Date of Publication

Spring 4-26-2015

Document Type

Undergraduate Project

Professor's Name

Dr. Katharine Burakowski


Many professional athletes across a wide variety of sport have obtained celebrity status and as a result, have become human brands much greater than themselves (Carlson and Donavan, 2013). Previous research analyzed specific cases, individual strategies, and consumer behaviors. However, this study has furthered new knowledge by obtaining a comprehensive description of the differing approaches set in place by the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League with regard to branding of individual athletes on Twitter. The purpose of this study was to determine in which ways do different sport leagues contrast in how they brand athletes on Twitter. A cross-sectional design was employed to adequately collect data needed with a population that consisted of Twitter accounts of MLB and NBA teams. Six teams from both of leagues were sampled and obtained through stratified random sampling based on number of followers to accurately represent the greater population. Secondary quantitative data was collected and analyzed via an independent t-test. Overall, NBA accounts maintained a significantly higher degree of focus on individual athletes than the NHL on Twitter. Because of this, NBA teams maintain a greater connection between fans and players, communicate more information about players’ personal lives, and have taken advantage of their ability to become the new gatekeeper.