Examining University Students' Constraints to Attendance at College Basketball Games Submitted to the Journal of Contemporary Athletics

By Havard, Cody T.; Dwyer, Brendan | Journal of Contemporary Athletics, October 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Examining University Students' Constraints to Attendance at College Basketball Games Submitted to the Journal of Contemporary Athletics


Havard, Cody T., Dwyer, Brendan, Journal of Contemporary Athletics


INTRODUCTION

One of the most popular leisure activities in the United States (US) is sport spectatorship. It is suggested an individual becomes a sport spectator to enjoy the escape from everyday life, associate with successful others, or enhance ones' self-identity or public prestige (Cialdini, 2009; Cialdini et al. 1976; Mandlebaum, 2004; Tajel and Turner, 1979). Like many things, however, being a sport spectator is a process that is in a constant state of change. When it comes to defining, attracting, and retaining this large population, it is vital for sport organizations to understand the decision making process of spectators. Furthermore, it is essential to examine the full spectrum of an individual's relationship with a sport product from introduction through consumption to disposal. That said, numerous studies have centered on antecedents explaining why consumers choose to attend a particular sporting event (e.g., Funk, Ridinger, and Moorman, 2004; Shoham, Rose, and Kahle, 2000; Swanson, Gwinner, Larson, and Janda, 2003; Trail and James, 2001; Wann, 1995), yet the examination of the possible impediments to sport spectatorship is also necessary to fully-understand sport fan behavior.

Guided by leisure constraints theory (Crawford and Godbey 1987), the current chapter aimed to investigate intrapersonal and structural constraints of on campus college students with regard to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I home Men's Basketball (MBB) game attendance. This chapter also sought to examine specific attribute differences in constraints among the population under investigation. To this aim, the following research questions were devised to guide the investigation:

* RQ1: What identifiable constraints exist that affect university students living on campus willingness to attend a home men's basketball game?

* RQ2: Are constraints affected by a person's previous attendance at a home men's basketball game and/or one's participation in competitive high school basketball?

Contextually, Division I MBB is one of the few intercollegiate athletic programs with revenue generating potential, and while the cost of attendance is free for all students at the institution under examination, the opportunity to generate ancillary revenue through concession and merchandise sales is extremely important for the athletic department. In addition, a filled and ruckus student section typically adds an energetic environmental quality to an athletic event that is highly sought after by event organizers not to mention advantageous to the home team. Thus, the results of this chapter should provide valuable evidence for college athletic marketers and administrators of the constraints that keep students in close proximity to a sport product from attending a home MBB game.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Previous definitions of sport consumption have traditionally resulted into two related categorical designations: participation in competitive, nature-related, and fitness activities, and spectatorship in the form of event attendance and television viewership (Shohlan and Kahle, 1996; Sun, Youn and Wells, 2004). This chapter focused on the latter designation as event attendance was the domain under examination. Previous studies in this area cite positive links between group affiliation, entertainment, self-esteem enhancement, and a desire for camaraderie and identity construction as contributing factors leading to a person's sport spectatorship (Swanson et al., 2003; Shohlan, Rose, and Kahle, 2000). According to Doyle, Lewis, and Malmisur (1980), competitive participation may also be a good predictor of sport spectatorship and represents a foundational connection for fans to a sport, yet empirical evidence to support this claim is lacking.

Another reason leading to sport spectatorship is an individual's need to identify with a successful group or team in order to derive any reflected positive feelings and enhance their self-identity (Tajfel, 1982; Wann and Branscombe, 1992). …

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