Academic journal article The ICHPER-SD Journal of Research in Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport & Dance

Service Quality and Satisfaction Perspectives at the 2011 International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) World Championships

Academic journal article The ICHPER-SD Journal of Research in Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport & Dance

Service Quality and Satisfaction Perspectives at the 2011 International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) World Championships

Article excerpt

Introduction

Sports and related media coverage captivate the attention of millions worldwide. Mass media has transformed much of the environment in which sports are played and conducted (Pedersen, Miloch, & Laucella, 2007). Rowe (2009) stated that sports and the mass media have developed an inseparable relationship in American society over last century. Sports media serves secondary roles in addition to delivering the sport experience. For example, the media reaches audiences through communicating social values, patterns, trends and fashion, lifestyles, aesthetic elements, and consumer related products (Leonard, 1980; Rowe, 2009).

Audience participation in sports tends to be indirect and confined to the channels provided by the media. The television (TV) has been and is expected to be the most popular source of media for sports. Due to the increasing importance of the media in sports, Coakley (2005) and Jhally (1989) argued that some sports have changed rules, schedules, packaging, and presentation methods in order to accommodate more TV broadcasting. In order to maintain audiences' interest in broadcast sports, it is crucial for the media to provide lively, vivid coverage of events. Therefore, media centers are strategically important to many sport events. The coverage of mega-sporting events such as World Cup soccer and the Olympics exerts significant financial and economic influence on many different countries simultaneously through mass media (Bärget & Gouguet, 2012).

Unlike conventional sports leagues and athletic events, mega-sporting events incorporate the media as an integral part of the event. From the design of the athletic arena or stadium onward, plans for press centers and other media-facilities are incorporated and implemented. The size and operation of the press center is vital to media performance and overall satisfaction, therefore. For example, the Guangzhou Asian Games Broadcasting Company (GAB) was officially built to provide required services and facilities for the authorized broadcasters and members of the media ("Guangzhou Asian Games," 2009). Media broadcasting publicizes sports and promotes interest in game attendance; socializes people into the role of spectators, nurtures interest in game attendance, and serves as a vehicle through which people get the information needed to identify with athletes and teams and subsequently become committed fans (Coakley, 2005; Lever & Wheeler, 1984; Zhang, Pease, & Smith, 1998). The Main Media Center (MMC) at the 2011 IAAF World Championships, in particular, served an additional role of increasing interest in what has been traditionally a sport with limited popularity in non-Olympic years.

The International Amateur Athletic Federation was founded as the world governing body for the sport of track and field athletics in 1912 by 17 national athletic federations who realized the need for a governing authority. With regard to administration, the number of affiliated federations grew dramatically, from 17 in 1912 to 213 in 2008. In 2001, the IAAF changed its name to The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The IAAF World Championships in Athletics is referred to as the world's third largest sporting event in conjunction with the World Cup and Olympics. The event was founded in 1983 and has been held every two years since 1991 (IAAF, 2012). The IAAF has successively led the worldwide sports movement in the development and application of an extensive anti-doping media campaign (IAAF, 2012).

Service Quality in the Main Media Center

As the sports industry becomes more global and competitive, the success of a sports organization depends on the degree to which they can satisfy their customers with quality service. Service quality has been defined as "the consumer's overall impression of the relative inferiority/superiority of the organization and its service" (Bitner & Hubbert, 1994, p. 77). Service quality in the recreational sports industry is evaluated by the customer's overall impression about the service delivery systems, the service performance, and the whole consumption experience (Ko & Pastore, 2004). …

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