Demographic Predictors of Recreational Tennis Participant’s Sport Commitment


  • Jonathan M. Casper
  • Megan Babkes Stellino


segmentation, commitment, sport commitment model, tennis


Prior leisure research has focused on behavioral and psychological variables, such as involvement, loyalty, and commitment to understand sport and leisure behavior. With commitment, research has found that highly committed participants will be valuable consumers of their chosen activity through sustained participation, higher involvement, and increased loyalty to an activity. Expansion of this line of research has led to understanding how these variables, such as commitment, differ based on segmentation of key user groups, but little research has been conducted to understand what influences the commitment levels of recreational sport participants. The sport commitment model posits that there are six antecedents that predict commitment: enjoyment, involvement alternatives, involvement opportunities, personal investments, social constraints, and social support. This study sought to understand commitment of recreational tennis players based on the sport commitment model.The purpose of this study was to understand the relationship between demographic segments (age, sex, income, and skill level) of community tennis association members on commitment and the theoretical antecedents founded in the sport commitment model. Members of community tennis associations completed a web-based questionnaire that assessed items related to the sport commitment model and demographic information. To investigate demographic differences based on the individual variables in the model, multivariate analysis was conducted with post-hoc tests to identify differences within the categories. Results found significant differences based on a participant’s age for commitment, involvement alternatives, and social constraints. Enjoyment, personal investments, and social support significantly differed based on sex.To understand differences in how the antecedent predictors differed in predicting commitment, a regression analysis was conducted. Results found enjoyment to be the strongest predictor of commitment across all demographic categories, but there were significant differences in the strength of predicting commitment based on the other antecedent variables.The present results demonstrate that there are stable predictor variables of commitment within the model along with significant differences. Based on the present study results, sport commitment variables among various populations should not be generalized across demographics. The findings also add to the leisure research by providing evidence that personal, social, and monetary based variables directly contribute to commitment and suggest committed sport participants differ based on segmentation. Marketing implications suggest the importance of enjoyment and involvement opportunities for all market segments. Marketing efforts to younger and less skilled participants include tactics that emphasize the benefits of tennis compared to competing sports/activities and creating more social events. The findings also provide evidence that promotions to enhance time and monetary investment in the sport can increase player commitment.?





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