Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

A Service Quality Framework in the Context of Professional Football in Greece

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

A Service Quality Framework in the Context of Professional Football in Greece

Article excerpt

Executive summary

As business environments of professional sport leagues become more highly complicated and unpredictable, the adaptation of effective marketing strategies and management principles is more important than ever for sports organisations. In particular, delivering a high quality service to the fans is critical as it influences revenues and the long-term viability of the organisation.

Previous studies support that the provision of high quality services is critical in attracting spectators to the stadium, building spectator loyalty and increasing the revenue of sport clubs (Dale et al, 2005). Consequently, service quality researchers have paid close attention to this area of study and proposed a variety of models in the context of spectator sports (McDonald et al, 1995; Kelley & Turley, 2001; Ko et al, 2011; Theodorakis et al, 2001).

However, it has not been well documented whether service quality (sub) dimensions are components of the service quality construct or whether they are antecedents of a separate distinct Overall Service Quality evaluation. To resolve this issue, we proposed and tested a framework of service quality in the context of professional sport, in which Overall Service Quality plays a mediating role in the relationship between service quality dimensions (i.e. Tangibles, Responsiveness, Access, Security, Reliability) and customer satisfaction.

Data were collected from sport fans (n=415) attending a professional football game in Greece. To examine the psychometric property of the measurement scale we conducted a Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) by using EQS (Bentler, 1995). Following Baron and Kenny's (1986) suggestion, we took a four-step approach to testing the mediation effect of Overall Service Quality on the relationship between the five service quality dimensions and fans' satisfaction. The results of the CFA supported the validity of the scale and the alpha scores supported the internal consistency reliability of the scale. Results of a series of regression analyses suggested that Overall Service Quality mediates the relationship between the five dimensions of service quality and fans' satisfaction in the context of professional sport.

This study will benefit practitioners in the spectator sports industry and the field of sports marketing by contributing to the development of a knowledge base regarding consumer service quality perceptions and satisfaction. For example, our study suggests that managers of professional sports teams can measure service quality at a dimensional level as a diagnostic tool, but they could also use the Overall Service Quality scale for investigating complex relationships between service quality and other consumer variables of interest such as consumer satisfaction, word of mouth promotion and repeat purchase behavior.

Introduction

Today, watching sport is one of the most popular leisure activities in our society. The sports industry has experienced substantial growth and success in the professional sports segment over the past three decades and is now a major segment of the economy. However, many sports organisations face challenges. For example, competition within the spectator sport of professional football (soccer) has been affected by the addition of rival leagues (Mullin et al, 2007). Sports marketers also need to pay close attention to issues such as economic disconnection, increased cost, new technologies, ongoing expansion of playing seasons and the increased importance of selling broadcasting rights (Howard & Crompton, 2004)

In response to the increased competition within the sport business environment, there have been serious investments in sports facilities. In the US, for example, state government entities have provided substantial subsidies for stadiums, to secure professional sports teams. Crompton (2004) reported that the public sector supported 64% of the total cost, approximately $15. …

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