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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.

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Daniel Funk, Daniel Lock, Adam Karg and Mark Pritchard

Sport consumer behavior (SCB) research continues to grow in both popularity and sophistication. A guiding principle in much of this research has focused on the nature of sport-related experiences and the benefits sport consumers derive from these experiences. This emphasis has generated new knowledge and insights into the needs and wants of sport consumers. Although these efforts have contributed to the field’s understanding of SCB, the vast majority of this research has centered on psychological phenomena and the evaluative and affective components of these sport experiences. Approaches to this work have also narrowed, with SCB research predominately relying on cross-sectional studies and attitudinal surveys to collect information. This has resulted in limited findings that seldom account for how various situational or environmental factors might influence attitudinal data patterns at the individual and group level. This special issues seeks to deepen our understanding of SCB by providing seven papers that demonstrate or validate findings using multiple studies or data collections.

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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.

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Daniel Lock, Tracy Taylor, Daniel Funk and Simon Darcy

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Daniel Lock, Kevin Filo, Thilo Kunkel and James L. Skinner

In this manuscript, we use Bitektine’s (2011) theory of organizational social judgments to develop a framework to Capture Perceptions of Organizational Legitimacy (CPOL). We outline a three-stage framework as a method to measure the perceived dimensions on which constituents scrutinize a sport organization’s legitimacy. In stage one of the framework, we defined the organizational context of a nonprofit sport organization in Sydney, Australia to establish the classification, purpose, and relationship of the focal entity to its constituents. In stage two, we distributed a qualitative questionnaire (N = 279) to identify the perceived dimensions on which constituents scrutinized organizational action. In stage 3 we distributed a quantitative questionnaire (N = 860) to test six perceived dimensions, which emerged during stage two of the CPOL framework. The six dimensions explained 63% of respondents’ overall organizational judgment, providing support for the CPOL framework as a context-driven process to measure constituent perceptions of the legitimacy of sport organizations.