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A New Age of Demand-Based Pricing: An Examination of Dynamic Ticket Pricing and Secondary Market Prices in Major League Baseball

Stephen L. Shapiro and Joris Drayer

In 2010, the San Francisco Giants became the first professional team to implement a comprehensive demand-based ticket pricing strategy called dynamic ticket pricing (DTP). In an effort to understand DTP as a price setting strategy, the current investigation explored Giants’ ticket prices during the 2010 season. First, the relationship between fixed ticket prices, dynamic ticket prices, and secondary market ticket prices for comparable seats were examined. In addition, seat location and price changes over time were examined to identify potential effects on ticket price in the primary and secondary market. Giants’ ticket price data were collected for various games throughout the 2010 season. A purposive selection of 12 games, which included (N = 1,316) ticket price observations, were chosen in an effort to include a multitude of game settings. Two ANOVA models were developed to examine price differences based on pricing structure, market, section, and time. Findings showed significant differences between fixed ticket prices, dynamic ticket prices, and secondary market ticket prices, with fixed ticket prices on the low end and secondary market ticket prices on the high end of the pricing spectrum. Furthermore, time was found to have a significant influence on ticket price; however, the influence of time varied by market and seat location. These findings are discussed and both theoretical and practical implications are considered.

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Fantasy Millionaires: Identifying At-Risk Consumers Based on Motivation

Joris Drayer, Brendan Dwyer, and Stephen L. Shapiro

The daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry came under heavy criticism for marketing messages focused on the potential for financial gain despite overwhelming evidence that only a small percentage of participants were actually winning money. Under pressure, many DFS websites are shifting their focus toward the activity’s entertainment value. The purpose of the current study is to determine if participants exhibit cognitive and behavioral differences based on their reason for playing. In this study, a sample of DFS participants was segmented based on intrinsic (entertainment) and extrinsic (financial gain) motivation scores. Once separated, cognitive and behavioral contrasts were drawn. The results indicated those individuals motivated by financial gain were more similar to problem gamblers cognitively, yet those intrinsically motivated spent more time and money on the activity. Given the changing legal status of sports betting in the United States, managers and policymakers should carefully consider the risks associated with DFS participation.

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To Play or Not to Play? An Analysis of Dispositions, Gambling, and Daily Fantasy Sport

Brendan Dwyer, Joris Drayer, and Stephen L. Shapiro

Following a mega-advertising blitz in the late summer of 2015, daily fantasy sports (DFSs) entered a maturing fantasy sports market as a new, highly accessible, and potentially lucrative alternative to traditional, season-long fantasy sports. The two activities share a name but represent substantially different business models. In the view of some policy makers and state legislatures, DFS appeared to resemble a new form of sports wagering and as a result, several U.S. states banned the activity. The current study examined the consumption behavior differences and gambling-related dispositions of those fantasy participants who play DFS and those who do not. A total of 314 fantasy football participants were surveyed, and the results contribute to what we know about gambling and DFS participation. Although distinct differences were found between the two groups, the overall assessment of the findings suggest DFS participation appears to align more with highly involved traditional, season-long fantasy sports participation than other forms of gambling.

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An Analysis of Multiple Spectator Consumption Behaviors, Identification, and Future Behavioral Intentions Within the Context of a New College Football Program

Stephen L. Shapiro, Lynn L. Ridinger, and Galen T. Trail

The growth of college sport over the last several years, combined with increased competition for the sport consumer dollar, has created a need to understand spectator consumption behavior. In addition, the impact of a new football program can generate interest that influences future spectator spending decisions. Using identity theory as a framework, the current study examined the differential effects of past sport consumer behaviors on various future sport consumer intentions within the context of a new college football program. Consumption intentions included attendance, sponsor support, and merchandise purchases. Furthermore, this investigation helped to determine how much variance past behaviors would explain in behavioral intentions after controlling for nine points of attachment. Data were collected from spectators of a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) football program located in the Mid-Atlantic region. The findings suggest past behavior predicted future intentions; however, the amount of variance explained varied dramatically depending on specific past behaviors and points of attachment. These results can help sport marketers develop strategies to capitalize on the interest generated through new athletic programs.

