Understanding how spectators make decisions among the multiplicity of sport alternatives is important to the development of marketing strategies. In this study, a hierarchical choice framework was adopted to help illuminate the process in which individuals deal with sport substitution decisions within one university setting. In a forced-choice experiment, 419 college students were presented with existing sport offerings and asked, under constraint-free conditions, to make attendance choices with and without the most preferred alternative available. By observing students’ choices, the choice process was inferred based on the degree of switching that occurred between the two scenarios and tested whether it followed a hierarchical scheme. Results supported a “tree” structure for attendance choices, in which students consider the specific sport before considering the alternatives within the sport. Thus, under the conditions tested substitution was more likely to occur between alternatives of the same sport than either between different sports with the same sex of participants or proportionally across all alternatives.
Ferreira is with the Dept. of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.