National Football League (NFL) Fans’ Motivation and Identification

  • Jennifer Y Mak Marshall University
  • Carina King
  • Jinmoo Heo Yonsei University


This study examined the fans motivation to attend the National Football League (NFL) games and how it relates to fan identification. Data from 158 fans who attended regular season games in a Midwestern city in the United States were analyzed using regression to determine the degree to which fan identification could be explained by motivation factors. It was found that self-esteem, entertainment, escape, and eustress explained 40.1% of the variance in fan identification. Understanding that fans have different levels of identification and different types of motivations will enable sport marketers can better tailor strategies to more effectively reach target market.

Author Biographies

Jennifer Y Mak, Marshall University
Jennifer Mak is a Full Professor and Director of the Sport Management at Marshall University. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. from Indiana University - Bloomington as well as an MBA from Marshall University. She has served as editorial board member and reviewer and in different journals and conferences (e.g. Sport Management Education Journal, Event Management: an International Journal, American Marketing Association Marketing Educators' Conference, Academy of Management Annual Conference, etc).
Carina King
Carina King is a sports and leisure consultant with 20 years of higher education teaching experience. She received hers Ph.D. and M.S. from Indiana University – Bloomington
Jinmoo Heo, Yonsei University
Jinmoo Heo is an associate professor in the Department of Sport Industry Studies at Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea. He received his Ph.D. from Indiana University – Bloomington. He teaches undergraduate and graduate event management courses.
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