A Conceptual Model for Sport Services Marketing Research: Integrating Quality, Value and Satisfaction. (Research Paper)
Westerbeek, Hans M., Shilbury, David, International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship
Abstract: This paper advances our understanding of the relationship between quality, value and satisfaction in the context of spectator sport services. This is achieved through an analysis and examination of relevant secondary data culminating in a conceptual model Although extensive research has been conducted in the three separate areas of quality, value and satisfaction, to date no work has been reported attempting to develop macro models that capture the concepts and their potential interrelationships. Such macro models could enhance the communication and stimulate further research for sport marketing scholars. This paper proposes a model apposite for further research and in the process leads to the potential confirmation, rejection or, indeed, adaptation of the conceplualization of short services.
Keywords: Services marketing, holistic model, service quality, value, satisfaction
Sport marketing research is rapidly being accepted into the generic frameworks of services marketing. To further advance sport services-specific research, some of the unique features of sport will be used to introduce a conceptual model that includes the major service marketing constructs of satisfaction, quality and value. Since people predominantly watch live sporting events in purpose-built facilities, the sporting stadium features as the primary means of sport service distribution. The relevant literature in that particular context is reviewed, in particular: the work pertaining to marketing spectator sport services in the context of the sport facility; the targets of service quality in sport (the core product, service co-production and sportscape features); the work on different types of value, as proposed by Ruyter, Wetzels, Lemmink and Mattsson (1997); and the extensive work of Oliver (1980, 1981, 1989, 1993), Oliver and Burke (1999), Oliver and DeSarbo (1988) and Rust and Oliver (1994) in the area of customer satisfaction. The constructs of satisfaction, quality and value are introduced and consequently are integrated in a model that is intended to guide researchers and managers towards thinking holistically' about the constructs and their interrelationships. The core product, service co-production and sportscape features are used to argue that service quality and service value are antecedents to service satisfaction. This is extended with findings that different types of value lead to different types of satisfaction, and that different types of satisfaction are applicable to different components of the sport product. Some research questions that are derived from this paper include:
* Pertaining to the definition of the sport service product, what is being assessed by the customer? Does the spectator sport service product only consist of the game (skill performance) and if so, can a low quality perception of the game lead to high satisfaction?
* Do sport consumers perceive the "going to the game" product to be a combination of the game, their seat and view, big screen replays and the roar of the crowd?
* How important are these core and/or peripheral components of the product to them, and how does "importance" impact valuation and levels of satisfaction?
Overall, it appears important that future research designs incorporate the quality, value and satisfaction constructs into one methodology. One important implication of the proposed model to practioners is that the sport facility (stadium) should become the sport managers' foundation to strategic marketing activity, as it presents the most controllable element of providing service quality in spectator sport.
Sport as a service product was not recognized as a significantly different value proposition to justify specific research attention. Only recently have mainstream marketing journals such as the Journal of Services Marketing, 13 (6), (1999), and the European Journal of Marketing 33 (3/4), (1999) dedicated special issues to research in sport marketing, in the process acknowledging the unique features of sport service products and the environment in which they are produced. …