Football in the context of China: exploring the social media strategy and fan experiences

Wu, Yue (2023) Football in the context of China: exploring the social media strategy and fan experiences. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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In recent decades, with the development of economy, sports, and particularly football, have received constant attention and have developed rapidly in China. The development and growing maturity of social media have accelerated this process, which has further expanded the size of the football market in China. However, in the academic domain, limited attention has been paid to the development of Chinese social media platforms, particularly in relation to sport branding issues. Research into social media strategy and fan experience in the Chinese context still remain in its infancy. To address these gaps, the research aims fulfilled by this thesis exploring how social media was used by professional sport brands related to branding purposes, and how sport fans were motivated to use social media.

To achieve these objectives, qualitative interviews and quantitative content analysis were employed. Five clubs, three European and two Chinese clubs, were selected as the target samples. Ten club communication managers and twenty-five loyal fans were interviewed. 2144 social media posts were collected and examined by content analysis.

The research results find that visual content, including Image and Video, are the most popular post types. The trend towards greater use of Video over recent years, will make this increasingly important in the future. The first team related content still constitutes the core information posted by clubs, but other content with non-product-related attributes also plays an important role in enhancing fan engagement and identification. The research into fan experience reveals that fans are primarily motivated by informational needs, but would like to access more professional, exclusive, and high-quality content. Moreover, Weibo is found to be an appropriate platform for information dissemination and information seeking, which supports the conclusions of previous research. These findings extend the knowledge of sports branding and marketing, fan research and social media study, particularly in the context of China. The research also has practical implications for professionals responsible for social media branding in the Chinese market.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Culture and Creative Arts
Supervisor's Name: Boyle, Professor Raymond and Doyle, Professor Gillian
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83498
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2023 16:48
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2023 09:54
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83498

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