Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Men's versus Women's Collegiate Basketball Customers: Attitudinal Favorableness and the Environment. (Research Paper)

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Men's versus Women's Collegiate Basketball Customers: Attitudinal Favorableness and the Environment. (Research Paper)

Article excerpt

Abstract: This article sheds light on how fans, as consumers of sports, perceive environmental factors at collegiate sporting events and how these consumer perceptions relate to positive affect toward the event for men's versus women's intercollegiate basketball customers in the USA. Gaining a deeper understanding of environmental factors and their relation to attitudinal favorableness is important as sports marketers continue to strive to satisfy sports consumers better. This work is especially important because environmental factors are often under the control of sports marketers--as opposed to uncontrollable factors such as winning percentage and player personnel. A mail survey was distributed to exiting customers at four basketball games at a large northwestern US university (two men's games and two women's games, n = 759). The overall favorableness of women's basketball customers exceeded the overall favorableness of men's customers on environmental factors tested. Women's customers placed more emphasis on atmospheric factors such as the courteousness of staff as well as facility and hospitality factors such as seating and concessions in rating their overall favorableness. Men's customers emphasized secondary entertainment factors, such as the band, as important environmental sources of favorableness.

Keywords: Sports environment, customer attitudinal favorableness, atmospherics

Executive Summary

While sports marketers have known of the importance of environmental factors at sporting events for years, little empirical work has explored customer evaluations of these factors. This paper sheds light on how fans, as consumers of sports, perceive environmental factors at collegiate sporting events. It has implications for how these consumer perceptions relate to favorableness toward the events. Gaining a deeper understanding of environmental factors and their relation to attitudinal favorableness is important as sports marketers continue to strive to better satisfy sports consumers. This work is especially important because environmental factors are very often under the control of sports marketers--as opposed to the numerous uncontrollable factors such as winning percentage and player personnel.

A mail survey was handed out to exiting customers at two women's regular season US NCAA Division I-A basketball games. A similar survey was conducted at men's basketball games at the same university. Response rates were 55.2 per cent at women's games and 45.4 per cent at men's games, and a total of 759 usable surveys were received. All four games were played in the same stadium, and the home team won all four games. Additionally, environmental factors such as the band, the public-address announcer, and the concession options did not differ. Moreover, the number of event staff remained proportional to attendance.

The results of the study highlighted the notion that different consumption communities evaluate sporting events differently. Regardless of the demographic differences between the gender-specific events, some interesting findings emerged. The overall attitudinal favorableness of women's customers exceeded the overall attitudinal favorableness of men's customers on environmental factors tested. Women's customers placed more emphasis on atmospheric factors such as the courteousness of staff as well as facility and hospitality factors such as seating and concessions in rating their overall attitudinal favorableness. Men's customers emphasized secondary entertainment factors, such as the band and the important environmental sources of attitudinal favorableness.

The current research has important implications for sports marketers. Because women's sporting events are in a growth stage, marketers must pay special attention to environmental factors at sporting events. The appeal of environmental factors is a primary element in building and sustaining customer attitudinal favorableness. …

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