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Introduction

There is need for organizations to understand the composition of international marketing to enable managers come up with successful strategies that can work within the global market. Operation of business activities sometimes takes place in complex environments where the businesses face high risks and uncertainties. This calls for necessary knowledge and skills in marketing and business activities that enables effective competition of the firm with others within the market (Doole and Lowe 3).

Marketers in sporting events are faced with the challenge of finding out important factors that lure people towards or away from sporting events. High pricing of the tickets is considered one of the major factors affecting match attendance in UAE stadiums. The games receive poor publicity in the media leaving the people with the notion that the tickets might be selling at very high prices.

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There is almost no advertising of these games and considering also that few people are either interested or play the games. The slow processing and sale of tickets is also one of the contributing factors for lack of motivation towards the games within UAE. Also tight security around the stadiums which sometimes leads to confiscation of spectator items is one of the discouraging incidences contributing to low match attendance (AFP 1).

The rate at which people attend matches in stadiums is one of the potential sources of revenues. According to Cunningham and Kwon (139), the factors affecting fan turn out should not only be looked at theoretically but should be reviewed practically. There is the problem of marketing sports in UAE due to complexity in consumer behaviours and communication procedures.

United Arab Emirates experiences low attendees in stadiums during matches because the people are cultured towards watching cinemas and visiting shopping malls. The attendance to football games have dropped drastically in the recent times with the number recording few hundreds of spectators per match. The entertainment sectors like cinemas are more popular in UAE than the games.

This calls for effort by marketers in designing strategies on how to market football culture within UAE. The passion of football need to be restored back to the culture, this can be done through empowerment of youths, and creation of strong relationship between sports heroes and the fans.

Concerning the tight security round and within the stadiums, sports management should provide alternatives to fans, like introduction of open glasses of water to the fans (Rivzi 1). Poor promotion of the domestic leagues makes fans not to be informed about the games and the venue of matches. There is need to adopt other marketing mix elements like communication to replace the traditional free entry to football.

Problem statement

This research seeks to answer the question as to why football fans in United Arab Emirates do not attend matches at the stadium. From the sports administration view the sale of match tickets to fans is one of the important ways of raising revenue and also helps in promoting sporting activities within the country.

Literature review

There are many factors that affect the level of attendance on matches hosted in stadiums. Cunningham and Kwon (127), showed some factors which include the existing relationship between attitude and the reasons of attending a match. There is suggestion that teams should increase the level of interaction between players and fans.

It is also important for teams to advertise their historical background which can act as a pulling factor to some fans. It is the responsibility of sports management to identify some of phenomenon that goes with sporting events that may be of interest to the satisfaction of fans needs.

UAE football association was established in the year 1971 and has since struggled with the issue of maintaining good fan base. The association has so much focused on sponsorship driven football, where they invite European top team players for the purposes of improving public relations between sports and the people (Madichie 308-318).

According to Coughlin and Erekson (180-185), football is one of the most attended games and its contribution acts as the primary determinant of revenue contribution to the sporting department. The ability of converting regular attendee of matches in UAE to season ticket holder and attract more fans depends on a number of factors which include the ability to field winning teams (DeSchriver).

This seems tricky on the side of administration since it is not easy to maintain winning team on a yearly basis. The sports games must be made more interesting to keep the fans at the level where they long for more of such experiences seasonally. There is also a lot of concern by fans on the physical surroundings of the stadiums and security.

According to Bitner (57-71), the physical environment of any sporting stadium matters a lot and determines the level of consumer turn out.

The type of services plays important role towards determining the rate at which consumers frequent the any leisure setting. In applying the type of services concept to social settings, Wakefield and Blodgett (66-71), experimented with two Baseball stadia and found out that most of the fans who commented positively on the quality of type of services were most likely to frequent the stadium for future events.

This is contrary to those who had negative comments on the stadia services, since they were less likely to be back for future events. Quality services of a stadium are mostly determined by the crowd capacity it can contain comfortably in one match setting.

Other factors like team loyalty were found to be one of the factors that affect fans’ desire to frequent games at given stadiums. There are other variables like parking space, spectators control and the quality of food served within the stadium restaurants. This shows that sports arena is one of the major factors that affect the rate of attendance of matches within stadiums and the decision by fans to purchase more tickets in future games.

Study on the attendance behaviour during games is considered to be influenced by psychological, economic and social factors. Kelman’s Functional Psychological theory of attitudinal Influence measures the motivational tools that influences match attendance in stadiums. This theory applies some constructs such as sense of obligation and identification with the victory (Kahle, Kambara and Rose, 51-60).

