Self-reflection on knowledge generation in sport management is essential for continued growth and remains a prevailing topic for recipients of the Earle F. Zeigler Award. To date, two perspectives largely guide such evaluation: What makes a theoretical contribution and what constitutes new theory. The 2018 Earle F. Zeigler Address introduces a third perspective based on the concept of diffusion to explore three elements: article innovation, communication channel, and social system that contribute to producing and spreading new knowledge. This examination utilizes data and information collected from sport management articles, journal citations, a case study, editorial board membership characteristics, and my coauthor network and publishing experiences. Holistically, the evidence collected provides insight into how and why ideas could spread in sport management. Unfortunately, for new and emerging scholars, spreading ideas through academic journals will be uncomfortably slow and managing expectations important. However, by understanding the academic publishing ecosystem, scholars can improve chances for idea diffusion through selecting appropriate journal outlets, establishing interpersonal connections, creating weak and strong coauthor ties, and engaging in programmatic research. This address concludes with strategies to help navigate spreading research ideas by setting realistic goals, optimizing the coauthor network, and reinvesting in the original idea.
Thilo Kunkel, Daniel C. Funk, and Daniel Lock
Understanding the role of the league brand on consumers’ support for individual teams is important for the successful management and marketing of both leagues and teams. In the current research, brand architecture and brand association literature are integrated to examine the role of the league brand on the relationship between the team brand and team-related behavior. Data from an online survey of professional soccer league consumers (N = 414) were analyzed using structural equation modeling with bootstrapping procedures. The relationship between the team brand and team-related behavior was partially mediated by the league brand. Findings of this research contribute new knowledge by empirically demonstrating that characteristics of the league brand have an influence on team-related behavioral intentions. Furthermore, we contribute a different analytical approach for brand association research using formative indicators to measure team and league brand associations. In the managerial implications, we outline how league managers can support individual teams and how team managers can leverage off the league brand to attract consumers.
Kevin Filo, Daniel C. Funk, and Glen Hornby
Sport event tourism is a major component of sport related tourism in many countries. Sport event organizations should strive to develop Internet marketing communication that features event information relevant to potential sport tourists. Using the Psychological Continuum Model (PCM) as its theoretical framework, this article presents two studies examining information requirements for sport event Web sites and evaluating the impact of Web site communications on consumer motivation and attitudes toward the event. Study 1 first used an open-ended response listing exercise to identify 15 information themes that should be accessible on a sport event Web site (N = 54) and then demonstrated in a between-subjects experimental design that providing these information themes increased satisfaction with the Web site (N = 40). Study 2 used a within-subjects experimental design to reveal that provision of these information themes had no impact on travel motives, but did increase favorable attitudes toward a sport event and intention to attend the event (N = 39). This research provides evidence that Web site marketing communication does activate attitude change within consumers, as well as empirical support for attitude change within the PCM framework. Findings highlight the potential strategic use of Web site communication for sport event organizers to enhance consumer attitudes toward the event and increase attendance.
Daniel C. Funk and Jeffrey D. James
Prior research has demonstrated a direct relationship between loyalty and reasons for liking a particular sport team. The current study replicates and extends this line of inquiry by examining the mediating role of attachment, a process by which an individual moves from merely liking a team (attraction) to becoming loyal to a team (allegiance). Data (Collegiate N = 194; Collegiate and Professional N = 402, Favorite Sport Team N = 808) were collected to examine 13 benefits and attributes associated with liking a sport team, 3 attitude formation properties, and allegiance. A three-stage test of mediation using MLR revealed that attachment mediated the relationship between allegiance and Vicarious Achievement, Nostalgia, Star Player, Escape, Success, and Peer Group Acceptance. Results demonstrate that allegiance is the outcome of a process by which individuals develop stronger emotional reactions to, more functional knowledge about, and greater symbolic value for benefits and attributes associated with a sport team.
James M. Gladden and Daniel C. Funk
This study broadens the understanding of brand management in sport by creating the Team Association Model, a scale that identifies dimensions of brand associations, a major contributor to the creation of brand equity. Utilizing Keller’s (1993) theoretical framework of consumer-based brand equity, a thorough review of the sport literature was conducted which identified 16 potential dimensions. These 16 dimensions are derived with reference to Keller’s categorization of brand associations into ATTRIBUTE (success, head coach, star player, management, stadium, logo design, product delivery, and tradition), BENEFIT (identification, nostalgia, pride in place, escape, and peer group acceptance), and ATTITUDE (importance, knowledge, and affect). In order to evaluate the applicability of each potential dimension, a scale is developed, pre-tested, and tested on a national sample of sport consumers. Results of the confirmatory factor analysis of provided support for this paper’s theoretical notion that 16 distinct constructs underlie brand associations in sports.
