Current knowledge on the behavioral response to sponsorship is to a large degree based on field studies measuring self-reported purchase intentions. In an effort to provide more solid evidence for the impact of sponsorship-linked communication on brand choice behavior, a controlled lab study was carried out. A fictitious brand was created and virtually embedded into real sport broadcasts serving as stimulus clips. To measure the cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes, multiple methods such as eye tracking, a brand feeling scale, and a spontaneous choice test were applied. Compared with the control group, participants in the stimulus group were significantly more likely to choose the fictitious target brand. Moreover, the study finds that brand choice behavior is sensitive to changes in brand feelings. The results can be regarded as a next step in predicting the behavioral outcomes from sponsorship as the basis to calculate its financial return.
Christopher Rumpf and Christoph Breuer
Julia S. Glahn
Yonghwan Chang, Yong Jae Ko and Brad D. Carlson
The researchers explore consumers’ emotional responses toward athlete brands by developing the associative evaluation–emotional appraisal–intention (AEI) model. The AEI postulates that unconscious (implicit attitudes) and conscious (explicit affective attitudes) levels of emotional responses systematically flow following assessments of perceived fit in athlete endorsements. Implicit attitudes were measured through the implicit association test, whereas pleasure, arousal, and pride captured explicit affective attitudes. Contrary to dominant beliefs about successful athlete endorsements, findings from a lab experiment indicate that low perceived fit affected implicit attitudes, which in turn affected arousal for consumers with high involvement. Pleasure, arousal, and pride were interrelated and systematically determined behavioral intentions of viewership and online friendship with athletes. Studies investigating athlete brands and endorsement success should consider the influence of both implicit and explicit attitudes on fan behavior. Managers should strategically utilize both low and high fit endorsements to facilitate emotional experiences and optimize desired consumption behavior.
Milena M. Parent, Michael L. Naraine and Russell Hoye
With the numerous changes to the sport system landscape since Slack and his colleagues examined national sport organizations’ governance in the 1990s, the purpose of this paper was to begin exploring the impact of these environmental changes on Canadian national sport organizations. To do so, we focused on five Canadian national sport organizations, from large Olympic sport organizations to small non-Olympic sport organizations. The two-pronged content and network analyses point to a convergence of governance structures and stakeholder interactions between the five organizations due in no small part to the new Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act. We found organizations coordinating with both traditional (e.g., athletes) and nontraditional (e.g., social media public) stakeholder groups as well as renewing their focus on accountability and transparency. These findings imply a need to revisit the kitchen table–boardroom–executive office archetype continuum and demonstrate the extent of influence environmental changes (e.g., technological advancement and new laws) can have on sport organizations.
Craig Hyatt, Shannon Kerwin, Larena Hoeber and Katherine Sveinson
While the sport fan literature suggests that it is common for parents to socialize their children to cheer for specific sports and teams, recent literature proposes that children can socialize their parents into changing the parents’ sport fandom in a process sociologists and consumer behavior researchers refer to as reverse socialization. To ascertain whether children can socialize and influence their parents’ sport fandom, 20 sport fan parents were interviewed. Evidence of reverse socialization was found in 15 of the participants, manifesting itself in ways that can be categorized as either developing new or additional fandom, or changing one’s behaviors or attitudes towards their existing fandom. However, further exploration of the data suggests that future research reexamine the term “reverse socialization,” as we do not see this as a directionality of influence, but as children as socializing agents.
Daniel Maderer, Petros Parganas and Christos Anagnostopoulos
Social-media platforms have become an important tool for sport marketers to communicate their brand image and engage with fans. This study analyzed 1,115 Facebook posts and 16,308 tweets from 10 of the most valuable European professional football clubs to identify the range of brand associations communicated and the level of online fan engagement. Statistical analysis captured correlations between and among selected brand attributes, time periods of posts (in and off-season), and levels of fan engagement. On both Facebook and Twitter, football clubs posted more frequently during the season, while content associated with product-related attributes was the focus of such communication. Product-related content was found to generate higher levels of online fan engagement. The study extends the literature on sport teams’ brand management through social media and offers practical recommendations on how to enhance fan identification and engagement and ultimately make financial and reputational gains.
Rebecca M. Achen, John Kaczorowski, Trisha Horsmann and Alanda Ketzler
Research on social-media use in sport should be expanded to include analyses of content popularity and comparisons across leagues. This study used content analysis and a multivariate multilevel model to compare content type and interaction across U.S. professional sport leagues. Results indicated that teams in the National Football League had the most comments, teams in the Major League Baseball had the most shares, and teams in the National Basketball Association had the most likes. Content coded as player and personnel promotion, which included behind-the-scenes content and human-interest stories, received the most interaction. Sport marketers can use this information to drive content strategy. However, content designed to encourage interaction is still posted less often than most other types of content. These results suggest that marketers in sport may be using Facebook to build relationships by connecting fans personally with players, but not by encouraging interaction or 2-way conversation.
Through this study, the author aimed to elucidate the asymmetrical patterns of dual attitude changes in the context of athlete endorsement. The main experiment included a test of the interactions of: Fit (low vs. high fit) × Evaluative conditioning (endorsement–positive vs. endorsement–negative feelings) × Introspection focus (logics vs. feelings). Based on the results, fit changed explicit attitudes, leaving implicit attitudes unchanged, whereas evaluative conditioning changed implicit attitudes to a greater extent. Introspection focus on logics (feelings) led participants to operate syllogistic inferences (associative evaluations); consequently, the logicality of fit (the conditioned feelings) determined both explicit and implicit attitudes and behavioral intentions. The study helps broaden current understandings of endorsement effectiveness by identifying situations in which dual attitude shifts intentions. Managers should be aware of the manipulability of consumers’ evaluation systems, and it is recommended to strategically employ either logic-reflected or feelings-elicited endorsement campaigns to leverage a brand’s equity.
T. Bettina Cornwell, Steffen Jahn, Hu Xie and Wang Suk Suh
Sports, the arts, and events are products in their own right, and when sponsored, they become marketing and communication platforms. The current research examines the role of event emotions on sponsor recall and intent to attend the event in the future. An important theoretical argument is that feeling to be part of an in-group, measured as in-group entitativity, moderates the relationship between emotions and outcomes of memory and intentions. To test our theoretical model, we surveyed attendees at a multiday international track and field event. A total of 282 individuals were surveyed, and 232 of these attendees qualified as audience members and were included in the analysis. Moderated regression analyses revealed that excitement, joy, boredom, and overall tone of the group atmosphere impact event outcomes for the sport and the sponsor, and furthermore, that in-group entitativity can function as an important moderator. Contributions to theory and practice are discussed.
Mathew Dowling, Becca Leopkey and Lee Smith
This article examines the current state of sport governance research within the field of sport management. In adopting Arksey and O’Malley’s framework, a scoping review was conducted involving a comprehensive search of all published literature between 1980 and 2016. The process involved searching four electronic databases and a manual search of sport management journals. The search identified (N = 243) journal articles that examined sport governance–related issues. Findings are presented as a frequency and thematic analysis. The frequency analysis reveals a notable increase in sport governance research in recent years with a large number of nonempirical studies focused on the not-for-profit sector. The thematic analysis draws upon and extends Henry and Lee’s three notions of governance and identifies sport governance–related topics, research contexts, and social issues. Findings indicate that all three forms of governance (organizational, systemic, and political) have contributed to our understanding of sport governance, but more empirical and theoretically driven research is needed.