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Title:Understanding television demand for National Football League: factors influencing sport demand across gender and age cohorts
Author(s):Xu, Jie
Director of Research:Tainsky, Scott
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Tainsky, Scott
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Green, Christine; Shinew, Kimberly; Zhang, Jinming
Department / Program:Recreation, Sport and Tourism
Discipline:Recreation, Sport, and Tourism
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
National Football League
Television viewers
Abstract:As viewership of sports have become an indispensable part of American culture, understanding the demand for spectator sports has become an essential branch of economic study. Gender and age are two vital demographics that have been addressed in many prior sport management studies. Although previous studies in sport participation reveal the importance of demographics in evaluating sport demand (e.g., Lera-Lopez & Rapun-Garate, 2007; Robinson & Trail, 2005), there are few studies regarding gender differences in sport economics. The purpose of this study is to understand the factors influencing sport demand trends within specific gender and age groups. The main research questions in this study are: “Is there a difference between male and female fans’ sport demand?” “Is there a difference between the demand of younger and older fans?” and “What factors mediate sport demand for different gender and age groups?” Among the mediating factors, this study focused particularly on outcome uncertainty. In this study, based on demand theory in economics, a hedonic model for each demographic (i.e. gender and age) group was developed. The model in this study followed Borland and Macdonald’s (2003) conceptual framework for professional sporting contests. The determinants included four main economic factors, consumer preferences, timing of contest, and characteristics of sport contests. Using the setting of National Football League (NFL) regular season games, telecast demand for each demographic group was estimated. Then comparisons of male and female television viewers, young and adult viewers, and young and older viewers were conducted. Among the meaningful findings, most determinants exerted statistically significant influences on both male and female viewers’ demand. Monday Night Football games and several month dummy variables were not significant in the gender-differentiated demand model. Surprisingly, outcome uncertainty did not play a significant role in either gender’s demand estimations. The comparison study revealed that there are more similarities than differences in the predictors of female and male viewership. In terms of gender-differentiated sport demand, there are several determinants that uniquely impacted female and male broadcast demand. For example, only one month dummy (which indicates the game was played in December and January) and YearTrend variable (Which indicates the season that NFL game was played) were found having significant impacts in female broadcast viewers. Meaningful determinants include the market’s television population size and local team quality, which were two variables that showed statistically significant difference across gender comparisons. With regard to age group differences, most determinants were also found statistically significant in three age groups’ broadcast viewers (i.e., youth, all adults, and older viewers). Moreover, Monday Night Football games and most month-based dummy variables were not significant influences on either youth or all adults’ demand, but those variables played significant roles in older viewers’ demand estimation. The lowest explained variance among these three estimations is the youth cohort’s demand model (45.6%), which means young people’s broadcast demand may be difficult to estimate and in need of further study. Three variables demonstrated significant differences across age groups. Those three salient determinants of age-based trends are local market’s average income, local team tenure and local team quality. One additional variable showed distinct impact on the viewership of youth versus older adults—early-season versus late-season broadcasts. It was found that there were fewer older adult viewers for early season when comparing with late-season games. An unexpected finding was that outcome uncertainty did not play a role in differences between male and female viewership, nor between youth and adult viewers or youth and older adult viewers. The main contribution of this study is developing economic framework for sport estimation delineated by gender and age groups. Moreover, this study’s in-depth view on how differences in determinants impact each group’s demand will improve the understanding of various cohorts’ sports consumption patterns. Empirically, the results of this study also provide the trends of sport consumption based on demographic groups, which would help league to know well of its customers and contribute to making marketing strategies.
Issue Date:2017-04-21
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Jie Xu
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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