South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation

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A motivation based typology of open-water swimmers

M Kruger, M Saayman, S Ellis


People travel to destinations for different reasons and the same applies to sporting events. To fulfil the needs of athletes and ensure that the event remains competitive, it is important to understand the needs of different markets through market segmentation. Reasons for participation (travel motives) were used to identify different market segments at the largest open-water swimming event in the world, the Midmar Mile in South Africa. The survey was conducted during the registration period in February 2010. A total of 461 questionnaires were administered and a factor analysis was conducted. Three motivational factors were identified: socialisation and escape, fun and entertainment and intrinsic achievement. ANOVAs were applied and the results showed that the swimmers did not have homogenous motives for participation. The results confirmed that motives for participating differ according to the sporting event, and that marketers and sport event organisers need to be aware that not all participants are the same. These findings can assist organisers to differentiate between the needs of different markets, and thereby adapt their marketing campaigns accordingly, which would lead to a more competitive and sustainable event.

Key words: Market segmentation; Factor analysis; K-means clustering; Travel motivation; Sport tourism; Sport participants.

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