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

Greenwell, T. Christopher

Author's Keywords

Sport; Sporting goods; Diffusion; Cycling; Innovation; Communication


Sporting goods--Marketing; Sporting goods industry--Marketing


US consumers spend $87 million annually on sporting goods and services (National Sporting Goods Association, 2008). Each year sporting goods manufacturers also spend millions of dollars creating innovative products for consumers looking to improve their playing performances and enjoyment of the sport (Reisinger, 2002). Manufacturers want to receive adequate returns on their research and development investments and create innovations consumers support and want to buy (Berman & McLaughlin, 1973). To facilitate the dissemination of innovations, manufacturers provide information about their innovations to increase product awareness and help consumers make informed purchasing decisions (Rogers, 2003). The purpose of the current study was to examine the role of communication in the dissemination of innovations. The study focused on linkages as the vehicles through which information about innovations is spread. A series of two-way factorial ANOVAs was used to examine three linkage types--relational, operational, and technological--and their individual and combined effects on the dissemination of innovations, operationalized as product involvement and purchase intentions. The study also explored innovation type, whether an innovation as a good or service had an effect on an individual's decision to learn more about or purchase an innovation. Finally, the study examined the roles of sport commitment and club commitment, assessing the effects of an individual's commitment to a sport or to a sports club on the dissemination process. The results revealed (a) linkage type alone did not influence product involvement or purchase intentions, (b) innovation type influenced purchase intentions, (c) commitment affected which linkage type was most effective in influencing purchase intentions, and (d) commitment alone influenced product involvement and purchase intentions. Sport commitment and club commitment proved critical to the dissemination of innovations. Club members with higher levels of both commitment types expressed greater interest in learning about and purchasing innovations. Innovation type had an effect as club members expressed greater interest in purchasing the good versus the service.