An Empirical Analysis of Gender Differences in Sports Attendance Motives

Article excerpt

Abstract

In Australia, male sports attendees outnumber female sports attendees by 25%, yet little research has been conducted into the attendance motives of women. This study undertakes an analysis of 460 respondents using descriptive and multivariate statistics to distinguish the attendance motivations of women and compare them directly to those of male attendees. The findings suggest that female attendance can be influenced through management and promotional strategies.

Keywords

sportscape

Front Room

Back Room

socialisation

fan motivation

strategy

Executive summary

Attendance at sports events in Australia has been growing at a rate of 13% per annum. Approximately 7 million Australians attended a sporting event in 2002 (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2003a, 2003b). However, more Australian males (4 million) than females (3 million) attended at least one sporting event, which equates to 33.3% more male attendance (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2003a). Previous studies reveal that attendance motivations are varied and include economic, geographic and socio-demographic factors as well as accessibility, entertainment, performance, attractiveness of the game and individual preference for the product (Greenstein & Marcum, 1981; Hansen & Gauthier, 1989; Schofield, 1983; Robertson & Pope, 1999; Brokaw, 2000). The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of these and any other emerging factors, and to compare their relative importance to male and female sports attendees. As Fink et al (2002, p.9) assert, "if such differences do in fact exist, then it is critical to identify them in order to develop more effective marketing schemes". This study was designed to bridge this research gap by providing empirical data to assist in the development of strategies to market more effectively to females.

A telephone interview process was used to obtain a sample of 460 respondents comprised of 222 females (48.3%) and 238 males (51.7%). Age, education, occupation and income quotas were applied to ensure a balanced sample.

This study highlights the factors that are important to those attending sporting events and found that the factors that influence male and female attendance are different. The results indicate that all seven constructs presented in this analysis were at least of moderate importance, but that the Entertainment, Back Room and Social considerations were the three most dominant factors for both genders. The importance of these factors differed for genders, however. Emotional arousal at the sporting event and being a 'true fan' was significantly more important for males; for females, Back Room issues, such as parking, seating and stadium accessibility; Front Room issues, such as enjoyment and experiential aspects of a sports event, and Social factors, such as sharing the event with friends and family, were significantly more important.

Introduction

The aim of this study was to investigate the factors that motivate individuals to attend sporting events and to determine if differences are evident between males and females. Previous studies have suggested that attendance motivations are varied and include economic, geographic and socio-demographic factors as well as event characteristics such as accessibility, entertainment, performance, attractiveness of the game and individual preference for the product (Greenstein & Marcum, 1981; Hansen & Gauthier, 1989; Schofield, 1983; Robertson & Pope, 1999; Brokaw, 2000). Event characteristics are of greatest interest to managers, as they are the factors most directly under their control. Understanding differences in the relative importance of these event characteristics would be useful to sporting event organisers in order to increase male attendance while recognising that potential exists to target females and significantly increase female attendance. …