In this brand community analysis, the authors utilized both the social identity approach and network theory to examine the multiple identities and patterns of interactions among members of an official soccer supporters club. Based on the Multiple In-Group Identity Framework and the brand community triad, the authors differentiated between team and supporter club identity to explore how each affects consumption behaviors. Furthermore, the authors explored the nature of fan relationships based on network principles of multiplexity and homophily as they relate to consumption and socializing ties among fan club members. They also explored the network structure of the brand community. Using both network theory and network methodologies, the authors examined how the multiple identities and many relationships within the brand community affect the consumption behaviors of fan club members. Theoretical and practical implications were considered as they relate to sport consumer behavior and sport marketing.
Matthew Katz, Thomas A. Baker III and Hui Du
Matthew Zimmerman and Lauren Burch
Travis R. Bell
Mark E. Moore
Jeffrey W. Kassing and Pratik Nyaupane
This work explores the phenomenon of soccer pilgrimage (i.e., international travel by U.S.-based supporters to matches and stadia in Europe). A purposive sample of 67 pilgrims who supported a variety of clubs participated. Respondents completed a survey questionnaire designed to inquire about their experience, including why they undertook pilgrimages, how they felt about them, their reaction to having completed pilgrimages, and how they described the experience to others when asked about it. A constant comparative analysis revealed that respondents socially constructed the social atmosphere, the sacred nature, and the authenticating capacity of soccer pilgrimages. Overall, soccer pilgrimage represents a form of secular pilgrimage defined by sociality, sacrality, and liminality.
Mathieu Winand, Matthew Belot, Sebastian Merten and Dimitrios Kolyperas
This study aimed to analyze the way Twitter is used by international sport federations (ISFs) to interact and engage with their followers. A content analysis of 5,389 online messages tweeted by FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) using NVivo qualitative data-analysis software was conducted between August 2014 and January 2015. Results suggest that FIFA does not use Twitter to its full potential, mainly sharing 1-way information rather than engaging to a greater level with its followers. The research highlights the importance of effectively using Twitter as a potential powerful communication tool for ISFs, which are understood as meta-organizations whose members are organizations themselves. Communicating about social development and engaging followers, including their affiliated national sport associations, could potentially increase ISFs’ reputation and build trust among followers and stakeholders.