Establishing a strong fan base within the inaugural year of a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Program presents many challenges. Tracking consumers and their behavior becomes imperative as sport marketers seek to better understand the first fan adopters of a new program. With new NCAA football programs being established every year, sport marketers of a new program are challenged to not only find a loyal fan-base who will continue to support the program despite win or lose, but find new and innovative ways to grow their fan base. The purpose of this study was to examine attendance demographics and consumer behavior for the inaugural football season at a NCAA Division 1 program. Data were collected (n = 914) from a relatively equal distribution of fan groups (students- 34.8%, alumni- 32.9%, and other- 32.3%) via an in-person survey completed on a tablet interface. Results demonstrate that the level of fandom (temporary, devoted, or fanatic) impacts certain consumer behaviors, including; overall support of the program, media consumption, and game day behaviors.
Key words: First fan adopters, Division I football, consumer behavior.
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