Three experiments explore how sport consumers respond to sponsor advertisements featuring a team that lost a pivotal game. Drawing from social identity and appraisal theories, the authors hypothesize and find that high identifiers experience stronger negative emotions but less identity threat than low identifiers following their favorite team’s loss. When an advertisement features the losing team, low identifiers show less favorable evaluations toward the brand, whereas high identifiers report more favorable assessments. The results demonstrate that the tendency to hide and escape from the source of threat (losing team) among low identifiers is evidenced in processing marketing communications, whereas high identifiers display more positive evaluations toward the brand when the advertisement acknowledged the loss. The study findings provide implications for sponsors to consider different messaging strategies depending on the level of team identification with the losing team.
T. Bettina Cornwell and Dae Hee Kwak
Sponsorship of sport has developed over the past three decades to become a worldwide communications platform, a motivator for relationship building, and an omnipresent aspect of consumer experience for many. While it has been and continues to be a funding mechanism for sport, it is the evolution and metamorphosis of sponsorship-linked marketing that delivers endless research topics as sponsoring evolves dynamically.
Joon Sung Lee, Dae Hee Kwak, and David Moore
Marketing managers often face dilemmas when their athlete endorsers are accused of immoral behavior. However, research findings have been equivocal as to whether athletes’ transgressions damage endorsed brand evaluations. Using two experiments, we empirically demonstrate that consumers’ moral reasoning (i.e., moral rationalization, moral coupling, and moral decoupling) has differential effects on evaluations of a transgressor (Study 1). In Study 2, we examine the causal effect of moral reasoning choice on evaluations of the transgressor and the associated brand. Findings show that moral coupling has negative effects on the athlete and brand evaluations, whereas moral decoupling and moral rationalization positively affect brand attitude and purchase intent through positive evaluation of the athlete. Findings from this study provide empirical evidence to explain how and why some consumers continue or discontinue their support for a troubled athlete and associated brand.
Joon Sung Lee, Dae Hee Kwak, and Jessica R. Braunstein-Minkove
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.
Dae Hee Kwak, Yu Kyoum Kim, and Matthew H. Zimmerman
Despite the growing interest in social media and user-generated content, both academics and practitioners are struggling to understand the value and consequences of social media (e.g., blogs). This study employed a 2 (media source: mainstream/ social media) × 2 (message valence: positive/negative) × 2 (team identification: high/low) between-subjects design on source credibility and attitude toward an article. Positive and negative messages about the university’s varsity men’s basketball team were presented in either the mainstream media (sport magazine) or a user-generated format (blog). The results revealed that message valence had a significant main impact on triggering biased source evaluation and attitude toward the message. In turn, media source had a significant main effect on source expertise, but no main effects were found for trustworthiness and attitude. Team identification moderated the effect of media source on cognitive processing, suggesting that highly identified fans evaluated mainstream content more favorably, whereas less identified fans preferred user-generated content.
Dae Hee Kwak, Stephen McDaniel, and Ki Tak Kim
The current study revisited the satisfaction-loyalty paradigm in a hedonic consumption context that involves a learning component. In particular, this study involved actual users (N = 328) of a specific sport video game (FIFA soccer), to examine the structural relationships among the constructs of: game satisfaction, hedonic attitudes toward the brand, gaming skill, and brand loyalty. Contrary to existing research in this area, SEM results indicated that customer satisfaction did not have a direct effect on loyalty. The relationship between game satisfaction and loyalty was mediated by positive brand attitudes and perceived gaming skill. The applied and theoretical implications of the findings are discussed along with limitations and future directions for research.
Dae Hee Kwak, Joon Sung Lee, and Joseph E. Mahan III
Participation in fantasy sports has become one of the most popular forms of interactive online entertainment, attracting more than 32 million players in North America. The purpose of this study was to examine the biasing effects of an advertisement promoting the popular online service. Using the illusion of control theory as a framework, a 2 × 2 between-subjects experiment (N = 156) was conducted to examine the effects of two marketer-controlled variables (i.e., customization level and expert information) on participants’ illusory judgments and their decisions to participate in the advertised service. The results showed that both manipulated features evoked biases in control perceptions. Furthermore, illusory control increases winning expectancy and increased winning expectancy leads to favorable attitude and decision toward the advertised product. Findings suggest that promotional information emphasizing control heuristics and expert knowledge can increase consumers’ beliefs that they can control their outcome, which subsequently influences their decision to participate.
Choong Hoon Lim, Tywan G. Martin, and Dae Hee Kwak
The current study employs the hedonic paradigm model (Hirschman & Holbrook, 1982) to investigate the interceding function of emotions on the relationship between personality (i.e., risk taking) and attitude toward mixed martial arts. This study also examines sport-media (e.g., television) consumption of a nontraditional sport. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the proposed model incorporating risk taking, pleasure, arousal, attitude, and actual consumption behavior. The study found a significant mediation effect of emotion (pleasure and arousal) in the relationship between risk taking and attitude. In addition, attitude showed a direct and significant influence on actual media-consumption behavior. Theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed, along with future directions for research.
Dae Hee Kwak, Choong Hoon Lim, Woo Young Lee, and Joseph Mahan III
The purpose of this study is to propose a conceptual model for investigating the antecedents and consequences of winning expectancy in the fantasy sport consumption context. Employing the illusion of control theory as a conceptual framework, the study hypothesized that perceived football knowledge, perceived ease of use the service Website, and enjoyment as predictors of winning expectancy and time and money involvement as consequences. The proposed model is tested using a convenience sample (N = 244) of college students and the SEM results supported all hypotheses. Further, the proposed model was more parsimonious and performed better than the competing model.