Examining the Psychological Commitment and Motivation for Attending a Non-Ticketed Event: A Case Study of ESPN’s College GameDay

David J. Shonk – James Madison University
Joshua R. Pate – James Madison University
Cindy Lee – West Virginia University
Alyssa T. Bosley – James Madison University


The primary purpose of this study was to understand the relationship between excitement motivation and psychological commitment to a sport-related non-ticketed event on a college campus. The study employed a cross-sectional survey design and a convenience sample consisting of persons attending ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast on the campus of James Madison University. Findings from the study suggest that the higher commitment level of participants connected to higher levels of motives. In addition, the results from the study suggested that spectator motivations might differ across ticketed and non-ticketed events. The dimension of “community” primarily explained attendance at the football game, while “amusement” was the primary motivator for attending the ESPN GameDay broadcast. Practical implications are discussed as to how intercollegiate sport administrators can leverage the finding that “amusement” was the main motivator to attend this non-ticketed event.