Graduate Program

Communication Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Matthew J. Gill

Thesis Committee Member

Melanie Mills

Thesis Committee Member

Brian C. Sowa


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs are becoming more relevant, especially in professional sports. Community members have begun to expect sport organizations to have charitable foundations, given that they are in a perfect position to have successful CSR programs. Explained through team identification and social identity theory, CSR programs provide a great opportunity to bring fans together and foster team identification. CSR programs should help fans develop a positive social identity, by allowing them to become part of a group and interact with other fans. If a person is a fan of a team that helps its community and does good things, then simply being a member of that group and being associated with that team should ultimately boost that person's self-esteem. This will lead to personal and social benefits for that fan and therefore ultimately strengthen the fan's team identification by providing a way for them to become more involved with the team.