Toward Team or Player? How Trust, Vicarious Achievement Motive, and Identification Affect Fan Loyalty

in Journal of Sport Management
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This study extends literature on the effects of fan identification on fan loyalty, and antecedents that trigger such effects. This study incorporates trust, a key relationship marketing construct, in the sport industry. The relationship between trust and two other critical antecedents of sport fan loyalty, identification and vicarious achievement motive, is examined from the perspectives of both fan-player and fan-team. The results show that antecedents from distinct perspectives influence loyalty differently. Team identification (fan-team level) is the major determinant of fans’ repatronage intention, with trust in the team as the key driver. However, player identification (fan-player level) has an indirect effect, which must go through team identification to repatronage intention. Therefore, sport organizations are recommended to invest a substantial part of their resources on activities that generate long-term effects, such as trust in the team and team identification, rather than on short-term strategies such as attracting star players.

Wu and Hung are with the Dept. of Marketing and Distribution Management, National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan. Tsai is with the College of Management, National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, and the Dept. of Marketing and Distribution Management, Kao Yuan University, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan.

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