This study highlights the importance of brand image for fan loyalty in team sport. A parsimonious 4-factor, 20-indicator structure effectively represents brand image. In contrast to Keller’s proposed model, relationships between the brand image’s components were discovered. Thus, in line with means-end theory, a brand-image model should incorporate causalities among brand attributes, benefits, and attitudes. Fan loyalty is positively influenced by a fan’s brand attitude. Relationships among the brand-image dimensions and loyalty are confirmed via structural equation modeling. The non-product-related brand attributes (i.e., logo or tradition) have a particularly large impact on attitudes and behavior. They represent promising starting points for a successful and differentiating team brand strategy.
The authors are with the Dept. of Business Administration and Marketing II, University of Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany.