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Akira Asada and Yong Jae Ko

The purpose of this study was to identify key characteristics of word-of-mouth (WOM) communication and examine their impact on sport consumers’ perceived influence in sport viewership. Through an extensive literature review, we identified the characteristics of the message sender (i.e., expertise and trustworthiness) and the message (i.e., richness of message content and strength of message delivery) as determinants of perceived influence of WOM. We also examined the moderating effects of homophily (interpersonal factors) and involvement (the message receiver characteristics). Data were collected from sport consumers who had received a recommendation to watch a sporting event in the preceding 3 months and actually watched the event. The results indicate the positive effects of trustworthiness, richness of message content, and strength of message delivery on WOM influence. Homophily and involvement were found to have moderating effects. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.

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Akira Asada and Yong Jae Ko

Sport socialization research has revealed that a community is one of the most influential socializing agents. However, little is known about which aspects of a community promote sport socialization and how it occurs. In the current research, we identified and conceptualized two key factors characterizing sports teams’ fan communities, relative size and entitativity, and discussed how these factors influence sport socialization and its outcomes. First, we developed the model of community influence on sport socialization to depict the effects of relative size and entitativity on people’s perceptions and behaviors at the initial stage of their sport socialization. Second, we proposed the model of community influence on the outcomes of sport socialization, which explains how relative size and entitativity contribute to the outcomes of sport socialization.

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Youngjin Hur, Yong Jae Ko and Joseph Valacich

The purpose of this study was to propose and test a conceptual model of online sport consumption motivation and concerns when using the Internet for sport information and shopping. The proposed model is based on current conceptualization of motivation and concerns when using the Internet. The proposed model consists of five types of motivation (i.e., convenience, information, diversion, socialization, and economic) and four types of concern (i.e., security and privacy, delivery, product quality, and customer service). To test this model, the scale of motivation for online sport consumption was developed. A structural equation model test with a convenience sample of 222 sports participants supported the conceptualization of motivation and concerns. Motivation positively influenced sport fans’ actual usage of sport-related Web sites, but no significant path coefficient was found from concerns to motivation and actual usage. Given these results, implications for future research and practice are discussed.

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Youngjin Hur, Yong Jae Ko and Joseph Valacich

The Internet website has become an effective marketing vehicle for sport organizations. The purpose of this study was to examine theoretical relationships between key variables of online sport consumption behavior such as sport consumers’ perceptions of sport website quality, satisfaction, and behavioral loyalty to the websites. In addition, the mediating effect of e-satisfaction between website quality and e-loyalty was examined. The results of data analyses using structural equation model tests revealed that loyalty to a sport team’s website was more likely to occur as sport fans developed positive perceptions and satisfaction with the website. The results also suggested that consumer e-satisfaction is an important mediating variable between sport website quality and e-loyalty.

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Wonseok Jang, Yong Jae Ko and Svetlana Stepchenkova

Advertisers put considerable effort into developing messages that appeal to a persuadable target group. Based on the characteristics of these audiences, as well as a number of situational factors, advertising messages can be described as primarily informational or emotional. The purpose of this study was to test how the value orientation of a sports-related event and situational involvement moderate consumers’ information processing and attitudes toward the event advertisement. Consistent with dual-process theory, the results indicate that, when dealing with information about a utilitarian sports career-fair event, consumers rely on either effortful or effortless processing depending on their level of situational involvement. However, consumers use both effortful and effortless processing for a hedonic sporting event. This study extends the dual-process theory and planning models by suggesting that a traditional, theory-based dichotomous dual-process model should give way to a co-occurrence model for hedonic sporting events in high-involvement situations.

