Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Factors Influencing Spectator Sports Consumption: NCAA Women's College Basketball

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Factors Influencing Spectator Sports Consumption: NCAA Women's College Basketball

Article excerpt

Executive summary

An extensive body of research on motivators for sports spectatorship has been accumulated. However, little research has been done on the constraints that prevent people from attending sporting events. Additional research is needed that examines not only motivators but also constraints. This is for several reasons. Firstly, both positive (i.e. motivators) and negative factors (i.e. constraints) that affect individuals' leisure choices and behaviours should be examined to more thoroughly understand individuals' reasoning for those choices and behaviours. In addition, negative factors are often more influential than positive ones as decision factors for choices and behaviours. Secondly, knowledge of constraints is critical to teams, schools and sports that draw low attendance figures. Low game attendance in these incidences may be influenced more by constraints than by motivators. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to examine three different models of constraints and motivators that influence attendance: a correlated model, a hierarchical model and a moderated model.

The survey was designed to examine the motivators and constraints relating to attendance at women's basketball games at a NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division I-A university. The questionnaire was comprised of four main categories: internal motivators, internal constraints, external motivators and external constraints. To test the correlated model (Model 1), we conducted a structural model specifying the bivariate correlation between each construct and attendance intention (AI) using Mplus 6.0. To test the hierarchy proposition (Model 2), we compared means on attendance of the groups using one way ANOVA with SPSS 18.0. To test moderating effect of constraints on the relationship between the motivators and attendance, we used latent moderated structural equations (LMS) method using Mplus 6.0.

In Model 1, all the internal motivator constructs had positive significant relationships with AI and were explained from 1% to 22% of variances in attendance intentions. Internal constraints--such as Lack of team success, Lack of someone to attend with and No interest from significant others--had significant negative impact on the attendance intention. All external motivators had a significant and positive relationship with attendance intentions. External constraints such as Cost, Parking and Location had significant negative influences on Model 2. Our results suggest that the proposed hierarchy does not exist in spectators' decision-making processes. In Model 3, we found some support for constraints moderating the effects of motivators on attendance intentions.

The theoretical framework introduced in this study can provide researchers with a conceptual basis for a more systematic and focused investigation on the complex research questions concerning constraints and motivators which are key antecedents to attendance decision-making. In addition, the study challenges (and provides counter-evidence to) the conventional hierarchy proposition. Our findings suggest that uncritical acceptance of the hierarchy proposition is not advisable. Furthermore, these findings open a door for the development of new alternatives to the hierarchy proposition to explain how constraints and motivators influence spectator sports consumption behaviours. Finally, sports teams have typically focused on motivators to attract potential spectators. However, our results show that there are several constraints preventing people from attending sporting events--and that these are equally, if not more, influential than motivators in attendance decision. Therefore, teams should invest resources to identify crucial constraints for their potential spectators and develop strategies to alleviate these constraints, as well as to strengthen motivators.


Spectator sport is one of the most popular leisure activities worldwide. …

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