Constraints and Motivators: A New Model to Explain Sport Consumer Behavior

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Journal of Sport Management, 2010, 24, 190-210 © 2010 Human Kinetics, Inc.

Constraints and Motivators: A New Model to Explain Sport Consumer Behavior Yu Kyoum Kim
Florida State University

Galen Trail
Seattle University
This study focused on developing a model to explain relationships among constraints, motivators, and attendance, and empirically test the proposed model within the spectator sport context. The proposed model explained 34% of variance in Attendance. Results showed that Attachment to the Team, an internal motivator, entered first and explained approximately 21% of the variance in attendance. Lack of Success, an internal constraint, entered next and explained almost 10% additional variance. Leisure Alternatives, an external constraint entered next and explained an additional 3%. The ability to properly evaluate constraints and motivators gives sport marketers the opportunity to more effectively serve existing fans, as well as attract new fans.

The sport industry is the one of the largest industries in the United States, estimated at $441.1 billion (Plunkett, 2008). Spectator sport is a major part of this sport industry worth $28 billion and it is estimated that U.S. consumers spend almost $17.1 billion dollars a year on tickets to sporting events (Plunkett, 2008). Ticket sales are critical to the success of professional sport organizations as they typically comprise anywhere from 20% to 50% of the total revenue stream for Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball League, and the National Hockey League (Badenhausen, Ozanian, & Settimi, 2007). However, for newer and smaller leagues, the percentage from the gate is even higher, depending on the level and type of sport (Howard & Crompton, 2004). Sport organizations are craving high attendance not only for the ticket revenue but also for the revenue from the sale of on-site game day concessions, merchandising, and parking, which was $11.9 billion a year in the U.S. according to Plunkett (2008). However, competition for attracting spectators has intensified. The growth of new leagues has expanded the total number of professional teams at all levels to over 600 and multiple teams are competing for the spectators’ financial resources in many local spectator sport markets. Moreover, professional sport organizations are Kim is with Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306. Trail is with the Center for the Study of Exercise, Seattle University, Seattle, WA 98122.

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Constraints and Motivators

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facing several challenges such as increasing costs, falling attendance, and declining ratings (Howard & Crompton, 2004). So, it would be useful for sport marketers to understand the factors that affect an individual’s decision to purchase tickets and to attend sporting events. Researchers have investigated motivators for sport spectator consumption and have found many motivators that play a critical role in attracting fans to sporting events (e.g., Funk, Ridinger, & Moorman, 2003; Sloan, 1989; Trail & James, 2001; Wann, 1995). However, only a few researchers in sport management have examined constraints or barriers to attendance (Trail, Robinson, & Kim, 2008). Moreover, no research has investigated the relationship among motivators, constraints, and attendance. Considering Howard and Sheth’s (1969) notion that consumers evaluate both positive and negative aspects when making decisions, and according to Kanouse (1984), people tend to weigh negative attributes more heavily than positive attributes in some cases, it would be valuable to understand constraints as well as motives. Thus, this study focused on developing a conceptual framework to explain relationships among constraints, motivators, and attendance, and empirically testing the proposed model within the spectator sport context.

Constraints
The meaning of the term “constraint” is varied across academic disciplines and contexts. To avoid...
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