Instagram Users’ Motives of Social Media Engagement with Female Athletes

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Abstract

The rise of women’s sports has attracted a growing number of fans, and Instagram has emerged as the most popular platform for sports enthusiasts. To better understand the reasons why fans engage with female athletes on Instagram, this study employed empirical survey data collected from 246 international sports consumers at EXPO 2021. The study used structural equation modeling to test its hypotheses and found that factors such as fandom, entertainment, social media popularity, and physical attraction were strong predictors of engagement with female athletes, whereas information played a negligible role. By understanding the factors that drive fans to engage with female athletes on Instagram, social media agencies can tailor their marketing strategies to maximize engagement and conversion rates. Female athletes themselves can also use this knowledge to better promote themselves on social media and connect with fans in a more effective and meaningful way.