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.
Thilo Kunkel, Rui Biscaia, Akiko Arai and Kwame Agyemang
Matthew Katz, Bob Heere and E. Nicole Melton
The purpose of this study is to utilize egocentric network analysis to predict repurchase behaviors for college football season-ticket holders. Using a research approach grounded in network theory, we included the relational and behavioral characteristics of sport fans in a binomial regression model to predict renewal decisions among college football season-ticket holders. More specifically, we developed a model that incorporates the egocentric network variables, past behavior, and behavioral intentions to empirically test which consumer characteristics predict future behavior. Building on previous research emphasizing the role of socializing agents and social connections in sport fan consumption, through the use of egocentric network analysis, we examined the effects of social structure and social context on repurchasing decisions. Moreover, the present study is positioned within the larger discourse on season-ticket holders, as we aimed to add a network theory perspective to the existing research on season-ticket holder churn and renewal.
Steven Salaga, Scott Tainsky and Michael Mondello
The authors demonstrate that betting market outcomes are a statistically significant and economically relevant driver of local market television viewership in the National Basketball Association. Ratings are higher when the local market team covers the point spread and when point spread outcome uncertainty is increased. They further illustrate that point spread market outcomes have a larger relative impact on viewership in less-popular games and when the local market team is expected to perform poorly. This suggests wagering market access serves as insurance to the league and its franchises against reduced viewership in games that are less appealing to consumers. The results assess the degree to which wagering interest has driven past revenues as well as how the legalization of sports wagering may influence future revenues.
Lisa A. Kihl and Vicki Schull
The meaning and nature of athlete representation in sport governance is broad and goes beyond formalistic delegate models and voting rights accounts. This article explores the meaning and nature of representation in the context of intercollegiate sport governance. Interviews were conducted with intercollegiate athlete representatives and athlete representative administrative advisors to gain an understanding of how and why athlete representatives carried out their roles. Findings revealed that the meaning and motivations of athlete representation were based on the institutionalized deliberative democratic governance system. Representation meant standing and acting for the power of the athlete voice and having the capacity to generate the athlete voice into legislation and decision making. The performative role of representatives involved self-accountability, where they accepted responsibility to engage in a deliberative process of collective decision making. Implications for practice and future research on athlete representation in a deliberative democratic sport governance system are presented.
Sungho Cho, J. Lucy Lee, June Won and Jong Kwan (Jake) Lee
Under the federal trademark law, owners of famous sport trademarks may bring legal claims against unauthorized users of their marks under the infringement and dilution theory. Although the rationale of trademark infringement has been supported by various notions of consumer psychology and law and economics, the theory of dilution has been criticized for the lack of empirical support. This study investigated whether the junior use of major sport trademarks would have dilutive effects on the senior marks in financial terms. The study employed the contingent valuation method, a technique designed to estimate the economic values of nonpecuniary assets such as trademarks. A total of 140 subjects were exposed to dilutive information while they purchased sport brand merchandise. A series of pre- and posttests revealed that moderately famous sport trademarks suffered dilutive harm from junior use, whereas exceptionally famous marks were immune to the dilutive effects. Theoretical and practical implications were discussed.
Claudio M. Rocha
The purpose of this research was to describe temporal variations in Rio residents’ support for the 2016 Olympic Games and in the relationship between perceptions of legacies and support for the event. Drawing on social exchange theory, perceptions (expectations and evaluations) of tangible, intangible, and environmental legacies should affect support intentions. A longitudinal trend study was designed. Four multistage stratified random samples of Rio residents were surveyed in 2012 (n = 900), 2014 (n = 900), 2016 (n = 723), and 2018 (n = 550). Results showed that perceptions of legacies and support for Rio 2016 Olympic Games decreased progressively from 2012 to 2018. In the early stages of preparation (2012 and 2014), expectations of intangible and environmental legacies were predictors of support. In the year of the event and 2 years after the event, perceptions of tangible legacies were predictors of support. Longitudinal findings show that, to gain support, organizers promise unattainable legacies, which then lead to dwindling support, as they fail to deliver them. Findings suggest that organizers’ plans and actions of sport mega-events must change.
Scott Tainsky, Brian M. Mills, Zainab Hans and Kyunghee Lee
Investigation of minor league demand is scant relative to major leagues, particularly at the game level. This presents not only a contextual gap in the research, but also a conceptual one related to demand externalities. Minor League Baseball differs from major professional leagues in that gate revenue sharing is not a fixture in league policy, and talent investment decisions are made by the parent club. Nonetheless, it may be the case that a host club benefits from characteristics of its opponent. Econometric examination of over 31,000 minor league games across multiple leagues and seasons finds proximity to an opponent’s major league parent team increases attendance. Although the authors find evidence of increased demand for a top prospect from the home club, the presence of visiting top prospects is not associated with changes in attendance, prompting the question as to whether effective marketing efforts in this regard would increase home club revenues.
Erik L. Lachance and Milena M. Parent
Sport event volunteers have predominantly been examined in able-bodied events using quantitative methods. Studies examining the volunteer experience have focused on its relationship with different constructs, resulting in a siloed body of literature in which a holistic understanding of the volunteer experience remains poor. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships between key constructs (satisfaction, motivation, commitment, and sense of community) and the first author’s (E.L. Lachance) volunteer experience in a para-sport event. The analysis of the narrative using a volunteer experience conceptual framework composed of the key volunteer constructs identified two themes: (a) the power of sense of community and (b) the volunteer role as a source of dissatisfaction. Contributions include the volunteer experience conceptual framework and the relationships between the four constructs and the volunteer experience. Event managers should implement strategies to create a strong sense of community to enhance their volunteers’ experience.
Shaun M. Anderson and Matthew M. Martin
In 1989, former Major League Baseball (MLB) player John Young created the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program as a way to increase the number of African Americans becoming involved with the game of baseball. Along with this program, MLB created the Urban Youth Academy (UYA) in 2006 as a way to not only teach the game but also provide life skills to youth and adults. However, MLB continues to struggle in developing relationships and increasing involvement of African Americans. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to understand why African Americans are not interested or involved in MLB. Corporate social responsibility and relationship management theory were used as the frameworks for this study. Eleven RBI and UYA program managers were interviewed to determine the challenges they face in getting African Americans involved in the game. Results from this study indicated four themes regarding MLB program managers’ challenges: inconsistency in measuring success, lack of parental involvement, and lack of trust. A discussion, implications, and future directions are addressed.