This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Customer Satisfaction with the Game Day Experience: an Exploratory Study of the Impact Tailgating has on Fan Satisfaction




Nemec, Benjamin

Type of Degree



Nutrition and Food Science


This research reports on the little-known effects of fans’ satisfaction with tailgating on their overall satisfaction with the college football game day experience and the future behavioral intentions associated within. The underdeveloped nature of literature in this area illustrates the need for research and exploration, as sports are a major economic driver in both the US and internationally. Service quality and fan satisfaction are important determinants of their future behavioral intentions relating to attendance and support of an activity that brings significant financial contribution to host cities (Cronin & Taylor, 1992, 1994; Hu, Kandampully & Juwaheer, 2009; Kouthouris & Alexandris, 2005; Parasuraman, Zeithaml, & Berry, 1994). The objective aims to fill a void in the literature concerning participation in game day activities and how fans behave post-consumption of offered services. Specifically, tailgating will be used as the activity of focus and will be operationalized by measuring satisfaction with it and other tangential amenities. A wholly new satisfaction scale will be employed through use of an online questionnaire that will ask questions regarding demographics, satisfaction, and future behavioral intentions. A factor analysis will then be conducted on the satisfaction variables, which will reveal the most contributing variables to satisfaction with the tailgating experience. The results from this study will subsequently provide large sporting event managers with a guide to the importance of ancillary services in activities relating to the core event itself. A principal component analysis (PCA) was conducted on the final 15 items with orthogonal rotation (VARIMAX). The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure verified the sampling adequacy for the analysis, KMO = .92 (‘superb’ according to Field, 2009). Bartlett’s test of sphericity X2 (105) = 6051.53, p <.001, indicated that correlation between items were sufficiently large for PCA. Four components (Access, Security, Service Personnel, and Comfort) had eigenvalues over Kaiser’s criterion of 1 and in combination explained 61.76% of the variance, while its reliability remained high at α =.87. Inter-item correlations conducted to test the research questions are of moderate strength and are statistically significant at r >.4 and p < .01. These results are consistent with the belief that Tailgating has a statistically significant effect on fans’ overall satisfaction and future behavioral intentions. Because so little work has been done specifically in this area, further research is needed for scale validation, improvement, and increased acceptance of this study.