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This article reports the findings of an investigation into the atmosphere in stadiums during live team sports. Experiencing this special atmosphere represents an essential part of the total service provided by the organizers of sport events. However, existing research into the concept of atmosphere focuses on the retail environment. Our first step was therefore to define sport stadium atmosphere as a theoretical construct, drawing on theories from environmental psychology. We then developed a mimic (multiple indicator-multiple cause) model to measure the construct. To specify the mimic model, we generated and selected formative measures by means of a delphi study (N = 20), qualitative expert interviews (N = 44), and an indicator sort task (N = 34). The results indicate that various physical and social aspects of the stadium environment are causal indicators of sport stadium atmosphere. Following this, we conducted phenomenological interviews with spectators at sport events (N = 5) to identify typical affective responses to stadium environment (representing the reflective indicators of the mimic model). These interviews revealed that fans’ experience of stadium environment is characterized by high levels of arousal and pleasure. In addition to our findings, the mimic model developed in this study represents a useful tool for future research into sport stadium atmosphere.
Uhrich and Benkenstein are with the Institute of Marketing and Services Research, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany.