) Chinese, (b) Japanese, (c) Korean, and (d) Taiwanese. The sport consumption models were then tested by structural equation modeling (SEM). Within all the three sport consumption models, ethnic identity and acculturation were negatively correlated. Ethnic identity significantly influenced identification in the Ethnic Player (IEP) and Native Sport (IPSNC) Models. However, ethnic identity did not directly influence consumption in all the three structural models. Acculturation significantly influenced only identification in the Host Sport Model (IPSHC). Regarding the relationship with consumption, acculturation only significantly influenced consumption in the Ethnic Player Model (CTEP). Lastly, within all the three structural models, identification significantly influenced consumption. With respect to the acculturation strategies, the results revealed significant differences in the three identification and consumption factors among the four acculturation strategies. More specifically, Asians using integration and separation strategies were more likely to identify with and consume sport products reflecting attributes of their native countries (ethnic player and popular sports in a native country) than those using assimilation and marginalization strategies. For sport products reflecting attributes of the U.S. (popular sports in a host country), Asians using integration and assimilation strategies were more inclined to identify and consume the host popular sports than those using separation and marginalization strategies. The current study extends the literature on ethnic minorities' sport consumption behavior, by incorporating the two cultural factors, ethnic identity and acculturation. Sport researchers and practitioners should further examine the two cultural factors to better understand sport consumption behaviors of ethnic minority groups.