by John Austen
They met playing soccerand then they started talking scholarship.
Marketing students Frank Pons and Mehdi Mourali of the varsity Stingers
will travel to Washington, D.C. in August to present a paper to the annual
conference of the American Marketing Association.
Why Do We Consume Sporting Events? Scale Development and Buying
Implications deals with sports fans and what makes them tick.
People go to watch sports for different reasons, said Pons,
who is 30, and working on his PhD. We set out to discover peoples
orientation towards a sporting event and the subsequent buying behaviour
of sports-related products.
The research for the paper is based on a survey Pons did for his Masters
degree. More than 200 people in the Quebec City area were interviewed.
An individuals orientation is composed of an affective component,
a cognitive component and a social component, said Mourali, 25,
who is finishing his Masters. These dimensions constitute
the different modalities that a sporting spectacle can offer.
Four fan groups
Pons and Mourali identify four different groups of fans. The Super Fan
cluster includes individuals with high scores on each dimension of the
sporting events orientation. These people know their stuff and display
behaviours that are in line with this strong orientation.
The second group includes individuals who are moderately sports-oriented
in general, but who present a strong orientation for the social aspects
of sports. The Social Fan is characterized by a medium to high level of
memorabilia purchase (to show belonging), average levels of TV or attendance
at live events, and an average level of spending on sporting events.
The third model, the Experimental Fan, describes consumers who have a
moderate general sports orientation, but who present a high sensation-seeking
The Fan by Default presents the lowest general orientation towards sporting
events, but still presents some levels of purchase, attendance and interest.
Even if you dont like sports, you still know who Tiger Woods
or Mario Lemieux are, Pons said.
At a certain point, sports goes beyond the boundaries. People follow
these people or events for different reasons.
Pons and Mourali credit Concordia Marketing Professor Michel Laroche,
as well as soccer coach Vladimir Pavlicik, for much of their success at
Dr. Laroche is one of the best marketing teachers around,
said Pons. We owe a lot to him.
Pavlicik, who is also the Assistant Director of Recreation and Athletics,
says his players excel both on and off the soccer field.
It doesnt surprise me that these two have written a paper
worthy of being presented at such a prestigious conference, said
Pons, a third-year defender with the Stingers, had the highest marks of
any student athlete last year. Mourali, a native of Tunisia, has played
midfield for the Stingers for the past two years. Both players have played
on Quebec University All-Star teams.
To do a paper like this, you have to have more than a passing interest
in sports, said Mourali. We thought this paper was interesting,
and I guess the American Marketing Association agreed. This trip is very
important for us.