Co-Attendance Communities: A Multilevel Egocentric Network Analysis of American Soccer Supporters' Groups.
Published on Jul 9, 2021in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health3.39
· DOI :10.3390/IJERPH18147351
The growth of professional soccer in the United States is evident through the rapid expansion of franchises and increased game attendance within Major League Soccer (MLS) and the United Soccer League (USL). Coinciding with this growth is the emergence of European-style supporters’ groups filling sections of MLS and USL stadiums. In this study, the authors utilized an egocentric network analysis to explore relationships among supporters’ group members for two professional soccer clubs based in the United States. Egocentric network research focuses on the immediate social environment of individuals and is often viewed as an alternative approach to sociocentric (i.e., whole network) analyses. This study employed hierarchical linear modeling as an example of multilevel modeling with egocentric data, using ego- and alter-level variables to explain the strength of co-attendance ties. The results indicate the perceived commitment of fellow fans to the team, shared membership in a supporters’ group, age, and interactions with other fans in team settings related to higher levels of co-attendance. The outcomes of this study are both theoretical, as they advance an understanding of sport consumer behavior within soccer supporters’ groups, and methodological, as they illustrate the unique value of employing egocentric network analysis in sport fan research.