The formation and effect of attitude importance in professional sport
This article was originally published in European Journal of Marketing. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.
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Current research has largely overlooked importance as a meta‐attitude consumers develop from related judgments. Drawing from observations by consumer theorists and attitude strength researchers, the present study seeks to investigate the formation and effect of attitude importance in an experiential setting, spectator sport.
The study adapts a stimulus‐response framework to conduct a structural examination of attitude importance. The investigation includes a multi‐stage sampling procedure that distributed surveys to spectators attending five professional sport matches (n=370).
Path analysis of a multiple indicator‐multiple cause (MIMIC) model revealed that perceptions of technical and functional aspects of the service experience fuel a meta‐attitude of importance. When evident in dual judgments of product interest and brand importance, the construct is able to play a significant role in patron responses.
These findings offer insight on the nature of importance and its role in moderating spectator behavior. Support for the structural sequence also holds implications for researchers interested in delineating other strong attitudes. However, study findings are limited to hedonic service consumers and await replication in other product settings.
Practical implications consider different mixes of dual judgments and strategies organizations might use to leverage a meta‐attitude of importance in their patrons. Examples of scenario‐based challenges to managing this disposition in the sport industry and in other consumer contexts are discussed.
Despite early attention by marketing practitioners on the importance of individual product features, explanations of how a larger meta‐attitude forms and affects customers are rare. The study developed a MIMIC model and used path analysis to address the matter.