Project Title

The Impact of Communitas and Liminality on Team Identification: What Should a New College Football Team’s Game Include to Attract More Students?

Presenters

Faculty Sponsor Name

Kyu-soo Chung

Abstract (300 words maximum)

The inaugural season of Kennesaw State’s football program was in 2015. Each season since then the team has been successful in athletic competition but has been struggling with the number of event attendees. A collegiate football game is a festival at which university students embrace and celebrate their culture and easily bond together without regard to one another’s ordinary social statuses. Such experiences can be explained by the twin concepts of liminality and communitas (Chalip, 2006; Lee et al., 2015). Liminal spaces are outside and in between the normal structures of everyday life and experience something undefined (Gennep, 1960). Communitas, meanwhile, is a strong sense of community associated with liminal experiences (Hayton, 2017). This strong sense of community promotes team identification—sport fans’ tendency to connect to a favorite team and to identify themselves with the team’s successes and failures (Heere & Katz, 2014). Liminality and communitas are unique experiences that fans are much more likely to experience when they are together participating as spectators in a live sporting event. Such an atmosphere may be especially critical for a new collegiate football team that needs to establish team identity among university students. Thus, the main purpose of this study was to identify the impact of liminality and communitas on team identification. Data was collected over the KSU’s six home games in 2017. The final sample consisted of 434 attendees. The 35% of them made their first visit to the home game. The results and discussions will be presented.

Project Type

Poster

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The Impact of Communitas and Liminality on Team Identification: What Should a New College Football Team’s Game Include to Attract More Students?

The inaugural season of Kennesaw State’s football program was in 2015. Each season since then the team has been successful in athletic competition but has been struggling with the number of event attendees. A collegiate football game is a festival at which university students embrace and celebrate their culture and easily bond together without regard to one another’s ordinary social statuses. Such experiences can be explained by the twin concepts of liminality and communitas (Chalip, 2006; Lee et al., 2015). Liminal spaces are outside and in between the normal structures of everyday life and experience something undefined (Gennep, 1960). Communitas, meanwhile, is a strong sense of community associated with liminal experiences (Hayton, 2017). This strong sense of community promotes team identification—sport fans’ tendency to connect to a favorite team and to identify themselves with the team’s successes and failures (Heere & Katz, 2014). Liminality and communitas are unique experiences that fans are much more likely to experience when they are together participating as spectators in a live sporting event. Such an atmosphere may be especially critical for a new collegiate football team that needs to establish team identity among university students. Thus, the main purpose of this study was to identify the impact of liminality and communitas on team identification. Data was collected over the KSU’s six home games in 2017. The final sample consisted of 434 attendees. The 35% of them made their first visit to the home game. The results and discussions will be presented.