This study highlights the importance of brand image for fan loyalty in team sport. A parsimonious 4-factor, 20-indicator structure effectively represents brand image. In contrast to Keller’s proposed model, relationships between the brand image’s components were discovered. Thus, in line with means-end theory, a brand-image model should incorporate causalities among brand attributes, benefits, and attitudes. Fan loyalty is positively influenced by a fan’s brand attitude. Relationships among the brand-image dimensions and loyalty are confirmed via structural equation modeling. The non-product-related brand attributes (i.e., logo or tradition) have a particularly large impact on attitudes and behavior. They represent promising starting points for a successful and differentiating team brand strategy.
Hans H. Bauer, Nicola E. Stokburger-Sauer and Stefanie Exler
Daniel S. Mason
Although initially developed as cartels of independently owned and operated clubs joining to produce a sports product for spectator consumption, professional sports leagues have emerged as monopolies wielding significant economic power. By increasing revenue-sharing practices, and thus attempting to align owner interests, leagues have become single-business entities that maximize wealth for the league as a whole. Over the past four decades, the National Football League has implemented such practices to become the most popular team sport in North America. Using agency theory, this paper examines how the NFL's former commissioner, Pete Rozelle, and the League Executive Committee used these practices in order to increase League revenues and decrease opportunistic behavior by team owners. However, certain owners continue to act entrepreneurially, to the detriment of the League as a whole. This behavior is congruent with the tenets of agency theory, which contend that interests will diverge within a principal-agent relationship (e.g., the NFL— NFL teams). Until such time that team owners realize that the welfare of the other League clubs, along with their competitive equality, is paramount in retaining interest in and producing the League product, professional sports leagues will continue to be plagued with problems such as unnecessary franchise relocations and other acts of maverick owners.
Dimitrios Kolyperas, Christos Anagnostopoulos, Simon Chadwick and Leigh Sparks
Despite the increasing number and significance of charitable foundations in various business sectors, their role in cocreating corporate social responsibility (CSR) value remains unclear. This paper identifies CSR value cocreation in professional team sport organizations (PTSOs) and answers three key research questions: (a) Why have PTSOs developed charitable foundations as their means toward CSR value cocreation? (b) What CSR-related resources do PTSOs and their charitable foundations integrate? and (c) How do they manage, share, and transfer such resources to cocreate CSR value? Drawing theoretical insights from service dominant logic and consumer culture theory—and using empirical data from 47 semistructured interviews of UK-based professional football (soccer) clubs—this study develops a communicating vessels framework to illustrate the role of charitable foundations in the CSR value cocreation process. Through four tentative CSR value cocreation levels of relationship (bolt-on, cooperative, controlled, and strategic) the study suggests several internal strategies that can enhance the level of collaboration between founders and foundations. These include information sharing through customer relationship management (CRM) systems and social media platforms; staff sharing or flexible movement across the organizations; quality assurance agreements; flexible team cooperation; partnership protocols with social, media, cultural, and commercial stakeholders; and cotraining of personnel.
Chris Gibbs, Norm O’Reilly and Michelle Brunette
Without exception, all professional sport teams in North America use social media to communicate with fans. Sport communication professionals use Twitter as one of the strategic tools of engagement, yet there remains a lack of understanding about how users are motivated and gratified in their Twitter use. Drawing on a specific sample from the Twitter followers of the Canadian Football League, the researchers used semistructured in-depth interviews, content analysis, and an online survey to seek an understanding of what motivates and satisfies Twitter followers of professional sport teams, measured through the gratifications sought and the fulfillment of these motives through the perceived gratifications obtained. The results add to the sport communications literature by finding 4 primary gratifications sought by Twitter users: interaction, promotion, live game updates, and news. Professional sport teams can improve strategic fan engagement by better understanding how Twitter followers use and seek gratification in the social-media experience.
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.
Stephen D. Ross
Despite the general understanding that spectator sport is a service-oriented product, sport brand equity research has overwhelmingly relied on models pertaining to physical goods and has been slow to acknowledge service marketing principles and the unique characteristics of team sport in understanding this topic. This article proposes a framework for the development of spectator-based brand equity by which the characteristics of spectator sports are recognized through organization, market, and experience-induced antecedents that contribute to spectator-based brand equity. It is suggested that the key components of brand equity for spectator sports consist of brand awareness and brand associations, and the result of these components is revealed in a set of consequences contributing to the value of a sport brand.
Joel Maxcy and Michael Mondello
Free agency was reintroduced to professional team sport leagues in the 1970s. Sport enthusiasts expressed concern that competitive balance would diminish as star players congregated to large market cities. However, the economic invariance principle rejects this notion, indicating that balance should remain unchanged. This article empirically examines the effects of changes in free agent rules on competitive balance over time in the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), and National Hockey League (NHL). Regression analysis using within-season and between-season measures of competitive balance as dependent variables provides mixed results. The NFL and NHL provide evidence that an aspect of competitive balance has improved, but results from the NBA indicate that balance has worsened since the introduction of free agency. We conclude that the ambiguous results suggest that the effects are not independent, but instead depend on the interaction of free agent rights with other labor market and league rules.
James M. Gladden, Richard L. Irwin and William A. Sutton
Following a decade that produced astonishing player salaries, continued player mobility, widespread corporate involvement, and skyrocketing ticket prices and broadcast rights fees, North American major league professional sport teams enter the 21st century encountering a number of significant challenges. An analysis of the aforementioned trends yields valuable insight into the future of professional team sport management in North America and leads to the identification of a primary concern of team owners and operators, that of managing the franchise's brand equity. With team owners increasingly reaping profits from the long-term appreciation of the team's value while continuing to lose money on a yearly basis, there will be an increased focus on strengthening team brands. This new focus will lead management to build and maintain brand equity through two primary means: the acquisition of assets and the enhancement of customer relationships. Each of these predictions is explained in depth in this paper and examples are provided.
Nico Schulenkorf and Deborah Edwards
Building on the evidence of social impacts generated by sport events, there is a need for research to identify strategies suitable for maximizing event benefits for disparate interest communities. This paper investigates the opportunities and strategic means for sustaining and leveraging social event benefits arising from intercommunity sport events in the ethnically divided Sri Lanka. Following an interpretive mode of inquiry, findings are derived from the analysis of two focus groups and 35 in-depth interviews with Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim and international event stakeholders. To maximize event benefits, findings suggest that event organizers and host communities focus strategically on children as catalysts for change; increase ethnically mixed team sport activities; provide event-related sociocultural opportunities; combine large-scale events with regular sport-for-development programs; and engage in social, cultural, political and educational event leverage. By implementing these strategies and tactics, intercommunity sport events are likely to contribute to local capacity building and inclusive social change, which can have flow-on effects to the wider community. These findings extend the academic literature on strategic event planning, management and leverage, as they provide a focus on community event leverage for social purposes in a developing world context—an area which has thus far received limited empirical research.
Colin D. McLaren and Kevin S. Spink
and Short ( 2011 ) recognize that their sport measure of communication—as assessed through the Revised Scale for Effective Communication in Team Sport (SECTS-2)—uses a social lens and that member communication also could be considered for its cognitive properties (i.e., information exchange; Eccles