Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Action Sports Participation: Consumer Motivation

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Action Sports Participation: Consumer Motivation

Article excerpt

Executive summary

The action sports movement has grown rapidly since it was introduced in the 1970s (Howe, 1998). Today, action sports are beginning to acquire the status of mainstream sports, and thus are increasingly recognised as a profitable enterprise by both the sports industry and the business industry. Due to significant differences between the action sports and traditional sports genres, more research is needed in order to improve our understanding of action sports participants.

Consumer information regarding demographics, psychographics and sports participation behaviour allows sports marketers to arrive at a comprehensive picture of their targeted segment in the sports market (Sport Sector Analysis Report, 2004). In particular, assessing psychographic variables is essential to understand why people participate in action sports. Although an increased interest in motivational factors has drawn scholars to conduct research on dominant sports participants, there is very little information in the literature regarding the motivation of action sports participants and their consumption behaviour (Bennett et al, 2003). The trend towards increasing participation in action sports by members of Generation Y indicates a particular need to study the factors affecting participant motivation for this age group.

Accordingly, the purpose of this study is to analyse the motivation of action sports participants. It is essential for sports marketers to identify the desires of sports consumers because motivation is a significant determinant of sports participation (McDonald et al, 2002).

The researchers collected the data at the 2004 LG (Lucky Geum Sung) FMX (Freestyle Motocross) World Championships. In order to measure motivation of action sports participants, the researchers revised and used McDonald et al's (2003) sports consumption motivation scale.

The results of a MANOVA test and a series of ANOVA tests revealed that in general these action sports participants (n = 253) are highly motivated by fun/enjoyment and risk-taking. In addition, the action sports participants' motivation varies across gender and past experience. Gender differences on seven dependent variables (i.e. risk-taking, aesthetics, skill mastery, competition, trend/imitation, affiliation and social facilitation) were significant (p<0.05). Male participants consistently showed higher means for the first seven factors mentioned above than did female participants. In addition, significant differences were found among three experience groups on all 14 dependent variables. Experienced groups (more than 3 years of experience--Group 3) consistently showed higher mean scores than Group 1 (less than 6 months of experience) and Group 2 (between 6 months and 3 years of experience). The follow-up post hoc tests showed that Group 3 rated significantly higher on the dependent variables in comparison with either of the other two groups.

This study will benefit the action sports industry and the field of sports marketing by contributing to the development of a knowledge base regarding the motivation of action sports participants. The findings of this study can be used as valuable information for market segmentation within the action sports industry and for developing targeted marketing strategies.


Action sports is a more academic phrase for alternative sports--"activities that either ideologically or practically provide alternatives to mainstream sports and mainstream sport values" (Rinehart, 2000). As an operational definition, 'action sports' is defined as a relatively new form of sport or "a combination of extraordinary individual achievement and unmatched personal enjoyment" (Rinehart & Sydnor, 2003). Action sports are primarily individual sports that have risk, danger or unconventional rules or techniques which differ from dominant team sports (Bennett et al, 2002). These include such activities as roller-blading, windsurfing, sky diving/dancing/surfing, BMX, mountain biking, eco-challenging, kayaking/white water sports, climbing, surfing, skateboarding, extreme skiing and snowboarding (Rinehart & Sydnor, 2003). …

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