Generation Z and Attending Traditional Spectator Sports: A Study of Contemporary Sport Consumer Behaviour
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Understanding consumer behaviour and attracting new generations of consumers are important aspects of operating a successful sport organization (Teed et al., 2008). However, limited academic attention has been given to the most recently emergent generation: Generation Z (Gen Z). Moreover, it has been shown that the interest level in traditional spectator sports is waning amongst younger consumers (Richelieu & Pons, 2005; 2009) and, most recently, Gen Z (Kuchefski, 2018; Whistle, 2018). The purpose of this research was therefore to better understand the sport consumption behaviours of this Gen Z by examining both the motivators and inhibitors to their nominal spectator sport consumption. Participants (n=17) were recruited physically in Hamilton, Ontario and virtually through social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Using a semi-structured format, a total of three synchronous online focus group interviews were conducted with individuals from Gen Z. It was clear from a thorough analysis of the data that participants viewed the consumption of traditional spectator sports analogously with attending live games. Thus, the data, its themes, and its implications were inherently linked to attending traditional spectator sports. Although there were important intragroup differences found, several important motivators and inhibitors were present. Socialization, status, and experimental behaviours all presented as significant motives for Gen Z to attend traditional spectator sports. Alternatively, issues with affordability and a shared unrest proved to be important inhibitors to nominal spectator sport consumption. Directions for future research and recommendations are presented and discussed.