Eric Hungenberg – University of Tennessee – Chattanooga
Kurt C. Mayer, Jr. – Roanoke College
In sport spectatorship, past works have suggested football audiences to be particularly disparate with regards to attendance motives and attachments. As such, the purpose of this study was to investigate event experience perspectives among attendee segments at Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) games. Data were collected by self-administering surveys on-site during home games played at a public FCS Division I institution in the southeastern region of the United States. Distinguishable characteristics were explored between students, season ticket holders, and single-game purchasers by conducting Multi-group Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). SEM was used to test causal relationships among eight sportscape factors (i.e., facility design, facility maintenance, game/stadium atmosphere, crowd energy, staff, facility access, player performance, and self-service technology), and attendees’ assessment of event quality and institutional brand equity. The model comparison between single game attendees, season ticket holders, and students rendered significant differences. It is evident that perceptions of event quality plays a more pronounced role in cultivating brand equity among those whodo not possess partiality towards the institution and its football team (i.e., single-game attendees versus season ticket holders/students). Findings also indicated that the pervasive factor explaining event quality, regardless of spectator type, was the game’s atmosphere.