Sports Management Student to Help Gauge Fan Satisfaction at UWF Football Games

Pensacola – University of West Florida sports management senior Mark Chasteen will be at every Argonaut home football game this season, but he won’t need a ticket. He’ll be working.

“I feel grateful that I’ve been given the opportunity to participate in something historical,” said Chasteen, a research assistant for Dr. Matthew Ruckman, assistant chair of the legal studies, public administration and sport management department. Chasteen and Ruckman will help Dr. Chenxiang “Charlie” Song and the students in Song’s 3000-level sports marketing class conduct surveys with fans at the games.

Students in the marketing class will conduct two surveys at every home football game. The first is about fan satisfaction, and the second is about the effectiveness of marketing messages. The second study distinguishes between marketing messages that are delivered via print or signage, and those in an audio or video format.

Using surveys that will be emailed to fans during the game, the marketing students will gather data about fan satisfaction as it relates to issues such as parking, safety, family-friendly atmosphere, seating and customer service.

Mark Chasteen in front of a computer screen in his office.
Mark Chasteen, a senior in sport management at UWF, will help analyze fan satisfaction data from every home game of the season.

For the marketing survey, students in the class will use iPads and conduct interviews. They will approach fans in the standing room only section of the stadium after the half-time show to ask questions. Students are asking fans three main questions. The first is “What pre-game commercial promotions have you noticed?” Answer choices include parking lot signage, sponsors’ tables and tents, coupon giveaways and social media site posts.

The second is “What in-game audio commercial promotions have you noticed?” Possible answers include audio effects tied in with game actions, public address system with sponsors’ names during breaks and the Argonaut radio broadcast.

The third question asks “What in-game visual commercial promotions have you noticed?” Possible answers are billboard displays, giveaway tables on the concourse and signage on the stadium’s video board.

Song and Ruckman, who are the co-researchers on both the fan satisfaction and marketing studies, said there are several reasons to conduct research at the football games, especially during the inaugural year.

“It gives our students a chance to do hands-on, high-impact learning, and they get so much out of it whether they are going to practice sports managements or become a professor or a research scholar. During undergraduate studies is the best time to start doing research at every possible opportunity,” Song said.

Ruckman said doing research projects like this allows research assistants like Chasteen to get experience, too.

“Mark will be helping analyze the data and developing presentations and manuscripts for publication based on the data,” Ruckman said. “That is invaluable.”

Field Work is a monthly series that highlights research and other scholarly activities being conducted by UWF undergraduate students.