Before I can get into what is actually going to be done in this research study, you need to have a clear understanding of both consumer and spectator satisfaction. Consumer satisfaction is a business term that it defined as a measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectation. (Citation from paper). This is the overall goal of any business, including sport, to meet and exceed a consumers satisfaction. For sport the term that is used is called spectator satisfaction, where the products and services being given to them include everything from the actual gameplay, to the lines at the gate to purchase your ticket.
As many of us have learned in our sales class It’s the goal in any business to have repeat customers or clients. It is well understood that re-signing a client is much easier than going out to find a new one. This goal is the same for event managers. By studying spectator satisfaction you can gain better knowledge on your customers and see what they value and want from your product. If you keep giving them what they want they will continue to consume your product. People will still pay if the quality is there, but if there expectations are not met it is going to be very hard to have them come back again.
Now since it is well knows that event managers have little to no control over the gameplay on a given day, they have to make sure that everything else during the event is meeting or exceeding their spectators expectations. These other areas that have an effect on a spectators satisfaction have been called Sportscape, which is defined as the service extensions and the physical surroundings of a sport event. Sportscape includes things such as parking, lines for concessions and bathrooms, helpfulness of employee’s, as well as many other areas. Basically everything besides the actual gameplay at the event.
Because there are so many different types of sports there are many different venues in which these sports are spectated.For the purpose of this study event venues will be broken into two separate groups, Flexible venues, such as golf and skiing, and stadium venues with sports such as baseball and football. Because of the differences in venues, there are certain sportscape factors that may be more important in a flexible venue than a stadium venue, vice a versa.
There are multiple goals of this research study. The first find out the difference between the sportscape factors of flexible venues and stadium venue sports. Next to find out some of the most important sportscape factors at a golf event. And to then compare the data I have collected to the previous data researched and try to find any patterns, similarities or differences. I am going to focus the flexible venue on golf, and the stadium venue on baseball, basketball, and football.
With the literature review I am going to talk about a few different sportscape factors, and how they would be different in each type of venue, leading to them having more or less importance. The first sportscape factor I am going to talk about is accessibility, which was one of the 8 factors used in the article that examined sportscape factors effects at a golf tournament. It was also seen as one of the more important factors from the spectators that were a part in their study. Accessibility in an event venue is basically how easy is it to get from where you are to where you want to be. There are different sides to the factor of accessibility, being what the spectator want’s and what the event manager wants. The spectator at a golf tournament wants to be able to take any way possible to be the first person to get to the next hole to see the next shot. The event manager wants to make sure that the spectators don’t get into a position where they can cause themselves or the players any distress or harm. For stadium sports it is pretty obvious where you should and shouldn’t be. There will be locked doors, and guards in areas where you cannot go, as well as signs to where the restrooms and concessions are.For the flexible venue of golf this is hardly the case. Event managers have to do their best to rope off the course so spectators will not go in areas that they are not allowed, but since it is such a large area it is not possible to have people watching every spectator at all times. While this part is very important in both a flexible and stadium venue, there is much more resistance that is able to be offered in a stadium sport, whereas for flexible sports there is a much looser plan of action against stray fans.
Another side to accessibility would be the ability to watch the event. For stadium sports such as baseball it is pretty simple where to look in order to find all of the action, there is one field, one pitcher and one batter on the field at a time. For golf there can be anywhere from 70 to 80 golfers on the course at one time. This makes finding the golfer you want to see very difficult, especially if you are not familiar with the course. This leaves the problem up to two separate groups to make sure a spectator is satisfied with the course accessibility. The first group would again be the event manager, who needs to try and rope the course off and set it up so that you can move from hole to hole as easily as possible, as well as have signs and directions on where you are and how to get certain places. Next it will be up to the volunteers or attendants who are working on the course. People will go to them and want to know how to get to a certain hole, or the concessions, or bathroom. If spectators are not able to find out how to get to see their favorite player through these two resources they are going to be extremely dissatisfied, and more likely to stay at home next time and watch the golf in the comfort of their own home.
Seating is much less of an issue in stadium sports, in that you choose where you sit. You can pay more to be closer to the action, or pay less for seats that may not be as desirable. For golf there is basically one general admission ticket to be able to see the life action. This can prove to be both a benefit and a weakness for golf. In one hand you have the opportunity to walk with some of your favorite players, and at times may even be a few feet away from them as they take their shot. However since there is no set seat, you may struggle to see because of people may all be there looking for the same person, or you may not be able to get to the place you want to be in time to see the shot.This leaves it up the the event manager to decide where there should be temporary seating set up, and the designated spectator watching areas. This is done only once for a stadium venue, and can be added to or have seats taken away, but for golf an event manager must decide where to put certain grandstands and seating, which can lead to many spectators being dissatisfied if they are not in the areas they would like to watch, or if they do not get an opportunity to use them because they are already filled up.
Data will be collected for this research study through both content analysis of previous researches and studies, as well as a survey administered at the 2012 Wegmans LPGA tournament. This will allow me to have a background of knowledge before I actually go and collect my own data. I will then draw conclusions from that data I receive as well as the data I have found from other researchers.
I am planning on doing a survey at the 2012 Wegmans LPGA Championship that is being help at Locust Hill Country Club right here in Rochester. The survey will be fairly short with three different sections of questions, each aiming at finding out something important to build a picture of the spectators overall satisfaction level. The first section will be some background information on the survey taker including age, sex and so on.Next will be a few sportscape factors, with a scale from 1 to 5 on how important these factors are to the spectator. There next will be an area where the spectator can write what factor of the tournament they think has been the most important to their satisfaction during their time at the event, and if they are overall satisfied with the event. The plan is to administer the survey to spectators as they are about to get onto the bus that takes them to where they have to park. The bus trip is approximately 10 minutes from the country club to the area where they had to park. It is my hope that during those 10 minutes the spectator will have nothing better to do than take the quick survey. There will be people waiting at the final destination of the bus, receiving any surveys that have been completed.
I will compare the information that I get from the surveys to the information found in studies and see if there are any patterns, similarities or differences. I will see if any of the sportscape factors I chose to have surveyed are actually ones that were seen as most important to the spectators satisfaction. I will use the data to test the hypothesis that there are different factors that are more important in a flexible venue, than a stadium venue, and the other way around.
Spectator Satisfaction in Golf
Examining Spectator Satisfaction in Golf By: Daniel Banach
Introduction What is Consumer Satisfaction? Spectator Satisfaction(Lambrecht, Kaefer, & Ramenofsky, 2009)(Jones, 2011)
Why Spectator Satisfaction To understand your customers Create loyal and life-long fans(Zo, Zhang, & Cattani, 2011) (Hansen & Gathuier, 1994)