«IMPACT OF MARKET DEMAND AND GAME SUPPORT PROGRAMS ON CONSUMPTION LEVELS OF PROFESSIONAL TEAM SPORT SPECTATORS AS MEDIATED BY PERCEIVED VALUE By ...»
It was anticipated that the research findings would fill the void in the literature by building linkages from market demand and game support to perceived value, and then to behavioral intentions. When these relationships were found to exist, they would serve as a foundation for researchers to establish a hierarchical theory that supports the notion that successful game product and high service quality offered by a professional sport team enhances perceived value, and eventually leads to repeating consumption behaviors of sport consumers. Gaining an indepth understanding of the relationships among these constructs would also enable team management to identify specific constructs that have the most impact on spectator consumption behaviors and thus to formulate and implement plans to adjust and improve team formation, game tactics, event operations, and promotional strategies. The current study was initiated based on a premise that the main goal of sport organizations is to offer quality game product and high service quality to satisfy consumers’ experiences. This provision would help sport consumers to form a positive perceived value of the game products and services in order to enhance the probability that those sport consumers would engage in repatronage and recommendation of the game products and services.
The study was completed within the following delimitations:
• Research participants were those who attended a professional team sporting event within the past 12 months of the time that the survey was conducted and had purchased the game ticket.
• Research participants were those who resided in southeastern states in U.S.
• Research participants involved men and women over the age of 18.
• The study was conducted via a paper-and-pencil questionnaire.
• Research participation in the study was voluntary.
• Data were collected in the summer of 2008.
The following limitations are recognized by the researcher, which might have affected the
internal and external validity of the study:
• Although all research participants were asked to respond to the questionnaires with sincerity and honesty, their actual level of cooperativeness could not be fully controlled by the researcher.
• The generalizability of the study findings might be limited to only two southeastern states (i.e., Florida and Georgia) in U.S.
• Voluntary participation, instead of a random selection of research participants, may affect the generalizability of the research findings.
• Although sample size of the current study was adequate for SEM (Wetson & Gore, 2006), factor structures and causal relationships derived were not cross-validated by additional independent sample.
Consumers’ behavioral loyalty is often shown via product/service consumption (Baker & Crompton, 2000), having a direct impact on an organization’s financial profitability (Zeithaml et al., 1996). Sport consumption behavior is not an exception. Broadly speaking, two forms of sport spectator consumption have been identified: active and passive sport consumption. Active sport spectator consumption takes the form of game attendance (Zhang et al., 1995, 1997b) and the purchasing of licensed merchandise products (Kwon et al., 2007). On the other hand, passive sport spectator consumption refers to consumption activities through modes of various media such as game watching, game listening, and game reading (Fink, Trail, & Anderson, 2002; Gantz, 1981). In the following section, more elaboration on defining sport spectator consumption and how sport spectating has been measured will be presented.
Definition of Sport Spectator Consumption In the field of sport management, there have been two views in defining a sport consumer: micro-view and macro-view. In the micro-view, sport consumers are divided into two categorizations: spectators and fans (Sloan, 1989; Trail, Robinson, Dick, & Gillentine, 2003).
Sloan separated the term spectator from fan by defining spectator as an individual who is merely a game observer, whereas a fan is an individual who enthusiastically follows his/her favorite teams. In the macro-view, a sport spectator is defined as an individual who attends a sport venue to watch a sport event. Therefore, the term, sport spectator, is an encompassing word that consists of sport fans as well (Funk & James, 2001). Based on the macro-view, sport spectator consumption is defined as the act of attending a sport event for the specific purpose of watching the sport event in a given venue (Parks et al., 2007). However, it has been argued that accurately measuring actual consumption behavior is a challenging task because surveys can hardly be made at the moment of purchase (Cronin, Brady, & Hult, 2000). As an alternative measure, researchers have used a construct of behavioral intentions (Eggert & Ulaga, 2002; Fink et al., 2002; Oh, 1999; Petrick & Backman, 2002a). Various researchers have found that measuring behavioral intentions allows a highly accurate prediction of ensuing behaviors (Ajzen, 1971;
Conner, Sheeran, Norman, & Armitage, 2000; Sheeran, Orbell, & Trafimow, 1999). Ajzen (2005) defined behavioral intentions as indications of an individual’s willingness toward a given task. Thus, it could be said that the stronger the intention an individual has, the more likely the individual is to perform the intended action.
