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Hojun Sung, Brian M. Mills and Michael Mondello

This paper estimates determinants of local market television viewership demand for Major League Soccer (MLS). We examine the effects of team quality and outcome uncertainty and compare our estimates to recent work on the determinants of MLS attendance. We find that local viewership for MLS is not particularly sensitive to uncertainty over game outcomes. However, we do find effects of local team quality and visiting superstars on viewership levels. The results also exhibit evidence of pure substitution effects where viewership transfers to attendance demand as the season progresses, and in which viewership is substituted for attendance in the face of sellouts or poor weather conditions. Team strategy and league policy implications are discussed, along with directions for future research on MLS and local viewership demand.

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Adam Karg, Heath McDonald and Civilai Leckie

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.