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Sport Consumer Behavior Research: Improving Our Game

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.

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Understanding the Lack of Diversity in Sport Consumer Behavior Research

Elizabeth B. Delia, E. Nicole Melton, Katherine Sveinson, George B. Cunningham, and Daniel Lock

Recognizing the important implications of sport spectating 1 for organizations and everyday people, researchers have studied sport consumer behavior extensively since the 1980s. Key topics include (but are not limited to) consumption motives, psychological connection, brand equity, image transfer

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Are Sport Consumers Unique? Consumer Behavior Within Crowded Sport Markets

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

). Along with new consumption formats, commercialization has also led to an expansion in volume of teams and leagues competing for consumer hearts and wallets ( James, Kolbe, & Trail, 2002 ). As Byon, Zhang, and Connaughton ( 2010 ) noted, “with such a crowded sport marketplace, sport consumers have many

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Channel Preferences Among Sport Consumers: Profiling Media-Dominant Consumers

Adam Karg, Heath McDonald, and Civilai Leckie

-making process of sport consumers. Multichannel marketing is neither new nor unique. For example, the “bricks and clicks” (Internet vs. physical store) dichotomy is one many retailers and service businesses now face. Multichannel approaches have allowed the servicing of disparate customer touchpoints that have

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The Effect of Partitioned Ticket Prices on Sport Consumer Perceptions and Enduring Attitudes

Ted Hayduk III, Natasha Brison, and Joris Drayer

moderators is important because industry reports commonly note that ticketing platforms have been sued for using PP, but the same consumers also make more purchases when exposed to PP ( Bradshaw, 2020 ; Osborne, 2015 ). 1 Thus, there is clearly an unobserved mechanism moderating how sport consumers

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A Conceptual Framework for Understanding Relationships Between Sport Consumers and Sport Organizations: A Relationship Quality Approach

Yu Kyoum Kim and Galen Trail

Sport consumers are increasingly discontented and disconnected with sport organizations and researchers have advocated a fundamental shift in sport marketing from a traditional exchange paradigm to a relationship paradigm. Relationship quality is critical to understanding sport consumer-organization relationships because it can: (a) render a platform to organize wide-ranging relational constructs; (b) provide insight into evaluating relationship-marketing effectiveness; and (c) diagnose and address problems in relationships. Therefore, we propose a conceptual framework of sport consumer-organization relationship quality that consists of three main components. First, we specify that relationship quality consists of five distinct but related relational constructs (trust, commitment, intimacy, self-connection, and reciprocity). Second, we suggest that relationship quality influences word of mouth, media consumption, licensed-product consumption, and attendance behaviors. Finally, we argue that psychographic factors such as relationship styles, relationship drive, and general interpersonal orientation are moderators, as well as demographic factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, region, and income.

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Habitually Scrolling: An Examination Into How Sport Consumers Use Social Media

Heather Kennedy and Daniel C. Funk

overlooked, there are indications of habit within sport media use. For instance, limited studies (viz., Billings et al., 2019 ; Lewis et al., 2017 ) have considered habitual use as a motive for media use. Moreover, there is evidence of sport consumers using the scan-and-shift style of media attention

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Fan Engagement in 15 Seconds: Athletes’ Relationship Marketing During a Pandemic via TikTok

Yiran Su, Bradley J. Baker, Jason P. Doyle, and Meimei Yan

As COVID-19 lockdowns force most sport leagues into hiatus, engaging fans has emerged as a key challenge confronting the sport industry. While navigating social distancing protocols, athletes are experimenting with new ways to connect with their fans. Alongside established social media platforms (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram), TikTok, a short-form video-sharing platform, has gained prominence in terms of registered users and shared content. Yet, little is known about the utility of TikTok as an athlete branding tool. This study uses a netnographic approach to explore the use of TikTok among athletes (N = 10) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings reveal that athlete-generated TikTok videos are characterized as playful and authentic. While athletes are recent adopters of TikTok, this emerging social media platform can be profitably integrated into their online branding strategies. Communicating via TikTok presents opportunities for athletes to foster existing fan relationships, promote branded content, and appeal to new fan segments. Overall, athletes and sport practitioners can leverage these findings to create content for an audience that is attracted to novelty and the activities of athletes extending beyond game highlights or interviews.

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Tracking Generation Y: A Contemporary Sport Consumer Profile

Julie Stevens, Anna Lathrop, and Cheri Bradish

In response to the recent impact of Generation Y in the sport marketplace, this researach article examines the association between consumer behavior preferences and two segmentation variables, gender and physical activity level, for an adolescent segment (ages 14-17 years) of Canadian Generation Y youth. Questionnaire results from a sample of 1,127 respondents yielded data related to various consumer preferences for sporting goods purchases. These factors include purchase decision making, price, frequency, location, and product features. Results indicate an association among Generation Y, gender, and physical activity level with respect to a number of consumer preferences related to sport footwear, apparel, and equipment. Discussion and implications address how sport marketers might interpret the consumer profile results according to both age and cohort perspectives.

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Existence of Mixed Emotions During Consumption of a Sporting Event: A Real-Time Measure Approach

Jun Woo Kim, Marshall Magnusen, and Hyun-Woo Lee

experience emotions of opposite valence (e.g.,  Larsen & McGraw, 2011 ), insufficient scholarly attention has been directed to the study of whether sport consumers experience positive and negative emotions simultaneously or sequentially during game consumption. Indeed, the extant body of sport consumer