Measurement of Behavioral Intentions Although behavioral intentions may change over time due to unforeseeable events or time intervals, in general, behavioral intentions have been regarded as an immediate antecedent of actual behavior in the fields of marketing (Cronin et al., 1997; Grewal, Monroe, & Krishnan, 1998b; Patterson & Spreng, 1997; Zeithaml, et al., 1996), tourism and hospitality (Baker & Crompton, 2000; Lee, Yoon, & Lee, 2006; Oh, 1999; Petrick, 2003, 2004a; Petrick & Backman, 2002a), and sport management (Kwon et al., 2007; Murray & Howat, 2002; Trail et al., 2003;
Tsuji et al., 2007; Wakefield & Blodgett, 1996; Wakefield, Blodgett, & Sloan, 1996; Wakefield & Sloan, 1995).
In marketing and consumer behavior research, two forms of measuring behavioral intentions have been identified: unidimensional and multi-dimensional measurement. In terms of the unidimensional measurement, variables such as purchase intentions repurchase intentions, and/or word-of-mouth intentions, have been frequently used as either a multi-item or single-item measure. For instance, Cronin et al. (1997, 2000) measured purchase intentions using three items to examine the relationships among service quality, perceived value, and purchase intentions in the context of six service industries. Patterson and Spreng (1997) adopted the unidimensional approach to measure repurchase intentions in the context of business-to-business service. In an attempt to predict golf travelers’ consumption behavior, Petrick and Backman (2002a) measured intentions to revisit using two items. The same measurement was shown by Petrick (2003, 2004a) to predict cruise passengers’ repurchase behavior. Grewal, Krishnan, Baker, and Borin (1998a) measured purchase intentions using three items to understand how consumers in a retail store form purchase intentions toward durable goods.
In sport management research, Murray and Howat (2002) measured future purchase intentions towards joining a leisure center using a single item. In an attempt to predict behavioral intentions of an action sport event, Tsuji et al. (2007) also used a single item measure. Kwon et al. (2007) measured purchase intentions of team licensed-apparel using a unidimensional construct. Trail et al. (2003) also measured sport consumers’ future behavior employing a unidimensional approach that consisted of four items. Researchers have justified the use of either a single-item or unidimensional measure by arguing that the method may reduce respondent’s fatigue as well as research cost (Oh, 1999). However, single-item or unidimensional measurement tends to lose considerable variances from the construct being examined (Churchill, 1979; Hair, Black, Babin, Anderson, & Tatham, 2005). Thus, a multi-dimensional measure should be utilized whenever a construct is theoretically identified as having multi-dimensional characteristics. In the context of spectator sport, Wakefield and Sloan (1995) and Wakefield and Blodgett (1996) viewed behavioral intentions as a two-dimensional construct, measuring desire to stay and repatronage intentions. In order to examine the influence of the physical environment on customers’ affective responses and subsequent behavioral intentions, Wakefield et al. (1996) measured repatronage intentions and recommending to others as assessing behavioral intentions.
Petrick (2004a) also used a two-dimensional model of behavioral intentions that consisted of repurchase intentions and recommending to others. In addition to repurchase intentions and recommending to others, Eggert and Ulaga (2002) added another dimension of behavioral intentions to their model, the search for an alternative.
