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Bradley J. Baker, Jeremy S. Jordan and Daniel C. Funk

The authors investigated the influence of consumer characteristics (prior race experience, gender, age, education, family structure, and area of residence) on event satisfaction and the satisfaction–repeat participation link in the context of a long-distance running event. Based on a survey of runners (N = 3,295) combined with registration data from two races, results suggest characteristics that commonly influence satisfaction in nonsport contexts fail to demonstrate similar effects in participant sport events. Results provide evidence that first-time marathon participation and variety-seeking behavior specific to running represent meaningful predictors of decreased future event participation behavior. Evidence is provided of a linear satisfaction–behavior relationship. In addition, the impact of using behavioral intention as a proxy for behavior in academic research is examined, indicating that caution must be observed regarding inherent differences between the constructs. Results from the current study provide sport organizations with a better understanding of why consumers make repeat purchases of sport-related experience products.

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Heather Kennedy, Bradley J. Baker, Jeremy S. Jordan and Daniel C. Funk

Market trends indicate the distance running event industry is facing a running recession. Since 2013, consumer demand has declined annually while supply increased. The current research provides insight into why running as a recreational activity is declining and implications for organized events’ utility. Based on seven years of participants’ postevent surveys from a long-distance running event, the value placed on hedonic, symbolic, and lifestyle features of running (i.e., running involvement) is gradually declining, which corresponds to a decline in annual event participation. Results are based on analyses of both a time series of cross-sections (N = 23,790) and a panel of multiyear respondents (n = 461). Also, there are gender differences in the rates at which running involvement declined. These results shed light onto a sociopsychographic explanation for the declining levels of running event participation and general interest in running.