How consumers decide to consume sport is a complex choice. Broadcast options have widened through new channels and content options while live attendance has improved through enhanced stadium quality and tailored customer experiences. Past research has suggested that consumers have strong preferences for one form of consumption over the other, including “media-dominant consumers” who rarely attend live. The authors present two studies to examine the channel preferences of sports consumers. The first is a large nationally representative survey that allowed us to profile consumption channel preferences and profile four distinct groups of sport consumers. The second focuses on more highly engaged fans—season ticket holders and explores the presence of media-dominant consumers for how satisfaction with core products is assessed differently by groups of consumers. The results suggest a need to tailor products around channel preferences and challenge the role of media consumption established in fan development models.
Adam Karg, Heath McDonald, and Civilai Leckie
Damien Whitburn, Adam Karg, and Paul Turner
Relationship marketing through digital forms of integrated marketing communications can provide sport organizations with a range of positive outcomes. Given decreasing participation, membership and funding pressures, sport organizations need to engage with current and prospective consumers to alleviate these concerns. Drawing on existing research in the digital communications setting, a framework illustrating the end to end integrated marketing communications function as implemented by governing bodies as a form of not-for-profit sporting organizations is presented and tested. Satisfaction with integrated marketing communications was shown to have a direct effect on relationship quality and behavioral intentions, including revenue raising, increasing participation, raising awareness, and enhancing public perception providing practical and theoretical benefits.
Adam Karg, Jeremy Nguyen, and Heath McDonald
Predicting attendance at events is important for efficient facility management and marketing to maximize crowds. Most work to date is conducted at the aggregate level; however, the large crowd size being predicted often means important individual decisions are masked. In many markets, increased nonattendance by season ticket holders (STHs) is being reported, which is troubling given they have prepaid and are expected to be highly loyal. To understand who attends, rather than just how many, the authors analyze the “no-show” behavior of over 5,900 individual STH of one professional team over a season. Results show that in addition to game viewing and quality conditions, age, tenure, expenditure, and prior game attendance are predictors of individual attendance decisions, with differences in how individuals are influenced by winning and uncertainty of outcome. The paper expands understanding of drivers of STH attendance decisions and provides guidance toward managerial strategies for STH management.
Jason Daniels, Thilo Kunkel, and Adam Karg
Acknowledging the prevalence of new brands and rebranding activities in the present sport landscape, the current research examined consumer perceptions of new sport brands over time. Season-ticket holders and fans (N = 7,590) of eight teams were tracked over the first 5 years of a league’s existence. Brand associations were measured with a free-thought listing technique, and a coding process surmised 18 brand associations related to teams in the league, with six representing benefits and 12 representing attributes. Initially, responses were attribute dominant; however, benefits increased proportionately over the 5-year period of exploration. Findings extend knowledge on the development of consumer-based brand associations of new sport brands over time, highlight contextual differences between brands, and demonstrate the impact of star players on teams within sport-brand architecture. Given their application to global sport settings, these findings have implications for sport managers who introduce new brands to the marketplace.
Andrea N. Eagleman, Adam Karg, and Ryan M. Rodenberg
This case explores the complex multi-layered governance structure in the international Olympic sport of gymnastics, describing in detail the governance structures and operations of each layer – the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG), which is the international federation for gymnastics, and the national governing bodies (NGB) of gymnastics in the United States and Australia, USA Gymnastics and Gymnastics Australia. While both NGBs highlighted in this case are deemed to be successful on an international level, the case reveals many subtle differences between the two, which can be discussed in both governance and organizational behavior contexts. Finally, the timely issue of age fraud in gymnastics and the response from each level of governance are presented and provide an opportunity for further in-depth discussion.
Adam Karg, Ali Tamaddoni, Heath McDonald, and Michael Ewing
Season ticket holders are a vital source of revenue for professional teams, but retention remains a perennial issue. Prior research has focused on broad variables, such as relationship tenure, game attendance frequency, and renewal intention, and has generally been limited to survey data with its attenuate problems. To advance this important research agenda, the present study analyzes team-supplied behavioral data to investigate and predict retention as a loyalty outcome for a single professional team over a 3-year period. Specifically, the authors embrace a broad range of loyalty measures and team performance to predict retention and employ novel data mining techniques to improve predictive accuracy.
Daniel Funk, Daniel Lock, Adam Karg, and Mark Pritchard
Sport consumer behavior (SCB) research continues to grow in both popularity and sophistication. A guiding principle in much of this research has focused on the nature of sport-related experiences and the benefits sport consumers derive from these experiences. This emphasis has generated new knowledge and insights into the needs and wants of sport consumers. Although these efforts have contributed to the field’s understanding of SCB, the vast majority of this research has centered on psychological phenomena and the evaluative and affective components of these sport experiences. Approaches to this work have also narrowed, with SCB research predominately relying on cross-sectional studies and attitudinal surveys to collect information. This has resulted in limited findings that seldom account for how various situational or environmental factors might influence attitudinal data patterns at the individual and group level. This special issues seeks to deepen our understanding of SCB by providing seven papers that demonstrate or validate findings using multiple studies or data collections.
Damien Whitburn, Chelsey Taylor, Paul Turner, and Adam Karg
Little research has investigated gender bias of organization communications, effects of bias on consumer perceptions and intentions, and resulting behaviors. A data scrape of social media and website content and a member survey of Australian not-for-profit sporting organizations provided data for this study. Variances were identified in content and consumer perceptions of messaging, with this shown to be related to gender. Influence of consumer perceptions on satisfaction, relationship quality, behavioral intentions, and consumer behaviors was observed. This highlights that gender bias impacts perceptions of organizational communications, presenting a barrier to engagement. In addition, gender-balanced messaging was shown to lead to greater participation, increased consumption of media, longevity of tenure of sport membership, increased instances of engagement, and higher levels of volunteerism. As such, strategies displaying gender equity can assist organizational efficiency and effectiveness in addition to providing community and participant benefits.