In-group Cultivating Characteristics of Online Sports Media:
A Case Study of Three Prominent Sports Media Internet Websites
Michigan State University
The cultivation of a sense of in-group identity is an important aim in the areas of marketing and advertising. Existing research has analyzed the various ways in which marketing and advertising can persuade an individual to have a sense of belonging or brand loyalty to a particular product or organization. The theoretical framework, Social Identity Theory, posits that certain intergroup behaviors occur and can be predicted on the basis of the perceived prominence, acceptability and permeability of the in-group environment. The Theory of Planned Behavior postulates that positive attitudes and a desire to adhere to subjective norms have a large impact on affecting behavioral intentions. The purpose of this research is to identify characteristics of certain representative sports websites in order to separate and place into categories the types of existing mediated messages that are disseminated to those who visit such web addresses. Based on the results of this exploratory study, the researcher proposes a theoretical model on the process by which in-group behavior can influence loyalty and, subsequently, the desire to comply with corporate marketing intentions.