A qualitative examination of the motivations behind participating in KU basketball camping
University of Kansas
Health, Sport and Exercise Sciences
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There are many rituals which sport fans partake in during or around a game that they are attending, and many of these take shape as ancillary events, such as tailgating. At the University of Kansas (KU), there is an ancillary event called KU basketball camping which is a ritual that allows students to obtain the best seats in the student section. Students who participate in camping spend time “camped out” in Allen Fieldhouse throughout the entire basketball season in order to be awarded seats in the front or heart of the student section. Being as there is minimal research on why fans participate in these ritualistic events, the purpose of this study was to uncover the motivations of KU basketball campers. To gather a deep interpretation of the overarching motivations of campers, the author conducted qualitative, semi-structured interviews with students who were participating in KU basketball camping. The results of these interviews discovered the most prevalent motivations to participate in camping to be the game itself, upholding tradition, and their identification with the team. The finding of upholding tradition as a motivation to participate in KU basketball camping was the most novel and deserves the most future consideration, especially in other sport ritualistic behavior contexts. This contribution to the literature also had practical contributions, primarily in sport marketing. This study is useful as motivations for sport fans to participate in rituals has been sparsely examined, and it compliments past research which has found the benefits of ritualistic behavior in sport. This study is impactful, especially as the study of ritualistic behavior involving sport is in its infancy.
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