Mark P. Pritchard and Daniel C. Funk
The relationship between the consumption of sport via media and its more active counterpart, attendance, remains ambiguous. Some researchers have observed a symbiotic relationship at work—each behavior fueling the other, whereas others see no connection or argue that media use competes with live attendance as a recreational substitute. The current study of baseball game spectators (n = 308) employed a dual-route framework (DRF) to describe symbiotic and substitution behaviors. High/low mixes of media use and attendance were used to identify four distinct modes of intake (heavy, light, and media- and event-dominant). Follow-up comparisons distinguished each mode with discrete levels of involvement, satisfaction, and spectator attraction. The results expose the limits of previous models of spectator behavior and encourage us to broaden our understandings of consumption frequency beyond attendance alone. The DRF modes suggest that plotting media use in conjunction with attendance offers a more accurate account of spectator involvement. If models like the escalator dissected the data, they would consider the light and media-dominant and the heavy and event-dominant modes as equivalent. The importance of media-dominant consumption and the strategic implications of these segments are discussed.
Daniel Lock, Daniel C. Funk, Jason P. Doyle, and Heath McDonald
The propensity of strongly identified fans to contribute positive organizational outcomes for sport teams underpins why team identification maintains a central position in sport management. In the current study we examine the multidimensional structure, stability, and interrelationships between the dimensions of team identification, using longitudinal data (April 2011–April 2012) collected from fans of a new Australian Rules football team (N = 602). A Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) of the team identification items included (measured using the Team*ID scale), supported a five-dimensional model structure. This model was subsequently computed as a longitudinal CFA to test the configural and metric invariance of the Team*ID scale. We used a cross-lagged panel model to examine the longitudinal stability of, and interrelationships between, the dimensions: affect, behavioral involvement, cognitive awareness, private evaluation, and public evaluation. Each dimension displayed relative stability over time. In addition, public evaluation and private evaluation in April 2011 displayed a positive relationship with behavioral involvement in April 2012. Similarly, cognitive awareness in April 2011 predicted increases in public evaluation in April 2012. We conclude with implications for theory and practice.
James Du, Heather Kennedy, Jeffrey D. James, and Daniel C. Funk
To combat the declining number of finishers plaguing the distance-running industry, it is increasingly important for organizers to optimize event satisfaction levels. Participants’ survey responses from two distance-running events (n 1 = 2,324 and n 2 = 2,526) were analyzed to challenge the traditional managerial scope and theoretical lens through which event satisfaction is conventionally examined. Results revealed five event benefits that capture key motivational antecedents of event satisfaction. Collectively, these benefits, including euphoric, fitness, competition, social, and entertainment benefits, influenced event satisfaction levels (R 2 = 43%) and repeat consumption intentions (R 2 = 23%). For event organizers to foster event satisfaction, it is central to encourage event preparation and participation that promotes the enjoyment of physical activity, fitness and appearance enhancement, socialization, competition, and excitement among registrants. Academics should also extend their scope of event satisfaction to fully capture the entirety of event experience lifecycles (e.g., from registration through event participation).
Mikihiro Sato, Jeremy S. Jordan, and Daniel C. Funk
Limited research has examined psychological involvement change using a longitudinal design. This study explored stability and change in the three facets of psychological involvement—pleasure, centrality, and sign—that occurred over a 2-year period and examined key behavioral correlates of the observed change. Data were collected three times through online surveys from participants (N = 482) of an annual 10-mile running event in the United States. Latent growth modeling analyses revealed that, on average, the levels of pleasure, centrality, and sign in running slightly decreased over time. Growth mixture modeling analyses offer evidence that different patterns of change exist within each facet of psychological involvement. The findings further indicate that changes in the number of events participated in each year are the most important behavioral correlates of psychological involvement change. The results provide sport managers with implications for promoting long-term engagement with the activity through event participation and postevent phases.
Xiaochen Zhou, Daniel C. Funk, Lu Lu, and Thilo Kunkel
The athleisure phenomenon has initiated a fast-paced evolution in the activewear industry and challenged brands to design and market activewear that fulfills consumer needs. Existing sport consumer behavior research has neglected to understand the structural relationships that connect attributes of sport products with values of sport consumers to inform values-based product design and marketing strategies. The current research utilizes the means-end chain theory and its corresponding soft laddering method to investigate the activewear consumption experience of female consumers. Findings revealed means-end chain structural relationships connecting five product attributes to three end-state values through four consequences associated with activewear consumption. Findings extend the sport management literature by understanding how sport product attributes fit into abstract consumer values and drive practical implications to enlighten activewear design and marketing.