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Sports Marketing Quarterly

Issue 33.1 – March, 2024

By March 1, 2024No Comments


Cooler Bobbleheads Prevail: Bobblehead Character Type and Impact on Attendance at Major League Baseball Games

Author: Jeffrey Cisyk

Abstract: Giveaways such as jerseys, caps, or bobbleheads are part of a host of promotions used to entice fans to purchase tickets and attend live events, particularly in sports. Bobbleheads have often been viewed as the bellwether giveaway in demand-side analytical studies as they are common across sport, league, and team and are viewed as highly prized collectable items. Empiricists typically code promotions as binary variables to measure the impact these additional perks have on attendance, yet each bobblehead event features a distinct figurine distinguished by several previously unexplored dimensions. Due to the nature of bobbleheads typically resembling real-life individuals, consumer sentiment toward the bobblehead’s namesake may drive or deter the demand for the giveaway. Using a novel dataset of descriptions of bobblehead giveaways, this study finds that demand for Major League Baseball games varies by a bobblehead’s character type, where the impact on attendance is greatest for bobbleheads featuring players and sportscasters, lowest for managers, and middling for mascots and other types. Evidence suggests that bobbleheads depicted in costumes or as characters of licensed brands lead to greater attendance than brandless bobbleheads, yet the gains observed from the average branded bobblehead game may not offset the additional costs associated with licensing agreements.

Keywords: attendance, demand, giveaways, promotions, ticket sales



Gender Equity in Sponsor Decision-Making: A Quantitative Investigation of Sponsor Retention for Women’s Sport Sponsorship

Authors: Jonathan A. Jensen and Danielle Kushner Smith

Abstract: As gender equity has become an important issue throughout the sport industry, this research seeks to fill a gap in the literature related to whether sport sponsor retention differs across sponsorships of similar men’s and women’s sport properties. Even aft er controlling for a host of potentially confounding variables, a quantitative analysis of sponsor decision-making related to more than 750 event title sponsorships indicates that sponsoring firms are just as likely to renew sponsorships of women’s events as men’s events and those featuring competitors of both genders. Viewing these results through the theoretical lens of exchange theory suggests

that resources sponsors may allocate toward sponsorships of women’s sport properties are theoretically either met or exceeded by the resources received in exchange. Thus, sponsors may in the end receive similar or potentially higher return on investment (ROI) for sponsorships of women’s sport properties, a novel finding yet to be confirmed in the sponsorship-linked marketing literature.

Keywords: sponsorship-linked marketing, gender equity, event sponsorship, survival analysis



Exploring the National Hockey League’s Reverse Retro Campaign: Response to Pseudo-Nostalgia in Uniform Design

Author: Nicholas Burton

Abstract: This study explores the use of pseudo-nostalgic designs in sport marketing, examining consumer response to the National Hockey League’s 2020‒2021 Reverse Retro uniform campaign. By investigating user response to the twelve teams’ Reverse Retro sweater release and promotion on Twitter, the study endeavors to explore the extent to which pseudo-nostalgic designs elicit nostalgic sentiment and the degree to which such nostalgia may impact upon individuals’ perceptions of uniform designs. The findings of the research suggest that while pseudo-nostalgic uniforms can inspire feelings of nostalgia, the symbolic connections manifested within sporting uniforms are cocreated between teams and fans and the inclusion of nostalgic cues should be reflective of fans’ own sense of nostalgia, not imposed upon them by such designs.

Keywords: nostalgia, uniform design, retro marketing, social media



Making Sense of Stimuli-Local Image Fit in the Sport Venue: Mediating Effects of Sense of Home and Touristic Experience on Local and Visiting Spectators

Authors: Yongjin Hwang, Khalid Ballouli, Matthew J. Bernthal, and Wanyong Choi

Abstract: Prior scholars provide empirical evidence of how sensory experiences can positively influence spectators’ satisfaction, and the effectiveness of utilizing sense-centric experiences is enhanced when marketers integrate unique characteristics of the local culture into sensory experiences in the venue. The recently developed stimuli-local image fit (SIF) scale measures the effectiveness of this process; however, the SIF scale needs further investigation based on differences between local and visiting spectators. The purpose of this study was to examine the potential mediating effects of sense of home and touristic experience in relation to perceptions of SIF for these two groups. Study participants (N = 402) were recruited by means of an online survey and included 204 local and 198 visiting spectators of home and away events, respectively. The results from structural equation modeling (SEM) revealed significant mediation effects of sense of home and touristic experience on prior established relationships between SIF and different outcomes.

Keywords: sport venue, sensory stimuli, spectatorship, touristic experience, sense of home



Perceived Soccer Literacy: A Construct Linking Soccer Video Games Play to Soccer Engagement

Authors: Jeeyoon Kim and Bong Gee Jang

Abstract: This study investigates soccer video games as a platform to promote soccer engagement (i.e., involvement, behavioral intentions) among those who do not physically play soccer regularly. Perceived soccer literacy is proposed as a construct explaining the promotional effect, consisting of the four sub-themes of affective attitude, perceived functional knowledge, perceived critical knowledge, and perceived competence. A study was conducted based on an online survey and with US and Canadian adults who do not physically play soccer on a regular basis. With structural equation modeling, (1) the association between soccer video game use and perceived soccer literacy was examined (via mean comparison) and (2) perceived soccer literacy’s link to soccer involvement and behavioral intentions was tested (via latent variable path analysis). Positive links were reported from soccer video games usage to all four sub-themes. Perceived soccer literacy imposed significant influences on soccer involvement/intentions, where perceived critical knowledge was the most influential.

Keywords: soccer, video games, e-sport, literacy, involvement, intention



Virtual Reality Technology Induced Flow in the Spectator Sports Context: Empirical Examinations of VR Flow, Its Unique Antecedents, and Consequences

Authors: Yonghwan Chang, Clinton Warren, and Taehoon Lee

Abstract: This study aimed to investigate how virtual reality (VR) can create the experience of flow among sport fans and how this phenomenon fits into existing sport service consumption frameworks. Two experiments were conducted to explore VR flow experiences and to examine the impact of VR flow on fan outcomes in different game situations. The poison theory, theories of emotion dynamics, affective expectation, and biased competition were used as theoretical backgrounds. Results from Experiment 1 showed that fans with lower spectatorship involvement and those with less prior VR experience were more likely to experience VR flow. Experiment 2 revealed that VR flow positively influenced fan satisfaction in both decisive and close games. The study offers insights into how flow can be induced through VR spectatorship and highlights the counterintuitive effects of involvement and emotion fluctuations. The study also provides actionable suggestions for managers to effectively utilize VR technology in spectatorship settings.

Keywords: VR spectatorship, entertainment technology, temporal dynamics of emotions, cybersickness




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