Association of Marketing Theory and Practice Proceedings 2011


Dimensions of Market Demand Associated with Professional Women Basketball Game Events in Korea

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Conference Track

Sport Marketing

Publication Date



As more females are engaging in various participatory sport activities, particularly organized team sports, there are also a growing number of female audiences attending a variety of sporting events. For example, females made up 70% of the attendance at professional women’s basketball games (Armstrong, 1999) and accounted for 46% of MLB and 38% of NBA fan bases (Yerak, 2000). Although women’s sports have attracted an increasing number of consumers, they usually receive far less recognition, especially in the areas of obtaining sponsorships and media coverage (Michaelis, 2003). The WNBA is considered as the most successful women’s league in the sports history; its success is hugely dependent on the initial financial support and pubic reputation of its founder, the NBA league (Zhang et al., 2003). Few women’s sport teams are afforded the luxury of such financial backing and those without such support have failed. In fact, with the exception of WNBA, every professional women league of various sports (e.g., softball, baseball, soccer, and volleyball) has experienced suspension and termination in North America’s recent history. The Women’s Korean Basketball League (WKBL) was established in 1998 and the league currently has 6 teams located in major cities throughout Korea. These teams are typically owned and operated by major corporations. Spectators in attendance are critical to the financial success of WKBL as game attendance is the primary revenue producer for its teams; whereas, a majority of the teams are struggling with attracting spectators to their game events. These evidences suggest that it is critical to identify those key factors affecting event marketing effectiveness and also influence spectator decision to attend WKBL game events (Zhang, Pease, Hui, & Michaud, 1995).

Market demand is a cluster of pull factors associated with the game event that a team can provide to its prospective and returning spectators (Braunstein et al., 2005; Hansen & Gautheir, 1989; Zhang, Pease, Hui, & Michaud, 1995). It is important to study market demand variables to understand consumer expectations and execute effective marketing strategies (Braunstein, 2005; Zhang et al., 1995). Previous market demand studies have identified that event attractiveness elements (e.g., individual skills, presence of star players, team records, league standing, record-breaking performances, closeness of competition, event schedule, location convenience, and arena quality) and event promotion activities (e.g., publicity, special events, entertainment programs, and giveaways) were key market demand factors (e.g., Hansen & Gauthier, 1989; Schofield, 1983; Zapalac, Zhang, & Pease, 2010; Zhang et al., 1995, 2003a, 2003b). In the meantime, the effectiveness and quality of event operations with regard to arena staff, ticketing service, event amenities, in-game audio-visual display, and parking accessibility have also been found to influence the level of event consumption (Zhang, Smith, Pease, & Lam, 1998). A majority of previous studies have been conducted in various men’s professional sport settings. Although the research findings of these studies can shed light on the formulation of marketing strategies for WKBL game events, consumer demand of core game attributes and event operations may vary in a women’s professional game setting; in particular, WKBL is the first-ever professional women’s sport league in Korea and much is unknown about its marketing environment and socio-cultural context.

The purpose of this study was to examine the dimensions of market demand associated with WKBL game events and their impact on perceived value, revisitation intention, referral, and actual consumption behavior of WKBL consumers. Based on a comprehensive review of literature, the Scale of Game Event Marketing (SGEM) was formulated with 26 items under three factors: Event Attractiveness, Event Promotion, and Event Operation. Along with the SGEM items, the questionnaire also included a total of 11 items measuring perceived value, revisitation intention, referral, and actual consumption behavior. A test of content validity was conducted by a panel of experts (n = 6). Research participants (N = 677) were spectators attending six different WKBL game events during a recent season. Test administration was conducted in the arena prior to the start of a game or during halftime of the game. A two-step analytical approach was carried out for data analyses, including a CFA and a SEM. The CFA revealed that the overall measurement model fit the data reasonably well (S-B χ2 /df (912/413) = 2.21, p < .01; RMSEA = .042; CFI = .909; SRMR = .047). The SEM indicated that the specified structural model involving seven latent variables (i.e., game attractiveness, event promotion, event operation, perceived value, revisitation intention, referral, and consumption) fit data well (S-B χ2 /df (1115/424) = 2.63, p < .01; RMSEA = .049; CFI = .905; SRMR = .054). With respect to the significance of the path coefficients, Game Attractiveness and Event Operation factors had positive effects on perceived value (β = .37 and β = .21); however, Event Promotion was not found to be significantly (p < .05) related to perceived value. Perceived value had positive effects on both revisitation intention and referral (β = .76 and β = .72). Finally, revisitation intention had positive effect on actual game consumption level (β = .35). The findings of this study suggest that when promoting WKBL game events, team management and marketers need to focus on highlighting game attractiveness and the high quality of event operations. It is important for WKBL teams to provide high quality games, adopt multiple means of marketing campaigns, formulate exciting entertainment elements for pre-game, during-game, and post-game amenities. Essentially, it is highly attractive game events and high quality event operations that draw and retain consumers for WKBL teams, elevate their perceived value of the game events, and inspire them and their associates for repatronage. To a great extent, these findings are actually consistent with those of previous investigations that were primarily conducted in western countries.

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