Disability sport: A consumer behavior analysis




Wilson, Jacquelyn

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Within the sport industry there are several unique aspects that either directly or indirectly impact consumer behavior, preferences, and intentions of spectators. The niche market of disability sport is still generally underrepresented in sport management and marketing literature. The purpose of this research is to examine the factors that influence the consumption of disability sport. By examining these factors, a profile of consumers can be determined, finding the most engaged target market of disability sport.

This study utilizes a previously determined reliable and valid scale, the Motivation Scale for Disability Sport Consumption, MSDSC (Cottingham, Phillips, Hall, Gearity, & Carroll, 2014), to measure the motivations of disability sport consumers. These motives include: (a) vicarious achievement, (b) aesthetics, (c) drama, (d) escape, (e) acquisition of knowledge, (f) physical skill, (g) social interaction, (h) physical attractiveness, (i) inspiration, (j) cultural education, (k) “supercrip” image, and (l) violence/aggression. With a clearly defined sport spectator profile, marketers can target marketing accordingly, expand the fan base, increase awareness, draw more attention to disability sport, and therefore increase revenue and sustainability.

Individuals at a mid-sized Texas public university were surveyed with Psychdata.com. By surveying both consumers and nonconsumers, information was gathered about what motivates current consumers and what could create a new consumer of disability sport. The results of the survey were found to indicate differences between consumers and nonconsumers, differences between males and females, and differences based on college of enrollment. The research concluded that the top motivating factor for male consumers was vicarious achievement, while female consumers were motivated by physical skill. These results also indicated the highest motivating factor among current consumers was physical skill, and those that are nonconsumers selected vicarious achievement.

Marketers of disability sport can use consumer behavior research to select target markets that will be the most successful for increasing the awareness of disability sport. The differences in motivating factors between different groups allows marketers to target specific markets with their preferred motivating factor. With a complete understanding of the consumers within the target market, it then becomes more attainable for the organization to survive against the strenuous competition for funding and resources.



Social sciences, Health and environmental sciences, Consumer behavior analysis, Disability sport, Marketing literature, Sport management