Exploring the efficacy of youth sport camps to build customer relationships

David W. Walsh, B. Christine Green, Michael Cottingham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Professional sport teams strive to cultivate a large, loyal fan base. Relationship marketing is well suited for developing loyal customers. Professional sport teams provide youth sport camps mostly for added revenue streams and marketing extensions. However, research neglects to investigate which relationship factors may help build or reignite long-term fan development. This exploratory study examined the efficacy of these camps on factors theorised for developing long-term customer loyalty. Parents of camp participants were evaluated because they may appeal to teams interested in short- and long-term results. Using repeated measures MANOVA, matched pre- and post-camp data were collected from 70 parents of participants from four different NBA teams’ youth sport camps around the United States. Data analysis revealed the camps were effective in enhancing team identification, attitudes toward the team, and team satisfaction. Results suggest that youth sport camps assist in building customer relationships with parents. Further, the benefits of relationship marketing efforts may extend beyond primary participants via the familial socialisation process. The three aforementioned precursors to fan loyalty showed significant increases after parents’ experience with the teams’ youth sport camp. These findings highlight a possible marketing platform that can serve both short- and long-term objectives for professional basketball teams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-669
Number of pages13
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 3 2017


  • Sport marketing
  • fan loyalty
  • relationship marketing
  • team identification
  • youth sport programmes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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