Examining the Role of Price Fairness in Sport Consumer Ticket Purchase Decisions

Stephen L. Shapiro
Brendan Dwyer
and Joris Drayer

Ticket pricing in professional sports is transitioning from a cost-based to demand-based approach. It has been argued that consumer perceptions of fairness regarding demand-based ticket pricing could influence purchase decisions. Perceptions of unfair pricing practices can lead to dissatisfaction and negatively affect purchase behavior. However, familiarity with demand-based pricing strategies could mitigate perceptions that real-time price fluctuations are unfair to the consumer. Guided by transaction utility theory, the current study examined the relationship between various ticket offers, consumer perceptions of fairness, familiarity, and intentions to purchase professional sports tickets. The findings support previous theory suggesting perceptions of fairness and purchase intentions differ based on specific transaction conditions. Source of the ticket, reference price, and familiarity played a role in these perceptions. This study extends the body of knowledge in sport consumer behavior by highlighting the value of fairness perceptions, familiarity, reference price, source of the ticket, and the use of price as a marketing tool.