Using Athletes as Endorsers to Sell Women’s Sport: Attractiveness vs. Expertise

in Journal of Sport Management
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  • 1 The Ohio State University
  • | 2 Texas A&M University
  • | 3 University of Minnesota
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This study drew from the match-up hypothesis and associated learning theory to examine the effects of athlete attractiveness and athlete expertise on (a) endorser-event fit, (b) attitudes toward an event, and (c) intentions to purchase tickets to an event. Students (N = 173) from three universities participated in an experiment to test the study’s hypotheses. Results indicate that athlete attractiveness and athlete expertise were both positively related to endorser-event fit and the effects of expertise on fit were significantly stronger than those of attractiveness. Further, attitudes toward the event partially mediated the relationship between endorser-event fit and intentions to purchase tickets to the event, whereas identification moderated the relationship. Results are discussed relative to associative learning theory and the match-up hypothesis, as well as ramifications they present for marketers and promoters of women’s sport.

Fink is with The Ohio State University, 451 Larkins, Columbus, OH 43210. Cunningham is with Texas A&M University, Dept. of Health and Kinesiology, TAMU 4243, College Station, TX 77843-4243. Kensicki is with the University of Minnesota Journalism Dept., 304 Murphy Hall, Minneapolis, MN 55455

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