Sport Spectators’ Motives in Japan and China

Review Paper on Sport Spectators’ Motives in Japan and China

Sporting events are consumed by an individual or a group of people for various reasons, and as a result, they are motivated in several ways. These people can be referred to as sports fans and they are so because they are motivated to attend a sporting event. Research on motivation for sports consumptions had culminated to the development of Scale of Sport Fan Motivation (SFMS). In that context, this review paper will evaluate two articles based on studying the underlying motives for sports spectators. The articles under review include Consumer Involvement in Sport Activities Impacts their Motivation for Spectating written by Hirotaka Matsuoka and Motives of Sport Spectators in China: A case study of the Chinese Super League which is written by Chengcheng Wang and Hirotaka Matsuoka.

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To begin with, both articles can be deduced to represent the motives of sports spectators in Asia. The first article was focused to study the J-League (Japanese Professional Football League) and how it influenced the motives of its consumers. On the other hand, the second article majorly discussed how the motives of sport fans can be studied in the Chinese Super League. Using the professional leagues in Japan and China, the author were trying to prove the validity of their research questions since both countries are considered to be Asian powerhouses in terms of development in sporting activities such as football.

The first article, Consumer Involvement in Sports Activities Impact their Motivation for Spectating by Hirotaka Matsuoka begins by providing an overview of its research topic. The author shows that Japan had experienced growth annually in terms of spectator sport industry. However, he states that although some football clubs are suffering the difficulty of attracting attendees which is often associated with financing and marketing. In this statement, he identifies that it is crucial that sport managers to comprehend the factors that are responsible for the customer’s need to watch sporting activities. This way, the author introduces the topic of the research in relation to Japan and also admits that it is the role of the sport manager to know the motives behind watching the J-League. According to the author, the main motives are identified as time, product acquisition, changed circumstances, product consumption, influences in marketing, and personal differences.  The author further proceeds to give reasons why individuals as spectators attended sporting events. The credibility of information has been cited with sources, but there is the question of reliability since the sources used in the section date 2001 backwards. The detailed overview helps the reader to understand the background of the research topic as well as providing adequate information related to the topic.

The second article, Motives of Sport Spectators in China: A case study of the Chinese Super League by Hirotaka Matsuoka and Chengcheng Wang begins with an overview of China since 1978 and how it has emerged to be the second largest economy alongside hosting the 29th Olympic Games. The sports industry in China are described to account for more than 0.5% of the country’s GDP. The background information in the topic has been oriented towards how professional teams generate their revenue from various sources. Most of the allusion has been drawn from the English Premier League to try and show how professional teams derive their revenues.

By making comparisons between the two articles in terms of preliminary information, the first article by Hirotaka is relatively relevant to the research topic as it briefly provides the factors that influence sport spectators to watch football in Japan. The second article does not focus on its research topic but rather is drawn towards how the sport leagues and club derive their revenue.

Both article approach a different outline in terms of what they intend to accomplish. The first article incorporates its background and literature review as a single part where facts and evidence have concisely provided and backed up with citations. However, the reliability of these sources is in question since they do not quality for “less than five years” criteria. The second article, conversely, has a background section as well as distinctive literature review. The literature review entails the background of the professional football in China where research studies acknowledge as being the most watched sport. The second part of the literature review discusses the motives of sport spectators in the context of Chinese Super League. The authors acknowledges that there are five systematic approaches that can be to quantify the motives and include; focus groups, AIO (Activity, Interest, and Opinion), qualitative research, motive research methods, and ethnography. The third part of the literature review entails how team attachment is related to motives that drives sport spectating.

In both articles, methodology forms a part of the research to investigate the motives behind sport spectators. Matsuoka, in the first article, use questionnaires as the main research method. The questionnaire was used to sample nine motives namely; aesthetics, achievement, escape, drama, physical skills, knowledge, team affiliation, social interaction, and family as the main independent variables in the research. The sampling technique for the respondents was by the means of a survey during a preseason game of a basketball. In the second article, Wang and Matsuoka also used questionnaires as the main research method which included the demographic information of the participant, motives, experience, and ‘intention of future attendance’. However, during the analysis of results, there are different models that have been used to evaluate data. Both article have used descriptive statistics as well as scale refinement in their analysis. Matsuoka, in the first article, employs comparative analysis by using the ANOVA. On the other hand, Wang includes sections such as confirmation of the model and regression analysis. In terms of detailed analysis, Wang has employed more analytic models to evaluate the motives behind sport spectators in China. Nonetheless, Matsuoka provides simple analytic methods which are helpful in easy translation of results.

The discussion of the results in both articles also had different results. However, there were limitations that were faced during the carrying out of the research study for both articles. The prevalent limitation for both articles was confirming the validity and reliability of scales that were used in exploring the motives of spectators. Generalizability of results beyond the professional basketball was also a limitation for both articles. As a result, in both articles, additional studies are required to focus on the motives in other sports in order to evaluate the issue in other countries.



Matsuoka, Hirotaka. (2014). Consumer Involvement in Sport Activities Impacts their Motivation for Spectating. Asian Sport Management Review. 7. 99-115.

Wang, C., & Matsuoka, H. (2014). Motives of sport spectators in China: a case study of the          Chinese Super League. International Journal of Sport Management and      Marketing15(1/2), 57.


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