The purpose of this research is to identify and explain the factors that define consumers' experiential consumption of sport. Studying experiential sport consumption phenomena is timely in both a theoretical and practical sens e . Theoretically this topic shifts the focus of consumer research away from the information processing perspective (Howard and Sheth 1969 ; Sheth 1974 Bettman 1979) and towards the experiential aspects of consumption (Holbrook and Hirschman 1982). Practically this research moves sport marketing past the surface investigations of sponsorship research in an attempt to explain the actual consumption phenomenon as experienced by one of the largest definable market segments in the world.
Variables previously identified as contributing significantly to sport spectating, experiential consumption, and traditional consumer decision making are brought together from different academic discourses and empirically tested in a unique methodological design. The program of research used a multi-method approach including a theoretical literature review, followed by both qualitative and quantitative studies in a four-stage research design.
Study One was a quantitative survey designed to provide a general profile of American sport consumer by investigating demographic and psychographic segmentation variables. Study Two used depth interviews to collect qualitative data about the hedonic aspects of the sport spectating experience. Using both phenomenological and traditional positivist focus groups, Study Three allowed the researcher to examine actual football consumption experiences and then clarify the operation of variables in those experiences. In preparation for the fourth and final study, Study Three resulted in the identification and labeling of variables believed to be operating in the experiential consumption of football. Game characteristics were proposed to be the independent variables impacting upon a s et of dependent variables including; experiential mood, emotion, experiential involvement, satisfaction and expectations. The relationship between the independent and dependent variables was believed to be moderated by social situation, and the respondents ' level of aggression and arousal seeking, sports enthusiasm, a priori involvement and a priori mood . Hypotheses were developed about the relationship between these variables.
Study Four, designed to test these hypotheses, involved quantitative data collection during actual football consumption experiences. The instrument designed to measure the variables during experiential consumption was tested during a pilot study. In contrast to past experiential studies that have used retrospective data collection techniques (Pavelchak, Antil and Munch 1 988; Allen, Machleit and Klein 1 992; Cooper-Martin 1 992; Mano and O liver 1993) , Study Four collected data throughout the course of actual sport consumption experiences. Multiple experiences were examined to allow for comparison of factors that manifest because of game specific conditions. The researcher has labeled this methodology as the Phenomenon Sampling Method (PSM) as it ' samples' the actual experiential phenomenon at different times throughout its duration……