Developing a Conceptual Understanding of Consumer-based League Brand Associations

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Thilo Kunkel Temple University

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Daniel Funk Temple University & Griffith University

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Ceridwyn King Temple University

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Existing research has primarily focused on sport teams as brands, overlooking the branding of professional sport leagues. Professional sport leagues are required to build and leverage their brand associations to be sustainable and to help affiliated teams. This study integrated existing team brand association research with brand architecture literature to examine league brand associations from a consumer perspective. A freethought listing pilot test (N = 22) was followed by semistructured interviews (N = 26) to uncover 17 brand associations linked with professional sport leagues. Online questionnaires among consumers of four sport leagues in Australia (N = 1182) were used to support 17 distinct identified league brand associations. One sample t tests and correlation analyses empirically revealed that 17 league brand associations were linked with attitudinal and behavioral outcomes related to sport leagues. Finally, ANOVAs identified that some league brand associations differed between four leagues as perceived by consumers, reflecting league specific characteristics.

Kunkel and King are with the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. Funk is with both the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, and the Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Correspondence regarding this article can be sent to: thilokunkel@gmail.com.

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