Title: Cultural differences in sports fan engagement on Facebook: a comparison of Australian and Indian cricket league

Authors: Balamurugan Annamalai; R.V. ShabbirHusain; Shabana Chandrasekaran; Sanjeev Varshney

Addresses: Indian Institute of Management Sambalpur, Sambalpur, Odisha-768019, India ' S P Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai, Maharashtra-400058, India ' Xavier Institute of Management, XIM University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha-751013, India ' Xavier School of Management – XLRI, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand-831001, India

Abstract: The study explores the impact of cultural differences on social media fan engagement depending on the post content shared on social media. The differential impact on fan engagement with regard to team performance is also explored. Around 1,500 Facebook posts across four cricket teams from the cricket leagues of Australia and India were evaluated. Analysis of variance was used to test the effect of the post content, team performance, and cultural differences on affective fan engagement. First, fans are likelier to have higher engagement with posts that deal with individual sports person than the team and this effect is more pronounced in countries with higher power distance. Second, our study has established that fans are likelier to have higher engagement with better performing teams and this effect is more pronounced in countries with higher collectivism. This is the first study to explore the cultural differences and the impact of player versus team-related content types on social media engagement metrics in sports fan engagement. The study results have direct implications on developing the social media content strategy for sports clubs across different cultures.

Keywords: Australia; cricket; culture; Facebook; fan engagement; India; individualism; power-distance; social media marketing; sports.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2022.121251

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2022 Vol.22 No.1/2, pp.120 - 141

Accepted: 28 Jul 2021
Published online: 24 Feb 2022 *

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