Over and over : local fans and spectator sport tourist engagement

Cordina, Renzo and Gannon, Martin Joseph and Croall, Ross (2018) Over and over : local fans and spectator sport tourist engagement. Services Industries Journal. ISSN 0264-2069

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    Abstract

    This study investigates consumer engagement within the live sport-as-service industry by exploring the match-day experiences of spectator sport tourists. It highlights the importance of authentic and sincere experiences manifest through tourists’ interactions with local fans. Data was collected via semi-structured interviews with international tourists who had visited Glasgow and attended a Celtic FC match. The findings demonstrate that football clubs may overlook the importance of consumer engagement, and that local fans are crucial in sustaining sports tourists’ engagement. To this end, the findings suggest that tourist interactions with local fans can stimulate more memorable and enjoyable travel. Further, the vocal, visual displays provided by local fans contribute to an authentic and sincere travel experience. The study therefore suggests that local fans are a resource under-utilised by professional sports teams, with their contribution serving as a vital bridge between organisation and tourist in fostering engagement.