Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Exploring SI and EI of Olympic Sports Tourists: Does Trip Purpose Matter?

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Exploring SI and EI of Olympic Sports Tourists: Does Trip Purpose Matter?

Article excerpt

Executive summary

Situational involvement (SI) and enduring involvement (EI) are important concepts in the field of leisure and sports tourism (Dimanche et al, 1991). Involvement can reveal how people process information about products or services and can also influence their behaviours (Funk & James, 2006; Funk et al, 2004) and their affective states (Havitz & Mannell, 2005). SI reflects the temporary feelings that accompany a situation, as evoked by a certain stimulus, and EI describes an unobservable state of motivation, arousal or interest toward a recreational activity or a product, evoked by a particular stimulus or situation and that has drive properties. Involvement profiles have been used as a market segmentation tool (Funk et al, 2004; Havitz & Dimanche, 1990, 1997; Kyle et al, 2002). In sports tourism, where the travel component becomes part of the sports consumers' decision-making process to participate in a sports activity, little is known about how the purpose of a trip could influence SI and EI levels.

The purpose of the study was to explore relationships between the trip purpose of Olympic spectator sports tourists (i.e. passive, non-participatory sports tourists for whom the Olympic Games were both primary and secondary trip purposes) and SI and EI levels. Data were collected from 60 spectators attending the 2004 Athens Olympic Games at two points in time--during the Olympic Games and three months after the end of the games. The same subjects were used for a longitudinal design. Both SI and EI types were measured with the same items from the following facets: pleasure, importance, sign and risk. The onsite data collection utilised paper and pencil surveys, while the post-event data collection utilised a web survey. Data were analysed with repeated multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) measures.

The results supported one of the study's hypotheses on the impact of trip purpose on SI and EI levels. Regarding the Olympic Games, there were no differences between the two spectator groups (primary trip purpose and secondary trip purpose) and the two types of involvement. Regarding involvement with the destination, two of the involvement facets (pleasure and risk) were influenced by trip purpose and type of involvement. Hedonic aspects of destination consumption could create higher involvement levels with the destination among spectator sports tourists whose primary trip purpose was to attend the event and, as such, form a more positive destination image (Kaplanidou & Vogt, 2007). Event and destination marketers should therefore work together to provide points of attachment with the destination and the event to increase consumption patterns.

Introduction

Sports tourists engage in active, passive or nostalgic sports activities (Gibson, 1998), which may be influenced by the levels of their involvement with the activity. Involvement is an important concept in the field of leisure and sports tourism (Dimanche et al, 1991) because it reveals how people process information about products or services and how this influences their behaviours (Funk & James, 2006; Funk et al, 2004; Pritchard & Funk, 2006) and their affective states (Havitz & Mannell, 2005). Involvement profiles have also been used as a market segmentation tool (Beaton & Funk, 2008; Beaton et al, 2009; Funk et al, 2004; Havitz & Dimanche, 1990, 1997; Kyle et al, 2002). Although Celsi and Olson (1988) have coined the term 'felt' involvement to indicate the combined weight of situational and enduring (intrinsic) facets, only recently have leisure, sports and tourism researchers begun to systematically differentiate between SI and EI (Havitz & Mannell, 2005; Laverie & Arnett, 2000; Naylor & Havitz, 2007). Where the travel component becomes part of sports consumers' decision-making processes to participate, actively or passively, in a sport, little is known about how the purpose of a sports tourist's trip could influence SI and EI levels to either the destination or the activity. …

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