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Chen and Frye publish article on athletics and social media

Dr. Steve ChenRyan Frye
Morehead State Professor of Sport Management Dr. Steve Chen and Athletics Media Staff Assistant Ryan Frye (17) (18) (20) recently published an article exploring how social media marketing affects sporting event attendance.  

The article, "Content Analysis of a Collegiate Athletic Twitter Account: Practical Applications for Promotion and Attendance Increase," was published in the Applied Research in Coaching and Athletics Annual. Dr. Ken Henderson, retired professor of marketing, co-authored the article. Chen and Frye's study explored different types of Twitter messages sent by a collegiate athletic department. It analyzed the impact of these messages on attendance at home athletic events during the NCAA football season. The data examined five message categories: interactivity, content, promotional, information sharing and noise. Results suggested that while noise was prevalent, messages about the studied sports were impactful. The types of messages sent by a college athletic department could impact attendance at the institution's home athletic events.   

Frye said he was interested in studying social media's impact on game attendance after reading an article discussing social media use by WNBA franchises and how the franchises represented themselves to their fan base through Twitter.  

"I wanted to figure out how to apply those classifications to my position as an Athletic Media Relations Graduate Assistant while also deducing the best way to utilize the social media postings that I was helping craft for the Morehead State Athletics' accounts," Frye said. "With Dr. Chen's previous experience researching attendance and fan bases, especially looking at fan bases and attendance at small, regional, NCAA Division I institutions, the decision to tie the categorization of tweet types to attendance was a natural connection."  

Chen said the work he and Frye did benefits MSU athletics programs directly.   

"It was my pleasure to collaborate with Ryan for this project," said Chen. "His work has helped our athletic program to value the advantages and use of various social media platforms. It also helped him earn the honor of top paper in sport marketing track for the Association of Marketing Theory & Practice (AMTP) annual conference."  

Frye said he is honored by the recognition.  

"Seeing the article presented in an academic journal wasn't something I was expecting when the research began but it's very rewarding knowing the time that went into the research. I truly hope that through its publication, the findings of the research will be able to help others in the field," he said.   

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