Then there is the social theory that uses the concept of casual social nature of human being. This stresses the fact that sporting events should be utilized as places for healthy interactions between people of diverse backgrounds. The games should have clear definitions on the nature of fans and the duration of matches.

There should also be clear sense of fanaticism for specified events and enough room for socialization. Boundaries are drawn concerning the level of noise from the crowd within the stadium and the level of interactions between players and fans. Restrictions should be made on some negative behaviour like smoking and high ticket prices (Kahle, Kambara and Rose, 51-60).

Hypothesis

The rate of attendance in any match in UAE stadiums is dependent on the value fans attach to tickets based on the level of quality entertainment brought by the game
There is no relationship between the value of the ticket and the quality of entertainment that fans attach to games

Research methods

Telephone surveys were conducted to randomly selected fans who were asked to explain on what motivates them to attend matches. They were also asked on their frequency on game attendance. Research was conducted on some households to ascertain on the influence of community beliefs on certain aspects of games. This revealed that community disapproval of any game affects the general view and attendance towards the game.

Variables related to stadium services such as parking space, security of fans and quality food were examined. The data was finally analysed using SPSS package which showed any relationship that existed between independent and dependent variables. Correlation research was used to determine the level of similarity between dependent and other independent variables (Gall et al).

Correlation is the most preferred method since it helps in revealing the factors that determine frequency of attendance of fans to matches hosted within stadiums. The only disadvantage associated with correlation research design is that it gives more descriptive results than those given by use of experimental methods.

Results

The findings identified several categories of fans, those who were highly involved in sporting activities, those who are significantly involved and those not very concerned about sporting activities.

The first category of highly motivated fans considers matches as point of influence from which they can build their sense of importance. This kind of fan enjoys the matches and appreciates the entertainment that goes with it. In this case the marketers can utilize marketing of specific events with detailed information about the teams to attract such like fans.

The second group were found to be attracted by the organization and setting of the stadium during the matches. Then the third group of lowly motivated are only attracted to the game leaders or highly rated players. This calls for marketers to consider serious marketing on league leaders, top scorers or highly rated players.

Conclusion

There is call for sporting managers to strategise on how to build stadiums that are more comfortable for fans. The stadiums should include adequate ventilation space and temperature regulators that make it conducive for interactions.

Marketers should focus on how to provide promotions that enable easy interactions between fans and top players and also create spaces that allow the fans to air their views through media. This helps in promoting fan identification which increases the level of enjoyment that accompanies sporting activities within the stadium.

There is need to introduce prize draws for attraction purposes. This is where valuable products are presented to winners at sporting events. Though there is still belief that the best way to attract fans is through signing high profile players and involving participation of top continental teams within the sporting events, the use of incentives is still applicable (Rivzi 1).

Works cited

AFP. Confusion, apathy explains poor games ticket sales. 2010.
26th October, 2010

Bitner, Mary. “Type of services: The impact of physical surroundings on customers And employees”. Journal of Marketing, 56 (1992): 57-71.

Coughlin, Cletus. & Homer, Erekson. “An Examination of Contributions to Support Intercollegiate Athletics”. Southern Economic Journal 51(1984):180-195.

Cunningham & Kwon. “The Theory of Planned Behaviour and Intentions to Attend a Sport Event”. Sport Management Review 6(2003): 127-145

DeSchriver, Timothy. “Factors affecting spectator attendance at NCAA Division II Football contests”. International Sports Journal, 3(1999):55-65.

Doole, Isobel & Robin, Lowe. International marketing strategy. South- Western Cengage Learning, London, 2008

Gall, Mark, Wiener, Borg & Gall, Cheryl. Educational Research: An introduction (6thed.). White Plains, NY: Longman Publishers USA, 1996. Print

Kahle, Lynn, Kambara, & Rose. “A functional model of fan attendance Motivations for college football”. Sport Marketing Quarterly, 5 (1996): 51-60.

Madichie, Nnamdi. “Professional Sports: a new ‘services’ consumption mantra in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)”. The Marketing Review, 9 (2009a): 308-318.

Rivzi, Ahmed, 2009, Low attendances are a worry for game in UAE. 2009.
26th October, 2010

Wakefield & Blodgett. “The importance of type of services in leisure Service settings”. The Journal of Services Marketing, 8(1994): 66-76.

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