Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Road Cycling Event Preferences for Racing Cyclists

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Road Cycling Event Preferences for Racing Cyclists

Article excerpt

Executive summary

Cycling event promoters often have control over several event attributes that can help them to tailor their event to participant preferences. In order to determine the most desirable mix of attribute levels, we conducted a conjoint analysis using salient event characteristics for racing cyclists. While conjoint analysis has been used to study consumer decision-making and improve product marketing (Green & Srinivasan, 1978) and to uncover recreation and leisure preferences (e.g. McFarlane, 2004), it has rarely been used in a competitive sporting event or cycling context (Morey, Buchanan & Waldman, 2002; Oh, Ditton & Riechers, 2005). In summary, this study aimed to (a) investigate the relative importance of cycling event attributes using conjoint analysis, (b) identify market segments based on cycling event attributes, and (c) explore the effects of recreation specialisation on prioritised cycling event attributes.

Data (N = 199) were collected at three cycling events in three southeastern US states. The event selection was reviewed by a panel of cycling experts (N=4) to ensure the events were of typical size and scope. Study participants completed a questionnaire that included 11 demographic items and nine recreational specialisation items. It also included ratings of 16 event scenarios that differed in the following attributes: travel distance, entry fee, overall prize purse offered, course type and series affiliation. The event attributes and their levels were established with the feedback of the panel of expert cyclists, each with 10 or more years of competitive cycling experience.

The conjoint results of all responses revealed that travel distance (60.6%) was regarded as the most important road racing event attribute followed by prize purse (16.7%), entry fee (9.3%), series affiliation (8.9%) and course type (4.5%). Among the attribute levels examined in this study, the idealistic cycling event would be a race that is located within a one-hour driving distance, requires an entry fee of $20, is held in residential or rural areas, is affiliated with local or state point series and offers a total prize purse of $13,500. K-means cluster analysis was conducted to segment cyclists who had similar attribute preference patterns and it revealed two ('distance-bounded' and 'distance-bounded payoffs-count') or three ('distance-bounded', 'points & fees' and 'prize') plausible clusters with different ideal event profiles. To examine the effects of recreation specialisation on the prioritised event attributes, a cluster analysis was conducted on individual scores of behavioural, cognitive and affective involvement in cycling. The results suggested three clusters: (a) 'highly specialised', (b) 'non-behaviourally specialised' and (c) 'less specialised'. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) revealed a significant main effect of cycling specialisation on travel distance: F(2, 196)=4.79 at p < .001; and prize purse, F(2, 196) = 8.96 at p < .001.

The results of this study highlight the event attributes that matter most to competitive cyclists and establishes differential preferences based on recreational specialisation. Additionally, the cluster analysis which established 'distance-bounded' and other 'value-sensitive' groups offers a new avenue of investigation and creates a potential market segment for practitioners.

Road cycling event preferences for racing cyclists

When one conjures up images of what sports marketers do for work, the vision is quickly filled with big league professional sports, selling tickets, understanding fan behaviours and selling ancillary merchandise. Less frequently considered are sporting activities that involve individual participants paying registration fees and associated expenses to engage in organised sports competitions. In the US, millions of Americans take part in these 'participant-based' activities in unstructured recreation and leisure contexts as well as within organised events. …

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