Athlete endorsers’ transgressions pose a dilemma for loyal fans who have established emotional attachments toward the individual. However, little is known regarding how fans maintain their support for the wrongdoer. Drawing on moral psychology and social identity theory, the current study proposes and examines a conceptual model incorporating athlete identification, moral emotions, moral reasoning strategies, and consumer evaluations. By using an actual scandal involving an NFL player (i.e., Ray Rice), the results show that fan identification suppresses the experience of negative moral emotions but facilitates fans’ moral disengagement processes, which enables fans to support the wrongdoer. Moreover, negative moral emotions motivate the moral coupling process. Findings contribute to the sport consumer behavior literature that highly identified fans seem to regulate negative emotions but deliberately select moral disengagement reasoning strategies to maintain their positive stance toward the wrongdoer and associated brands.
Joon Sung Lee, Dae Hee Kwak and Jessica R. Braunstein-Minkove
Matthew Katz and Bob Heere
The authors examined the longitudinal development of team identification among stakeholders of a newly formed intercollegiate football team to empirically measure the impact of a new football team on university identification. Using a multidimensional approach to identification, data were collected over a 3-year period and analyzed using growth curve analysis to determine the changes and trajectories of the individual dimensions of identification related to both the new football team and the larger university. Conditional growth models were used to determine the percentage of change in university identification explained by changes in team identification—to test whether new team identification drives identification with the larger university. The presented findings allow for an improved understanding of the psychological impact of a new football team for the university community by using growth curve analysis, which provides a more detailed and accurate empirical examination of identification, rather than traditional two-wave cross-lagged designs. Implications of the longitudinal nature of identification and the psychological value of a new football team for the university are discussed.
Yonghwan Chang, Daniel L. Wann and Yuhei Inoue
’ identification with a specific team or team identification (team ID). In other words, those who have a stronger team ID (i.e., individuals perceive themselves as fans of the team and view the team as a representation of themselves; Branscombe & Wann, 1992 ) are more likely to experience the state of being in
Brad D. Carlson and D. Todd Donavan
By integrating social identity theory with brand personality, the authors test a model of how perceptions of human brands affect consumer’s level of cognitive identification. The findings suggest that consumers view athletes as human brands with unique personalities. Additional findings demonstrate that athlete prestige and distinctiveness leads to the evaluation of athlete identification. Once consumers identified with the athlete, they were more likely to feel an emotional attachment to the athlete, identify with the athlete’s team, purchase team-related paraphernalia and increase their team-related viewership habits. The findings extend previous research on human brands and brand personalities in sports. Marketers can use the information gleaned from this study to better promote products that are closely associated with well-recognized and attractive athletes, thereby increasing consumer retail spending. In addition, the findings offer new insights to sports marketers seeking to increase team-related spectatorship by promoting the image of easily recognizable athletes.
Steve Swanson and Aubrey Kent
Team identification has been researched extensively from the perspective of the consumer. The current study proposes that employees working in professional sport may also be fans of their respective teams, and provides insight on the role of team identification in the workplace environment. Over 1100 business operations employees from the top profession sports leagues in North America participated, and results indicate that dual targets of identification exist simultaneously in this setting. Strong support is provided for the discriminant validity between organizational and team identification. Beyond the more established effects of organizational identification, the results provide evidence that team identification independently predicts key outcomes such as commitment, satisfaction, and motivation. The results add to the literature by introducing the concept of a sports team as an additional target of identification in the organizational context.
Sean R. Sadri
The current study examined how article source, medium, and fan identification can all affect the credibility of sports articles. An online experiment was conducted, and participants read an article that was indicated to have originated from a mainstream sports Web site, a sports blog, a social-networking site, or a wire service. Analysis revealed that fan-identification level was an important factor in credibility ratings in which highly identified fans found sports articles to be significantly more credible than fans with low identification. Highly identified fans also rated the article as equally credible on all 3 Web sites. However, low-identification fans rated the mainstream sports Web site article as significantly more credible than the other 2. Article medium was not shown to have a significant influence on perceived credibility for either identification group. The implications of fan-identification level on the discrepancies in ratings of perceived credibility are explored.
Shih-Hao Wu, Ching-Yi Daphne Tsai and Chung-Chieh Hung
This study extends literature on the effects of fan identification on fan loyalty, and antecedents that trigger such effects. This study incorporates trust, a key relationship marketing construct, in the sport industry. The relationship between trust and two other critical antecedents of sport fan loyalty, identification and vicarious achievement motive, is examined from the perspectives of both fan-player and fan-team. The results show that antecedents from distinct perspectives influence loyalty differently. Team identification (fan-team level) is the major determinant of fans’ repatronage intention, with trust in the team as the key driver. However, player identification (fan-player level) has an indirect effect, which must go through team identification to repatronage intention. Therefore, sport organizations are recommended to invest a substantial part of their resources on activities that generate long-term effects, such as trust in the team and team identification, rather than on short-term strategies such as attracting star players.
William M. Foster and Craig Hyatt
When it comes to fans of professional sport teams who are left behind when their favorite team relocates to a new city, the authors argue that there are a variety of ways in which these fans can identify with the relocated team. This runs against the traditional conception of how left-behind fans view the franchise in its new home. Fans are thought to follow two paths: They either cheer for the team in the new city, or they stop cheering for the team altogether. The authors have found that this conception of fans is inadequate. Using the expanded model of organizational identification (EMOI), the authors find that after a team relocates there are at least five different ways a fan can identify with the relocated team: identification, disidentification, schizoidentification, neutral identification, and nonidentification. These are illustrated by fitting the stories of 23 Hartford Whalers fans into the model.
Joe J. Phua
Research on sports fans has demonstrated a positive relationship between fan identification and self-esteem. The current investigation extended previous research by testing media use as a moderator. The author hypothesized that media use would be positively associated with measures of fan identification and collective self-esteem and also moderate the relationship between these 2 variables. This is because media use enhances positive distinctiveness for fans of sports teams, leading to higher collective self-esteem levels because of the ability to get up-to-date information about the team or player they support. Data gathered from student fans (N = 203) of a major U.S. west coast university football team confirmed the author’s expectations that sports fans’ use of 4 types of media—print, broadcast, online, and mobile phones—moderated the relationship between fan identification and collective self-esteem, with online media having the greatest impact on this relationship.
Harry H. Kwon, Galen Trail and Jeffrey D. James
The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential mediating effect of perceived value in the relationship between team identification and intent to purchase collegiate team-licensed apparel. Direct effect, partially mediated, and fully mediated models were compared. The respondents were students (N = 110) attending a large university in the southeastern United States. Participants first completed the Team Identification Scale and then viewed a slide depicting an article of licensed merchandise (t-shirt). Participants next completed the Perceived Value and Purchase Intention Scales. Goodness-of-fit statistics indicated that the direct effect model did not fit the data. The partially mediated and the fully mediated models fit equally well; the latter was more parsimonious and thus was chosen for further analysis. Team identification explained 13.2% of the variance in perceived value; perceived value explained 42.6% of the variance in purchase intentions. The findings indicate that team identification alone did not drive the purchase intentions in this study; it is important to take into account the perceived value of the team-licensed merchandise.