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A Segmentation Analysis of American Sports Bettors by Involvement

Brendan Dwyer, Stephen L. Shapiro, and Joris Drayer

Sports betting in the United States is exploding in popularity and has the potential to change the way sports fans interact with sports properties and sports content. However, not all sports bettors are the same, and market segmentation research provides a resource for more targeted communication and marketing strategies. Utilizing behavioral and psychographic data, the current study segmented 1,077 sports bettors by involvement. The segments were then contrasted on a number of factors within the framework of Mowen’s 3M model of motivation and personality. A sample of 513 nonbetting sports fans was also included as a segment within the analyses. Statistically significant differences were found at the motivational, elemental, compound, and surface trait levels between the betting segments and between the betting and the nonbetting sports fans. The findings point to a strong emotional draw regardless of involvement yet a clear need for the betting industry to educate on issues related to jurisdictional legality and common language.

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Factors Affecting the Price of Luxury Suites in Major North American Sports Facilities

Stephen L. Shapiro, Tim DeSchriver, and Daniel A. Rascher

Luxury suites have become a key revenue source and an important element of sport facility design for professional sport organizations. There are a variety of factors influencing the pricing of luxury suites; however, the recent recession has impacted the premium seat sales market significantly. The current investigation was the first empirical examination of luxury suite pricing determinants for professional sport facilities. An economic model, utilizing multiple regression analysis, was constructed to examine the relationship between the current price of luxury suites for major North American professional sports facilities and selected demographic, economic, and team/facility/league-specific explanatory variables, in a uncertain economic climate. The final economic models were found to be significant, explaining 57% and 60% of the variability in luxury suite prices, respectively. Significant variables of interest included team performance and league affiliation, which had a positive influence and the number of competing venues, which had a negative influence on luxury suite prices. The current findings further the body of knowledge in the pricing of admissions to sporting events though the development of the first pricing determinants models for luxury suites, which take into consideration the tenuous economic environment.

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Tell Me How You Really Feel: Analyzing Debate, Desire, and Disinhibition in Online Sports News Stories

Craig A. Morehead, Brendan O’Hallarn, and Stephen L. Shapiro

The Internet has drastically changed how society seeks and consumes information. One influential change in the communication process is the widespread use—and perhaps abuse—of user-generated content. If provided a frame of reference to help direct the discussion, such as a news story, comment functions can act as a proxy “town hall” in a virtual setting. Unique to this cyber town hall, however, is the sense of anonymity that leads some users to post content they would not normally voice in a public context. This investigation intertwines uses-and-gratifications theory and online disinhibition effect by analyzing anonymous-comment postings on a newspaper Web site. Seven newspaper stories on the campus master plan and football-stadium proposal at Old Dominion University demonstrate the sociological underpinnings where sports, education, economics, and politics intersect in an anonymous forum where users can relay their opinion on the subject while remaining invisible and unidentified.

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Using Artificial Intelligence to Detect the Relationship Between Social Media Sentiment and Season Ticket Purchases

Nels Popp, James Du, Stephen L. Shapiro, and Jason M. Simmons

Sport marketing researchers and practitioners have suggested that sport organizations that effectively engage in social media conversations with fans are likely to influence fan behavior. Few prior studies have empirically examined the relationship between social media engagement and sport product purchases, particularly event tickets. The current study utilized artificial intelligence to examine eight user sentiments on official sport organizations’ Twitter accounts, then determine if those sentiments were related to season ticket sales. Three years of season ticket data were obtained from 62 NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams and utilized in a regression model, which also identified Twitter sentiment scores from 176,439 posts captured from the official Twitter account of those programs. A final model, which included several control variables, explained 65.7% of the variance in season ticket sales, with the lagged sentiments of “joy” (positive) and “sadness” (negative) having a statistically significant relationship with season tickets sold.

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Sport, Twitter Hashtags, and the Public Sphere: A Qualitative Test of the Phenomenon Through a Curt Schilling Case Study

Brendan O’Hallarn, Stephen L. Shapiro, Marion E. Hambrick, D.E. Wittkower, Lynn Ridinger, and Craig A. Morehead

Popular social media platforms have faced recent criticism because of the tendency for users to exhibit strongly negative behaviors, threatening the open, prodemocratic discourse that proponents believe was made possible when social media sites first gained widespread adoption a decade ago. A conceptual model suggests that the microblogging site Twitter, and especially sport-themed debate through hashtags, can still realize these ideals. Analyzing a dataset of tweets about the firing of former Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling by ESPN on April 20, 2016, as well as a qualitative questionnaire given to the users of the hashtag, this study attempted to ascertain how closely the discourse comes to realizing the ideal of the Habermasian public sphere. The findings demonstrate that although users draw value from participation in the discussion, they are less inclined to desire interaction with other hashtag users, particularly those who disagree with them. This suggests that Twitter hashtags provide an open forum that approaches the participatory requirement of the public sphere, but the lack of back-and-forth engagement suggests the medium is not ideal for the generation of deliberative public opinion.