Likelihood of Attending a Sporting Event as a Function of Ticket Scarcity and Team Identification

Daniel Wann
Christina Bayens
Allison Driver

Although sport scientists have examined a number of factors that increase attendance at sporting events (e.g., promotions, ticket cost), the impact of scarcity has remained uninvestigated. Based on past research in consumer psychology, it was hypothesized that individuals would report a greater interest in attending a sporting event in which few tickets remained (i.e., the scarce condition) than when tickets remained abundant (the not scarce condition). Additionally, previous studies have predicted that persons with a high level of identification with a target team would be more interested in attending a game involving that team than those with a low level of identification. An interaction between scarcity and identification was not expected; thus, the scarcity manipulation was predicted to have an equal effect on both types of fans. The hypotheses were tested by assessing the identification of 108 university students and presenting them with scenarios describing an upcoming game in which few or many tickets were available. The participants reported their desire to attend the game, and the results provided strong support for each hypothesis. Discussion includes the motivation underlying the scarcity effect in sport.