Sport plays a significant role in societies worldwide and this has lead to an increase in the interest in sports fans’ behaviour. South Africans regard rugby as an important role player in their country, national culture - and also as a symbol of hope. This study aimed to enhance the knowledge of fans’ loyalty; and it also addressed the issue of a distinguished scale that can measure fans’ loyalty in the South African rugby context. Furthermore, this study aimed to increase the understanding regarding the determinants of rugby fans’ loyalty in South Africa. This replication study (a repeat of a previous study) investigated the application and relevance of Funk’s (2001:2) Sport Interest Inventory (SII) scale in the South African Super 14 rugby context. The Sport Interest Inventory (SII) scale measures twelve determinants of fan loyalty, namely: bonding with family, bonding with friends, drama, entertainment value, escape, excitement, player interest, role model, socialisation, team interest, vicarious achievement and sports interest. Identifying the determinants of fan loyalty can result in guidelines that can be used by sports marketers to improve their marketing campaigns. This will assist them in identifying related sports products that are essential to rugby fans. This will result in a more profitable sports’ team. The first step in this study was to synthesise a conceptual framework of the relationships between fan loyalty and the identified determinants of fan loyalty from the relevant literature. This was followed by a survey conducted at the Loftus Versveld Stadium, where Super 14 rugby fans of local Super 14 rugby teams were asked to participate in the study. The resulting data were analysed by using multiple regression analysis. The results of the multiple regression analysis identified sport interest, family bonding, escape and team interest as significant determinants of fan loyalty. The first implication for managers is to focus on sport interest as a significant determinant of fan loyalty. Sport interest indicates an interest in rugby as a sport in general. Therefore, management is advised to focus on developing programmes focused on increasing the knowledge and interest of fans in the Super 14 rugby tournament. Secondly, managers should start identifying and creating methods of focusing the attention of their marketing mix on the escape, family bonding and team interest determinants which may increase the attendance levels of Super 14 rugby games.
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2011.