The Role of Self-Brand Connection on the Relationship Between Athlete Brand Image and Fan Outcomes

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This research explored the role of athlete on- and off-field brand image on consumer commitment toward the athlete and associated team, preference by the athlete’s sponsor, and the mediating effect of consumers’ self-brand connection on these relationships. Data were collected from fans of soccer players through a cross-sectional survey promoted on social media platforms. A partial least squares structural equation model examined the direct effects of both athlete brand dimensions on athlete commitment, team commitment, and athlete sponsor preference, and the indirect effects mediated via self-brand connection. The results indicate that an athlete’s on-field image is significantly related to athlete sponsor preference, while the off-field image influences athlete commitment and team commitment. Self-brand connection is influenced by athlete off-field image and mediates the relationship between off-field image and athlete commitment. This study contributes to a better understanding of how to manage athlete brands and linkages between fans, athletes, and associated entities.

Kunkel is with the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA. Biscaia is with the Faculty of Business and Law, School of Marketing and Management, Coventry University, Coventry, United Kingdom. Arai is with the School of Management, Department of Management, Tokyo University of Science, Tokyo, Japan. Agyemang is with the School of Kinesiology, College of Human Sciences & Education, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.

Kunkel (thilo.kunkel@temple.edu) is the corresponding author.
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