Forty Years of BIRGing: New Perspectives on Cialdini’s Seminal Studies

in Journal of Sport Management
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  • 1 Merrimack College
  • | 2 The Ohio State University
  • | 3 Florida State University
  • | 4 Northern Illinois University
  • | 5 Louisiana State University
  • | 6 University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • | 7 University of Louisville
  • | 8 Concordia University Saint Paul
  • | 9 Syracuse University
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Published 4 decades ago, “Basking in Reflected Glory: Three (Football) Field Studies” (Cialdini et al., 1976) is the most influential study of sport consumer behavior. This article features re-creations of Studies 1 and 2, exactly 40 years after the original publication. The results of Study 1 were reproduced, with participants more than twice as likely to wear school-affiliated apparel after wins and 55% less likely after losses. The study also extends the BIRGing literature in its investigation of the influence of gender and the effect’s salience over time. Study 2’s results were not reproduced. However, study participants were significantly more likely to use first-person plural pronouns, providing further empirical evidence of BIRGing behaviors. This article makes a novel contribution to the sport consumer behavior literature by advancing the study of one of the field’s most foundational theories and serving as an impetus for future investigations of BIRGing motivations.

Jonathan A. Jensen is with the Department of Marketing, International Business, & Sport Management, Merrimack College, North Andover, MA. Brian A. Turner is with the Department of Human Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Elizabeth Delia is with the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA. Jeffrey James is with the Department of Sport Management, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL. Christopher Greenwell is with the Department of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY. Chad McEvoy is with the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL. Stephen Ross is with the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, Concordia University, St. Paul, MN. Chad Seifried is with the School of Kinesiology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA. Patrick Walsh is with the Department of Sport Management, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY.

Address author correspondence to Jonathan A. Jensen at