Based on the literature review regarding behavioral intentions, it is suggested that behavioral intentions are a multi-dimensional construct, and the most commonly identified subdimensions are repatronage intentions and recommending to others. To support the above notion, Zeithaml et al. (2006) stated that “among the most important generic behavioral intentions is willingness to recommend the service to others and repurchase intent” (p. 149). A study conducted by Söderlund (2006) also empirically supported each factor’s unidimensionality, indicating that the two factors were complementary but distinct. To compare aggregation and disaggregation methods for examining the behavioral intentions construct measured by repatronage intentions and word-of-mouth intentions, Söderlund (2006) compared two models.
The first model was an aggregated model in which the two factors were combined into one factor, and the second model was a disaggregation model in which the two factors were independent of each other. As a result of Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA), the author found that the twofactor model showed better model fit than the aggregated model. In addition, the two-factor model demonstrated good discriminant validity, indicating that the two factors were distinct factors. Therefore, the two dimensions (i.e., repatronage intentions and recommend to others) have been proposed as spectator behavioral intentions for the current study.
Overview of the Proposed Dimensions of Spectator Behavioral Intentions Building on the view of behavioral intentions as a multi-dimensional construct (Zeithaml et al., 2006), a two-factor model of spectator behavioral intentions have been proposed. The two factors are Repatronage Intentions and Recommending to Others. In the following section, definitions, supporting empirical evidence, and justifications of using the two factors will be discussed.
Repatronage intentions Repatronage Intentions are defined as an indication of a consumer’s desire to repurchase the product/service that the consumer once used/received (Ajzen, 2005). Repatronage intentions “have to do with moving one’s body in a physical sense to get in contact with a supplier” (Söderlund, 2006, p. 81). This construct has been used as one of the common outcome variables in marketing and consumer behavior research (Zeithaml et al., 2006). Furthermore, repatronage intentions have been found to be a direct consequence of such variables as customer satisfaction (Eggert & Ulaga, 2002; Oh, 1999; Petrick & Backman, 2002a), perceived value (Grewal et al., 1998b; Oh, 1999; Petrick, 2003, 2004a; Petrick & Backman, 2002a), service quality (Cronin et al., 2000; Petrick, 2004b), and store image (Grewal et al., 1998a). In sport management research, Wakefield and Blodgett (1996) found that repatronage intentions were directly influenced by spectator satisfaction. In an attempt to examine the influence of the service environment on behavioral intentions, Wakefield et al. (1996) also found that repatronage intentions were positively related to minor league hockey spectators’ perceived service quality (cognition) and excitement (affect). Given its significant relationships with various customer variables such as service quality and perceived value, the Repatronage Intentions factor has been operationalized as a sub-dimension of spectator behavioral intentions in the current study.
Recommending to others intentions Recommending to Others is referred to as the degree to which a consumer recommends a service/product that they received/used to others (Zeithaml et al., 2006). This interpersonal behavior has to do with communication with others (Söderlund, 2006). Along with repatronage intentions, the recommending to others factor has been found to be the most generic construct of behavioral intentions in consumer behavior research (Zeithaml et al., 2006). Various researchers have found that the recommending to others factor was a robust behavioral intention construct directly predicted by perceived value (Oh, 1999), satisfaction (Lee et al., 2006; Oh, 1999), and perceived service quality (Wakefield et al., 1996). Based on previous studies, it appears as though the recommending to others factor is an important predictor of behavioral intentions.
Interestingly, few researchers have conceptualized repatronage intentions as a direct antecedent of the recommending to others construct (Oh, 1999; Petrick, 2004b). In general, these two constructs have not been separated to form a causal relationship with each other. However, Oh (1999) and Petrick (2004b) differentiated between repatronage intentions and recommending to others by arguing that consumers tend to recommend a product/service after forming an intention to repurchase the product/service. For the current study, the Recommend to Others factor has been conceptualized as a sub-dimension of spectator behavioral intentions since examining a causal relationship between two constructs (Recommend to Others and Repatronage Intentions) was not the purpose of this current study. The focal point of the current study is to measure spectator behavioral intentions as a multi-dimensional construct as suggested by previous studies in order to assess more holistic spectator behavioral intentions influenced by market demand, game support programs, and perceived value.