Coping with a Cluttered Marketplace: Athlete Choice of Products to Support Training*

in Journal of Sport Management
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  • 1 Victoria University
  • | 2 University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
  • | 3 University of Texas at Austin
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To determine whether athletes are confused about supplementation, this study examines the relative levels of adult runners’ and triathletes’ preferences for postexercise recovery drink attributes (price, fat, taste, scientific evidence, and endorsement by a celebrity athlete), and the ways those preferences segment. It then examines the effect of athlete characteristics on segment and drink choice. Only a plurality of athletes (40.6%) chose a carbohydrate-protein postexercise recovery drink (the optimal choice), despite the fact that they valued scientific evidence highly. Athletes disliked or were indifferent to endorsement by a celebrity athlete, moderately disliked fat, and slightly preferred better tasting products. Cluster analysis of part-worths from conjoint analysis identified six market segments, showing that athletes anchored on one or two product attributes when choosing among alternatives. Multinomial logistic regression revealed that media influence, hours trained, market segment, gender, and the athlete’s sport significantly predicted drink choice, and that segment partially mediated the effect of sport on drink choice. Findings demonstrate confusion among athletes when there are competing products that each claim to support their training.

Newland is with the Dept. of International Business, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Chalip is head of Dept. of Recreation, Sport, and Tourism, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, Il.

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