Recreational Soccer Participants as Potential Consumers of Professional Soccer Games: Segmenting Based on General Characteristics

By Tokuyama, Sagatomo; Greenhalgh, Greg | Journal of Contemporary Athletics, January 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

Recreational Soccer Participants as Potential Consumers of Professional Soccer Games: Segmenting Based on General Characteristics


Tokuyama, Sagatomo, Greenhalgh, Greg, Journal of Contemporary Athletics


INTRODUCTION

Market segmentation, a process to segment potential consumers (market) based on consumer characteristics (Mullin, Hardy, & Sutton, 2000), is an essential element of marketing (Sheth, 1967; Smith, 1956; Tynan & Drayton, 1987; Yankelovich, 1964). In fact, market segmentation is widely recognized as a useful practice utilized in many industries (Davidow, 1989; Greenberg & McDonald, 1989). Segmenting potential consumers into subgroups enables marketers to develop more specialized and effective marketing plans.

To date, there has been a plethora of sport marketing research segmenting current spectators on a variety of personal demographic, psychographic, and behavioral factors (e.g., Greenwell, Fink, & Pastore, 2002; Gwinner & Swanson, 2003; Kahle, Duncan, Vassilis, & Aiken, 2001; Kennet, Sneath, & Henson, 2001; Pons, Mehdi, & Nyeck, 2006; Ross, 2007). Yet, the sport spectator pie can only be sliced so finely while still keeping pragmatic value. Sport participants represent a market segment, ripe with potential spectators which have been relatively untouched with respect to sport marketing research. Sport participants, then, can and should be viewed as potential consumers of spectator sport organizations-especially those who desire to increase their consumer base.

U.S. Soccer Market

Soccer within the United States represents a market that is rather unique. Soccer is one of the most popular sports throughout the world with 175 countries considering "football" (soccer) to be their national pastime (Hauser, 2009). In a number of countries soccer is viewed as one of the most popular participant and spectator sports. In the U.S., however, the situation is starkly different. Soccer is one of the most popular participatory sports in the U.S., with 13.5 million Americans participating in the sport as of 2010 (Sport Business Research Network, 2011). The soccer spectator market is where the U.S. diverges from many other countries with a strong soccer participant base. While Major League Soccer (MLS) drew a respectable 1.7 million fans in 2009 (Sport Business Research Network, 2011) the reality is that MLS is still seen as a second-tier sport league in the U.S. (Collins, 2006; Wilson, 2007), illustrating the participant and spectator markets are severely unbalanced in popularity. This is particularly evident when compared to American football with 9.3 million participants and 56.8 million attending NFL fans, or hockey with only 3.3 million participants and 7.8 million fans in attendance in 2009 (Sport Business Research Network, 2011).

In other words, this may indicate few of those soccer participants turn into professional soccer spectators within North America (Brown, 2007). Major League Soccer is not alone, as other professional soccer leagues in the U.S. such as the United Soccer League (USL), National Indoor Soccer League (NISL) and the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) are looking to expand their fan bases. Thus, these professional soccer leagues may be well served focusing on soccer participants to enhance their fan base. As noted above, targeting different segments of soccer participants would allow marketers to create specialized and effective marketing plans to attract participants as spectators.

It appears some practitioners are aware of the uniqueness of U.S. soccer industry and have started targeting soccer participants within their marketing efforts. For example, MLS has attempted to reach soccer participants by sponsoring grassroots tournaments throughout the U.S., revealing the league's desire to broaden their fan base within the soccer participant market. Marketers within MLS and other professional soccer leagues realize they have a market of 13.5 million soccer participants potentially ripe to significantly enhance the size of their fan bases. Yet, sport marketing research appears to be behind the practitioners in this vein as the majority of soccer spectator studies have focused on examining current soccer spectators (e. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Recreational Soccer Participants as Potential Consumers of Professional Soccer Games: Segmenting Based on General Characteristics
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.