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Are Sport Consumers Unique? Consumer Behavior Within Crowded Sport Markets

Hunter Fujak, Stephen Frawley, Heath McDonald, and Stephen Bush

Sport consumers and markets have traditionally been thought to exhibit unique behaviors from traditional consumer products, particularly in respect to perceptions of loyalty. Yet, despite sport landscapes becoming increasingly crowded, there has been scant research measuring consumers’ repeat behavior in the context of the dense sports market. Through this research, we address this gap by applying Dirichlet modeling against the behaviors of 1,500 Australian sport consumers. Two questions are explored: First, do sport attendance markets exhibit purchase characteristics distinct from typical consumer markets? Second, do consumers treat sport leagues as complimentary or substitutable goods? The results provide evidence that consumer patterns within the sport attendance market are consistent to other repeat-purchase consumer markets. This finding further diminishes the long-held notion that sport requires unique methods of management. Furthermore, it was found that fans consume sport teams as complimentary products. As sport teams largely share their fans with other teams, practitioners must reorient their expectations around fan loyalty.