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Jose A. Martínez, Yong Jae Ko and Laura Martínez

This research focused on measuring perceived quality in the context of sport and fitness services using a novel approach in sport management: fuzzy logic. Several analytical procedures have been depicted to operate with fuzzy techniques, which may be applied to empirical research by a wide range of researchers in the sport literature, as well as sport managers. This study showed that fuzzy logic is an attractive method to increase the value of the information collected from customers’ evaluations. The implemented procedure overcomes the disadvantages of the research focused on the third-person approach, and minimizes the categorization bias and interaction bias derived from the relationship between verbal and numerical labels. An empirical study of two samples of consumers from two fitness centers illustrates the advantages of this method.

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Yu Kyoum Kim, Galen Trail and Yong Jae Ko

The importance of relationship quality in relationship marketing has been well documented; however, very little attention has been paid to the issues of relationship quality in sport consumer behavior contexts. We investigated the cognitive structure of relationship quality (RQ) constructs (Trust, Commitment, Intimacy, Identification, Reciprocity) by comparing a general-specific model to a hierarchical model. In addition we empirically tested the link between RQ and three sport consumer behavioral intentions: attendance, media consumption, and licensed merchandise consumption. The model comparison revealed that individual constructs reflected both the distinct aspects of the specific dimensions of relationship quality and the holistic nature of relationship quality, supporting a general-specific model. Results from the simultaneous equation model indicated that for sport consumers, relationship quality with the team explained 56% of the variance in intention to attend games, 75% of intention to consume sport media, and 66% of intention to purchase licensed merchandise.

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Wonseok Jang, Yong Jae Ko, Daniel L. Wann and Daehwan Kim

Based on self-determination theory, the current research examined the effect of team identification on spectators’ energy and happiness. Most importantly, this research attempted to identify a key underlying mechanism of why and when sport spectatorship enhances spectators’ happiness by adapting energy, a new concept to the sport management literature. The results indicate that spectators with high team identification reported a greater level of happiness than those with low team identification only when their team won the game. When the supported team lost the game, spectators with both high and low team identification experienced similar levels of happiness. Furthermore, this study proposed a moderated mediation effect of vitality to provide evidence for the anticipated underlying mechanism. The results of the moderated mediation test indicated that a feeling of vitality mediated the effect of team identification on happiness, but only in the winning game condition. In contrast, in the losing game condition, a feeling of vitality did not mediate the effect of team identification on happiness. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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Yonghwan Chang, Yong Jae Ko and Brad D. Carlson

The researchers explore consumers’ emotional responses toward athlete brands by developing the associative evaluation–emotional appraisal–intention (AEI) model. The AEI postulates that unconscious (implicit attitudes) and conscious (explicit affective attitudes) levels of emotional responses systematically flow following assessments of perceived fit in athlete endorsements. Implicit attitudes were measured through the implicit association test, whereas pleasure, arousal, and pride captured explicit affective attitudes. Contrary to dominant beliefs about successful athlete endorsements, findings from a lab experiment indicate that low perceived fit affected implicit attitudes, which in turn affected arousal for consumers with high involvement. Pleasure, arousal, and pride were interrelated and systematically determined behavioral intentions of viewership and online friendship with athletes. Studies investigating athlete brands and endorsement success should consider the influence of both implicit and explicit attitudes on fan behavior. Managers should strategically utilize both low and high fit endorsements to facilitate emotional experiences and optimize desired consumption behavior.

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Akira Asada, Yong Jae Ko and Wonseok (Eric) Jang

The purpose of the current study was to examine how two key characteristics of sports fan communities—relative size and homogeneity (behavioral similarity among fans)—influence potential fans’ perceptions and intentions to support the team. Study 1 showed that relative size and homogeneity created a two-way interaction effect on potential fans’ support intentions, such that the low-homogeneity fan community resulted in greater support intentions in the minority condition, whereas the high-homogeneity fan community resulted in greater support intentions in the majority condition. Study 2 revealed a boundary condition of this interaction effect: The interaction effect disappeared when potential fans had extremely low levels of involvement with watching the sport. Study 3 showed that potential fans’ perceptions regarding similarity to fans and social pressure mediated the effect of relative size on their support intentions.