Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Sports Consumer-Team Relationship Quality: Development and Psychometric Evaluation of a Scale

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Sports Consumer-Team Relationship Quality: Development and Psychometric Evaluation of a Scale

Article excerpt

Executive summary

There has been increased attention in the field of sports marketing on relationship-building and relationship quality. These constructs are essential concepts that further our understanding of the relationship between the sports consumer and the team. The development of a scale that measures sports consumer-team relationship quality would make it possible to conduct systematic assessments of the relationship between sports consumers and teams. A developed scale would also allow further investigations into the critical link between relationship quality and various sports consumption behaviours.

The purpose of this research was to: develop a scale for measuring relationship quality that is appropriate for the spectator sports context; examine the psychometric properties of the new scale, including reliability, content validity, discriminant validity, criterion validity and population heterogeneity in the factor structure; and test whether the psychometric properties of the scale derived in the original study could be generalised to a different sample of sports consumers.

The Sports Consumer-Team Relationship Quality Scale (SCTRQS) was developed through three separate studies. Our development process incorporated both qualitative and quantitative methods. The qualitative phase consisted of a literature review, content validity check and expert review. The quantitative phase included a confirmatory factor analysis, multiple group analysis and mixture analysis. In Study I, college students (n=154) at a major southeastern university participated. In Study II, individuals (n = 682) affiliated with a southeastern university participated. In Study III, spectators (n=321) at two college baseball games at a different southeastern university participated.

In Study I, content validity was established through a comprehensive review of literature and tests of content validity, including expert review. In Study II, empirical evidence was obtained which indicated that the new scale possesses good psychometric properties such as internal consistency, construct reliability, discriminant validity, criterion validity and robustness of the factor structure in different populations. In Study III, consistent results of a cross-validation with two different samples were achieved. The factor structure of the SCTRQS was found to be equivalent across two different samples and sound psychometric properties of the scale were achieved in replication. Overall, the findings across the three studies indicated that the new scale shows preliminary validity and reliability in assessing the quality of relationship between sports organisations and their consumers.

The SCTRQS, which is relatively brief and possesses good psychometric properties, is useful for sports marketing researchers because it provides them with a way to understand better the unique nature of the relational bond that is formed between sports organisations and consumers. Furthermore, the SCTRQS may be utilised in conjunction with other key concepts to study sports consumption behaviours. The SCTRQS can also be adopted for a number of essential purposes in sports management practices. First, using this instrument, sports managers can identify the level of relationship quality with consumers and thereafter develop corresponding relationship management strategies. Second, the SCTRQS could be a useful tool to appraise the effectiveness of relationship marketing campaigns. Finally, the SCTRQS, composed of multiple sub-components of relationship quality, provides a diagnostic tool to discover which aspects of the relationship are damaged so that appropriate remedial actions can be taken.

Introduction

Relationship marketing has attracted a considerable amount of attention among marketing practitioners (Kumar & Shah, 2009; Liu & Yang, 2009; Mimouni-Chaabane & Volle, 2010). For example, a study of over 650 companies around the world reported that approximately 90% were involved in relationship marketing activities and the executives believed that building an authentic and relevant relationship with the customer was critical to the company's long-term success (Peppers & Rogers Group, 2009). …

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