Academic journal article Journal of Contemporary Athletics

Customer Satisfaction in NCAA Division I Fcs Athletics: Testing the Application of Existing Theory

Academic journal article Journal of Contemporary Athletics

Customer Satisfaction in NCAA Division I Fcs Athletics: Testing the Application of Existing Theory

Article excerpt

Introduction

Collegiate athletics has experienced tremendous growth in its ability to generate revenue for individual institutions. Overall, colleges and universities derive 11 to 14 percent of their revenues from corporate sources. In contrast, college athletic departments generate between 60 and 80 percent of their revenues from corporate involvement (Congress of the United States Congressional Budget Office, 2009). It has been argued that the role television plays in broadcasting college athletics events has pushed college sports into a state of hyper commercialism (McAllister, 2010). In other words, the enhanced commercialization of consumer culture that has come as a result of television advertisement spending has impacted collegiate athletics in a profound manner. For example, in 2010 CBS agreed to pay the NCAA a reported $11 billion over 14 years to televise the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament (O'Toole, 2010). Additionally, college football's Bowl Championship Series (BCS) is estimated to pay $142.5 million to athletic departments annually largely because of its sale of broadcasting rights (Smith, 2010), and the NCAA generated approximately $7 billion during the 2009-2010 academic year (Martin, Miller, Elsisi, Bowers, & Hall, 2011). The result of this economic power has led athletic and university administrators to make managerial decisions with the same goals as typical for-profit business managers (DeGaris, 2008). Specifically, the growth of collegiate athletics marketing has led to the adoption of business strategies designed to increase game attendance and enhance consumer loyalty (Dick & Sack, 2003).

The revenue generating power of the NCAA and its member institutions has created an intense media focus on the financial and marketing analysis of NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institutions. FBS institutions compete at the highest level of intercollegiate athletic competition. These schools have the opportunity to play in the lucrative BCS college football games at the end of each season, and these schools generally receive the highest level of media exposure. Numerous studies have examined marketing strategy and theory at the FBS level (e.g., Yoshida & James, 2011; Fink, Trail, & Anderson, 2002; Madrigal, 1995; Wann & Branscombe, 1990). For example, Yoshida and James (2010) analyzed game and service satisfaction at two FBS college football games and compared and contrasted those outcomes with Japanese professional baseball, while, Fink et al. (2002) studied consumer behavior in NCAA men's and women's basketball at the FBS level. Additionally, Madrigal (1995) examined the cognitive and affective determinants of fan satisfaction in FBS college athletics, and Wann and Branscombe (1990) applied social identity theory to spectator sport using FBS men's basketball as a setting. These studies are only a sampling of the literature that examines college athletics at the FBS level.

Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) athletics programs are one step below their FBS counterparts in terms of competition, funding of student-athlete education, and revenue generation. FCS schools play in a postseason football tournament and do not have the opportunity to compete in BCS bowl games. As a result, these schools tend not to receive the same level of media exposure, and they typically have substantially smaller revenue streams by comparison (Orzag & Orzag, 2005). Little research has focused on the marketing initiatives of FCS athletics departments. Cross (1999) examined FCS institutions that made the decision to move from the FCS to the FBS level. He found those decisions were generally made in an effort to enhance the overall profile of the institution and generate more revenue for the athletic department (Cross, 1999). FCS institutions represent a substantial portion of NCAA athletic programs with 118 schools falling within this categorization, and the managerial decisions in FCS athletic departments are made with the same profit-driven goals as FBS institutions (Orzag & Orzag, 2005). …

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