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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2015
Thesis number: 14274
Passive fans experiences and insights into engagement in ice hockey organizations Facebook pages
Author: Utriainen, Tuomas
Title: Passive fans experiences and insights into engagement in ice hockey organizations Facebook pages
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; urheilu; sports; sosiaalinen media; social media; suhdemarkkinointi; relationship marketing; yleisö; audience; identiteetti; identity
Pages: 112
Key terms: Facebook; sport marketing; urheilumarkkinointi; social media; sosiaalinen media; social marketing; sosiaalinen markkinointi; social media engagement; osallistaminen sosiaalisessa mediassa; fan engagement; fanien osallistaminen; relationship marketing; suhdemarkkinointi; fan identification; fani-identiteetti

The main purpose of this study is to enhance awareness of how professional Finnish ice hockey organizations could harness more comprehensively the potential existing in passive fans by increasing their engagement in Facebook. Social media and especially Facebook are known to be effective vehicles for sport organizations to create stronger relationships with fans, enhance fan identification and increase fans commitment to a team. However, there is a lack of information regarding factors that affect in particular the engagement of passive fans. Therefore this research focuses on gaining more in-depth knowledge and insights from passive fans perspective about the issues and elements that have an effect on their engagement, and about their actual motives to engage in ice hockey organizations Facebook pages.


The research is interpretative and qualitative in nature. The empirical data was obtained by interviewing eight Finnish ice hockey fans that met the criteria used for defining the concept of passive fan. Existential phenomenological research approach and methods were used to gather and interpret the empirical data.

Key findings:

It is revealed that by long-term and strategic approach to Facebook updating, sport organizations can increase the engagement of passive fans. The key findings discover the most common themes of content and other issues that have an impact on passive fans engagement, and demonstrate their affiliation with each other. It is found that the most relevant content for this fan segment consists especially of continuous stream of news regarding team and players (on and off the rink); of promotional incentives; and of exclusive and entertaining content. Moreover, teams are emphasized to show emotions and their identity in updates; to stress occasionally the history and locality of the team; and to encourage fans to participate in general decision-making processes and fun competitions every now and then. Also, the way content is displayed has a particular importance, as for instance personal tone of voice and the usage of good-quality pictures in updates were highly valued. The findings enable sport organizations to develop and implement more purposeful, compelling and engaging social media marketing strategies also for this important fan segment, in the social media giant Facebook.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.